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|Hayley Matthews • 5/13/16|
The 411: Through her photography, Jade Beall takes what women consider to be flaws and turns them into beautiful pieces of art that inspire us all to love ourselves just the way we are.
If you’ve ever hated your body or avoided a mirror just so you wouldn’t have to look at yourself, you’re not alone. Most women suffer from body images issues, myself included, but most women haven’t met Jade Beall yet.
What she calls “therapeutic photography,” Beall takes away all the makeup, the over-styled hair, the Spanx, the jeans that are supposed to make your butt look smaller and gets down to who these women really are — “flaws” and all.
“I want women to feel seen and heard and to know that you do not need to Photoshop an image to be called beautiful. I think it’s a process of learning to really see ourselves,” she said. “We are fed imagery that’s been very severely altered. Most of the supermodels don’t even look like themselves if you were to actually see them walking down the street.”
And that’s exactly what Beall, who was inspired by her own lack of self-esteem, is doing with her breathtaking photos — helping women of all shapes and sizes see that they are beautiful on the inside and out.
From children and teens, to new mothers and seniors, Beall photographs women at all stages of their lives. Her work is simple yet impactful, using a plain white backdrop to highlight the courage and vulnerability of these women who often feel the need to hide their acne, cellulite, wrinkles and other “faults.”
Beall gets to know each and every one of her clients, swapping life’s ups and downs and getting to the root of what they want to get out of the session, and that’s where the therapy comes in.
“My mission is to un-train that way of thinking and truly see a person for the who they are,” she said. “What we’ve been taught are flaws are actually pretty remarkable beauty markings that tell the story of our lives.”
Through these “masterpieces,” as Beall says, she is redefining how women see themselves, as well as how society sees women in general. A woman will enter Beall’s studio scared to death to take her clothes off, but she’ll come out with a newfound fearlessness that was there all along — it just needed a little coaxing.
Even Internet trolls can’t bring these women down from “Cloud 9.” According to Beall, her clients receive nothing but encouragement.
“Being seen on social media, ironically enough, instills tremendous confidence in women,” she said.
The feedback Beall and her clients receive is priceless. Every “You changed my life” is another giant step forward for women everywhere.
“Those little gold nuggets totally propel me, and it’s not just me. It’s these women who are willing to share themselves, to share their story, to share their supposed ‘flaws’ that are actually exquisite,” she said. “It’s like a big sisterhood movement.”
Beall’s photos are giving women a voice and taking power away from big magazines that only feature “perfect” models on their covers and in their ads, hinting that this is what all women are supposed to look like.
“Of course, there’s still media and advertising and even family portrait photographers who use Photoshop, and they’ve been trained that you need to alter someone to be beautiful, but I think that mindset is changing,” she said.
As for what’s on the horizon, Beall will continue empowering as many women she can in as many countries as she can, and she also hopes to expand her work to include men.
“I just want to travel and meet women and photograph women all over the world and just make a big ol’ collage of all of our gorgeous-ness together,” she said.
To see more of Jade Beall’s powerful work or to book a session with her, visit www.jadebeall.com.