In Ben Hopper’s photo project Natural Beauty, women proudly present their body hair.
Hair on the legs, in the genital area, on the face, under the arms: body hair grows, whether we like it or not. Many decide to shave their hair: A survey among 14- to 39-year-olds shows, for example, that 27.5 percent of all respondents in men value shaved shoulders, in women it is even 69.2 percent. The hair under the armpits and in the genital area are quite practical: they regulate the temperature and ensure a healthy intimate flora. And let’s be honest: the constant shaving, the under-the-shower-verranken, the subsequent Deo-Brand on the skin are really exhausting. So why not just let it grow instead of waxing?
This wondered also the English photographer Ben Hopper. He lives and works in the Hackney district of the city of London and portrays very different women in his ongoing photo project Natural Beauty. They all proudly present their hairy armpits and make it clear that body hair is a natural, natural thing You do not necessarily have to do something just because society and the prevailing ideal of beauty pretend this.
Grow instead of waxen
The idea for the series came about rather by accident: “It started as a kind of joke about contemporary art and how many artists are doing the same thing over and over again to be taken seriously by the enthusiastic crowd. I thought that photographing many beautiful women with armpit hair would have a similar effect, “says Hopper.
The series title Natural Beauty, Natural Beauty, is quickly explained: “The title refers directly to the armpit hair, because they are natural and can be a nice thing. The beauty, however, also refers to the individual persons who, for me, are all beautiful in their own way, “explains the photographer.
The women that Hopper photographs for the project come to him in different ways: Some of them he knows from previous work, others are introduced to him and others contact the photographer himself. “Some have made their hair grow extra for the pictures, others in turn, their armpit hairs have grown anyway, “says Hopper. “As a woman with armpit hair you need an attitude today. Anyone who is prepared to listen to a lot of crap from others is, in my opinion, an attractive, strong, self-confident person. “
Many love it, many hate it
He explains to the online newspaper Huffington Post, “I do not mean to say that women should grow armpit hair. But I think it’s a possibility and people should not rule it out. I want people to question beauty standards. “In any case, he initiates a discussion with his photos:” Many people love it. Many people hate it. I watch a lot of arguments online. “