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Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

I was first introduced to the work of Carey Lynne Fruth through the wonders of social media, when Body Positive Fat Activist Denise Jolly posted a gorgeous shot of herself wearing her birthday suit, purple flower petals, and pure goddess energy. To put a complex emotional experience simply, I was blown away by what a powerful punch this image packs in all its natural glory. I followed the inspired path of petals onto Carey’s Photography website, and was beyond pleasantly surprised to see that the series, which is aptly titled, “American Beauty,” features diverse female-presenting bodies of all sizes, shapes, and colors. After getting permission to share her images on our Instagram account, we realized that we kind of broke the social media intewebs by the end of the day! Without hesitation I reached out to Carey for permission to use her images in this very article that you will have the honor of witnessing as well now. As a fellow Photographer, I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to have this work exist, and to be created by another womyn whose vision is so in alignment with mine. I can’t stress the power of sharing positive imagery such as these enough. As much of an impact as words can have; sometimes the power of one image truly can speak volumes.

[RELATED POST: Social Media #DropTheTowel Faves]

As the Artist’s Press Kit states: The ​American Beauty ​photo series by Carey Lynne Fruth ​was inspired by the iconic rose petal fantasy imagery in the film “​American Beauty​.” In ​American Beauty​, a middle-aged man conjures a fantasy of a thin, blonde, teenaged girl. In Carey Lynne’s series, she encouraged her volunteer models to step into the flower scene as self-possessed, empowered subjects rather than as sexual objects. They were asked not to perform as models, but to be authentic in their sensuality, vulnerability, and complexity. The images are meant to speak about real life sensuality and femininity, and to push the paradigm of beauty standards in the U.S. by representing women of different shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages. The Lilacs are meant to represent beauty, pride, and confidence. This project is ongoing.



Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth



Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

“Every person that walks through our door is incredibly brave.  I have experienced the other side of the camera and it is terrifying. The amount of trust you put in to your photographer is amazing and I am so thankful to have people who respect my work and come to me to help them open up and see how beautiful they are.  My advice when thinking about doing a pin up shoot is to do your research.  Look at lots of different portfolios in your area.  If you find a portfolio really speaks to you and you like the hair, make-up, lighting, and posing, then go with them.  Its sort of like starting a relationship, there will be lots of getting to know one another, some compromise and lots of trust.  Once you and your photographer have planned out what you are going to do, just have fun and let go and let the photographer take care of the rest. ” – Carey Fruth


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth



Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

AmericanBeauty_WebLogo_CareyFruth_07 (1)

Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

“Photographers are scared.  They are scared that if they do something all inclusive and different from the current ideal of beauty that people will not come to their business.  Almost every image you see in main stream media is of one type of woman, thin white women to be specific.  But that is not actually the majority of women in our country look like.  America is made up of all types of women.  Women who are hungary to see themselves represented in a beautiful way.  And why shouldn’t they?  I think as a photographer its my job to show people how beautiful they are.  I can see people in a way that they have been programmed not to see themselves.  I think if you’re a photographer that is only shooting one type of person, you are failing at your job and only adding to the problem.” – Carey Fruth 


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

“When I was a teenager I remember seeing pin up imagery and thinking it was an unattainable ideal of femininity. My very first attempt at recreating the genre was in series I did in college where I juxtaposed an image of a model dressed as a perfect pin up next to an image of her that I felt was more realistic. For example, the model dressed to the nines with a bag full of fresh groceries and the opposite image was of the same model in modern clothing and a bag of fast food.  At the time I was commenting on the fact that I thought these images were unreal and not something that modern woman with modern demands could be.  Now my view has changed.  Imagery that was once primarily made by and for men can now be accessed by women on their own terms” – Carey Fruth 


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

“Body acceptance is important.  To some it may see anti feminist to create images that deal with the idea of beauty at all.  But I think that we are creating a channel for women to re-envision themselves.  When women come into my studio, I want to prove to them that they ARE as beautiful as they always feared they weren’t, than maybe they can let go of that fear.  And by letting go of that fear, they free themselves up to direct that energy they once wasted on telling themselves that they weren’t good enough to else where in their life.” – Carey Fruth  


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth


Credit: Carey Lynne Fruth

[divider]About The Artist[/divider]

Carey Lynne is a San Francisco-based artist and photographer who has been working with Shameless Photography creating body positive pin up, retro boudoir and old Hollywood inspired imagery for the past 3 years. She has had work published in the Huffington Post, Playboy, Jezebel, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan. Her other work includes self portraits focusing on the complexity of feminine identity and images of abandoned spaces involving themes of isolation, decay, and destruction. Miss Fruth was educated at George Mason University and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

[divider]Notable Participants:[/divider]

Denise Jolly ​is a Writer, Performer and Artist Educator. She is the founder of the BE BEAUTIFUL PROJECT, former Executive Director of Seattle Youth Speaks, and Vice President of Stronghold Productions. Denise’s work stands at the intersection of gender, class, sexuality, and body.
Sonya Renee Taylor ​is an Internationally Acclaimed Performance Poet, Actress, Educator and Activist. She has been seen on HBO, CNN, BET, MTV, Oxygen Network; performing on stages from New Zealand to Scotland to New York. Founder of The Body is Not an Apology.

Sophie Spinelle​ is the founder of Shameless Photography, a body-positive pinup photography studio.



Wear Your Voice couldn’t love Carey, Shameless Photography, this series, or their message as a whole any more if we tried (not to mention the fact that this project centers in our beloved Bay Area), and are looking forward to future collaborations! How do you feel about “American Beauty” re-conceptualized in this way? Comment below – we know our Instagram audience has been loving it!

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Dear Readers, HAPPY #FuckFatPhobia FRIDAY courtesy of these gorgeous from the inside out kindred spirits who clearly know how to #DropTheTowel: Denise Jolly founder of the Be Beautiful Project & Sonya Renee Taylor creator of The Body Is Not An Apology – inspiration warrior womyn extraordinaire! Love, @somewhere_under_the_rainbow Photo Credit: the brilliantly talented Carey Lynne, of Shameless Photography http://www.careyfruthphotography.com/people-1/ Article up on the whole series, "American Beauty," now: https://www.wearyourvoicemag.com/photographer-redefines-american-beauty-with-body-positive-series/ #bebeautiful #thebodyisnotanapology #FuckFatPhobia #WearYourVoice #goldenconfidence #losehatenotweight #ThereIsNoWrongWayToBeAWoman #effyourbeautystandards #curvesreign #DropTheTowel #honorourcurves #alternativecurves #boldncurvy #bigarmnoharm #bigandblunt

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Being raised in New England, the west coast has always felt like a breath of progressive, laid-back, open-minded, fashion-forward air to my free-spirited soul, which is what drew me to California. Escaping the more cookie-cutter traditional white picket fence life, has led me on an adventurous journey toward self-love and acceptance, and ultimately body positivity! I am in Oakland, because I moved to the Bay Area for graduate school to become a licensed Somatic Psychotherapist, and after exploring different city options, I discovered that the eclectic, unique, and honest vibe of Oakland resonated with my funky spirit and style! My role in WYV as Senior Columnist is producing weekly articles on Body Positive Fashion, Fat Acceptance, and many of my other passions such as social justice, childcare, and chronic illness advocacy. Of course I'm constantly being inspired by my very diverse (fashionably and otherwise) Oakland peers, local business owners, and fat/body positive activists! Come follow my photographic adventures on my instagram: @somewhere_under_the_rainbow

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