Unveiling Our Differences: Bare Reality

Re-humanising The Bodies of Women Through Revealingly Honest Photography

The primary biological purpose of a woman’s breasts is to feed her babies. Simultaneously, breasts are considered by western culture to be woman’s most sexual feature. Laura Dodsworth’s Bare Reality is a photography and story project documenting the personal relationships that 100 British women have with their breasts, defying the presentation of breasts in the media.

Bare Reality - 100© Copyright Laura Dodsworth. All rights reserved

‘I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women’s personal lives and how they are depicted in the media,’ explains Laura, ‘between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption.’
This project addresses that breasts take on so many symbols in modern society; ‘of motherhood and womanhood’, yet can also be sources of ‘disappointment, inconvenience, and even health problems’.

She is using Kickstarter to realise her goals to turn this project into a book. She also includes an image of herself and her story in the last page of the book, talking in more depth about what makes this project so personal to her.

Laura told us a little about her motivations and experience creating this project:

TP: This project is very thought provoking. Did you come across any stumbling blocks in the process of making it?
It took time to find 100 women who would be broadly representative of women in the UK and have a range of diverse and interesting stories as well as body types. It took two years! The main difficulty was that I was unable to find an agent. Despite very positive feedback, agents didn’t feel the project was commercial enough.

The Plus: What kind of conversations do you hope it inspires?
Laura Dodsworth:
I hope that ‘Bare Reality’ moves and inspires people and transforms their relationship with breasts. Breasts are interesting in themselves but they are also catalysts for discussing intimate aspects of our experiences as women: growing up, sexuality, motherhood, breastfeeding, health, body image, eating disorders, media, cosmetic surgery and ageing. I do not want to tell people how to think and feel after engaging with the work, I just hope it touches them.

TP: What was your creative process while working on this?
I developed a lighting set up that would fit in any home and was relatively portable. I normally visited women in their homes, photographed them and then interviewed them. The transcribing and editing have been very time-consuming, but it’s always fascinating listening to their stories again, and it’s very rewarding to create a powerful 1,000 word story, in their own words, from each interview.

Each week, Laura will share a photograph and story from ‘Bare Reality: 100 women and their breasts’. Follow the stories here. Support her Kickstarter campaign here.