In a world where the women we see on the covers of magazines and our screens have been buffed, nipped, tucked, and clone-stamped to perfection, it's refreshing to see a photograph of one that hasn't been altered in any way.
Jade Beall doesn't believe in the Photoshop approach. A massage therapist for 15 years before she became a photographer, she believes in the beauty of an untouched image. In fact, she has a special name for the photos she takes: "Medicinal photography."
But what exactly does that mean?
"Photos that heal," Beall tells HLN.
When she became pregnant in 2012, Beall gained 50 pounds. She struggled with her own issues of self-esteem in the aftermath, worrying that the weight wouldn't come off. And then she had an idea: to take self-portraits of her own body, exactly the way it looked post-pregnancy, stretch marks and all. The photos were "an exploration of her own vulnerability," Beall says. "After all, I just created a human. Why not celebrate it and capture it?"
"Now, women pay me to do exactly the work I want to be doing anyway," Beall says.
Beall is now working on " Mothers," the first in a series of hardcover books that will present photos of women that are untouched, imperfect, and absolutely lovely.
Her next photography collection will focus on aging, and she has books planned that will focus on women of color, teens and body image, and subjects dealing with terminal illness.
"I look at my 2-year-old son, and I notice how free he is in his body," she says. " I can tell he has no sense of awareness or worry about how he looks. We can re-teach ourselves how to see ourselves, to judge less, to accept as we are. But it's a process."
"Social media adds another layer, a really sinister aspect of being attacked wherever you go," Beall says. "It can be used for horrible ends. But one of the risks of blaming social media is that it allows adults to shift blame off themselves. We need to teach our kids to see themselves authentically."