In a world that places a premium on looking perfect, even the tiniest body blemish gets airbrushed or filtered out of photos. But one United Kingdom-based photographer is challenging the prevailing idea that only flawless bodies are beautiful.
Behind the Scars is an Instagram page and activist initiative launched by Sophie Mayanne that features women and men showing what others might label disfigurements—everything from scar tissue on burned skin to missing digits and limbs to deep scars from major surgery. "It's about celebrating the skin we are in, the challenges we can overcome—and encouraging others to embrace themselves too!" Mayanne writes of the project on her Kickstarter page.
Mayanne has photographed 100 people so far, capturing images of people who embrace their scars rather than hide them, whether they've had the scar their whole life or from an injury or operation. The stories behind them vary. One subject was scarred after spilling boiling water, another is a cancer survivor, and a third is a transgender man who underwent a double mastectomy.
Mayanne's aim is to take Behind the Scars to the United States to shoot even more people who want to take on the cultural assumption that scars must be hidden. This week, the campaign reached its Kickstarter goal, and the initiative will be heading to the United States in February.