Four Body-Positive Photographers Who Are Redefining Beauty

These body-positivity crusaders are redefining ‘beauty’ by portraying women of different shapes and sizes through an honest, inclusive lens.  

1.Roshini Kumar @rosh93 (All photographs are from her series BARE)

“In 2015, I did a nude self-portrait because I was bullied for the way I looked when I was younger. When I fell ill for a year, I realised that listening to society and its opinions was not the way to be happy. That’s when I decided to highlight my flaws because everyone suffers from insecurities and people need to know that they’re not alone. The human body is an art in itself, and we should be embracing it in every sphere of our lives—art, fashion, or social media. It’s not a bad thing to be nude. There’s a negative connotation attached to nudity and we need to break that. I do a lot of nude and semi-nude portraits with people who are comfortable in their skin because nudity isn’t the issue, your perception of it is. Having said that, you don’t have to show body...you always have a choice. But, you should not not do it because society tells you so.”

2. Roshan Chikodi @roshanchikodi

“Whenever I call people for a shoot and they tell me that they haven’t shaved or waxed, I tell them it doesn’t matter. In fact, I prefer my models not wearing any make-up because I want to capture people in the moment, where they are their real selves and don’t have a mask on. I don’t condone using anything artificial to make someone look a certain way because it feeds into our insecurities. If you’re ashamed of your body, your confidence and self-esteem take a hit. You try to hide away, avoid meeting friends, and are constantly unsure of yourself. But if you love yourself, you can go out there and achieve your goals because there won’t be anything holding you back.”

3. Steevez Rodriguez @thesteevez

“Women’s bodies are often hyper-sexualised and there’s a lot of taboo attached to it. We’re often conditioned to worship a perfect body type because that’s what we see in popular media. When I started doing portraits, I wanted to break that thought process and start a dialogue around unconventional body types and normalise them. I shoot women in their homes, in their personal spaces, where they can be their real, raw self. I want other women to visualise themselves in their zones, where they can shed their inhibitions and just be themselves. Because that’s who they really are...unabashed, unafraid, and unfiltered.”

4. Photo Bot* @photodotbot

“When I was in university, one of my friends (18 years old at the time) was dumped by her boyfriend for being fat. She shut herself in for a month and went into a downward spiral. Around the same time, I got my first DSLR and I asked her if she’d like to do a shoot. She agreed and I shot her in monochrome. When she looked at the images, she actually liked them. She didn’t feel the need to lose weight or change herself in anyway...somehow it became easier for her to accept herself. Since then, I have shot with women of different shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. I have never said ‘No’ to anyone. Sometimes I get flak from plus-sized women for working with skinny models, but we need to understand that body-shaming is not just fat-shaming. So many skinny women have told me that they have been called ‘flat’ or ‘man-chester’ throughout their life. Which is why, it’s important to represent every size on the spectrum because we’ve been conditioned to idealise one body type and that’s dangerous.”