Seven women were surrounded with delicate baby breath to contrast with their different ranges of skin color. Although media has improved on properly representing beauty of all varieties, women of color still face societal obstacles such as whitewashing. One woman, Ashley Mathew, expresses that, “my own family members put natural mixes onto my skin and try to use bleaching creams.” Testimonies like this let us know how women are still affected by morphed ideals of beauty. To truly set a realistic example of beauty, stretch marks, beauty marks, and “imperfections” were not edited at all. Through this photo-shoot, all the women felt empowered and naturally beautiful, as they truly are. All of the women and I hope that “In Bloom” will encourage others to love their bodies as it is.
“Black woman you are strong. Thanks for including me in this project, Angelica. As a woman you saw the importance of showing black beauty. Representation matters, especially when we live in a society where we are told we are not good enough. I am here to tell all you women of all races that you are amazing, and true beauty comes from within. Life is full of challenges but don’t give up — you have a story to tell.”
“All my life, I’ve been told ‘You’re too dark’ and ‘stay out of the sun.’ All of my family was lighter skinned so as a child I felt out of place and ugly. I’ve had my own family members put natural mixes onto my skin and try to use bleaching creams. I’ve felt terrible about my dark, or brown, skin until I came to Ramapo and found women who were embracing it. Whether or not I have stretch marks, or blemishes, or dark skin, whether I’m bigger or smaller than the next woman, this is the skin I’m in. This is my body. This is my home. And if you’re not happy in your house, you won’t be happy anywhere. I made the change to embrace every aspect of me that I thought was my flaw, and made it my best features. This shoot empowered me even more to feeling the way I do today. Thank you.”
Angelica Pasquali is a New Jersey based photographer that uses art to influence and educate those around her