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This photo series proves how powerful the skin positivity movement really is

Posted by
Lucy Partington
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Photographer Sophie Harris-Taylor wants to empower women and make them feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Last year, we wrote a story around #SkinPositivity, a movement that was started in 2015 by Em Ford, a vlogger who posted a video titled You Look Disgusting, which has since had over 31 million views.

The video showcased the vile comments she got on a daily basis relating to her acne. In the four years since, the visibility of real skin on Instagram and in advertising campaigns has slowly started to become the norm. In fact, the movement has gained so much incredible traction that it’s going beyond acne.

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Why we should all embrace a new era of skin positivity

In August 2018, Urban Decay were praised for posting a photo showing its make-up on ‘real skin’. In the same month, Mac posted a photo of a woman with facial hair to their 20 million followers. 

The most recent triumph for the movement happened just last week when US brand Blume used models with acne in its newest campaign, titled Celebrate Skin.

It’s not just beauty brands getting involved, either, as photographer Sophie Harris-Taylor proves with her new photo series. 

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Sophie Harris-Taylor's photo project, Epidermis, celebrates skin positivity

Aptly named Epidermis, the project features 20 beautiful portraits of bare-faced women from across the UK, all with skin common skin conditions including rosacea, acne and hyperpigmentation

Speaking exclusively to Stylist about the project and the inspiration behind it, Harris-Taylor said, “Most of my personal projects seem to come from my own life experiences and throughout there is always some element of my own vulnerability.”

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Sophie Harris-Taylor's photo project, Epidermis, celebrates skin positivity

“I began to reflect on my own past and feelings towards my skin and I’d suffered from severe acne, but back then, there were no idols, role models and people to look up to who had anything but flawless skin, which meant I struggled with my own self-image,” she adds.

Despite the world coming a long way since then, Harris-Taylor still felt there was a lack of representation when it came to showcasing skin in a way that was both honest and open. “Epidermis was a way of showcasing beautiful women in skins less often seen,” she says.

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Sophie Harris-Taylor's photo project, Epidermis, celebrates skin positivity

Harris-Taylor also hopes that the project makes anybody who’s on a similar journey feel less isolated. “It’s about raising awareness, and I’d love to help people feel empowered and more comfortable in their own skin. It’s something I personally struggle with but I hope that one day I can practice what I preach,” she says.

Featured in the project is Louisa Northcote, activist and founder of #freethepimple, who appeared at Stylist Live last year to talk about her skin journey, and Lex Gillies, who blogs about her rosacea and is an ambassador for the British Skin Foundation. 

Sophie Harris-Taylor's photo project, Epidermis, celebrates skin positivity
Sophie Harris-Taylor's photo project, Epidermis, celebrates skin positivity

If you want to go and see the shots in all their glory, Epidermis is currently on show until 13 September at The Print Space, Shoreditch.

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Photo credits: Courtesy of Sophie Harris-Taylor / @sophieharristaylor 

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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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