Did you ever notice that everyone has stretch marks?
Misshapen patches of skin in zigzag patterns, stretch marks are luckily often hidden away on out-of-sight locations on the body. Many people try to cover them up or even try laser removal. Small blemishes are never easy to put up with.
But everyone is flawed.
Intrigued by the physical imperfections that dot the human physique, Taiwanese photographer Chang Yu Hsuan created Bodylines.
For Chang, Bodylines is a way to turn people’s attention to women’s intellect and capabilities, not on how they measure up to a standard of beauty.
“Are stretch marks only ugly because other people say they are? Or are they truly ugly?” Chang wonders. “I was bothered by mine when I was younger and wanted laser removal. But I didn’t have the money, and once I was older, I’d gotten used to them, so I didn’t worry about them. I hope I can bring my own experience of acceptance to women who are struggling. The idea is to help people rethink stretch marks by ‘decorating’ them.”
Chang started shooting because she wanted people to try to be open and honest.
Finding models wasn’t exactly hard, but it wasn’t easy, either. Only likeminded people are willing to sit for this kind of shoot.
Maybe most people have their heads filled with ad models with flawless posture and skin, and demand the impossible of themselves on camera, hoping they’ll look equally perfect.
But the truth is quite different. Growing up isn’t like that.
因为想要大家试着“当个说实话的人”，所以 Chang 就开拍了。
“Take the young girl next door. She doesn’t need to work, and each day she just goes to and from school. Her only worry is getting a pimple before a big date—that’s a big deal. You can’t compare people’s pain. All I can do is find a method I believe in to get people to be more relaxed about their imperfections,” Chang says.
Growing up is never a totally smooth process. But just like stretch marks, our path zigzags upward, and on this journey we slowly get a clear vision of our imperfections, embracing and accepting them.
“The point of the project isn’t to shame women who want to be pretty. It’s to tell each and every woman facing an inner struggle, you’re not beautiful just because other people (especially men) say you are. If one day I’m sitting and talking to you and notice you have a double chin, does that mean you’re not beautiful? That’s sort of what I’m getting at,” Chang says. “Even though it’s a bit trite, having photographed so many women, my conclusion, my experience, is that women’s strength lies in confidence, poise, freedom from envy, and a belief in themselves.”