Real Beauty: photography by Jodi Bieber

Jodi Bieber is a Johannesburg-based photographer who began her career as a photojournalist and continues to work in the documentary tradition. Her project Real Beauty relates to the culture of advertising and Western ideals of female body shape, which are increasingly influential in South Africa. Bieber advertised for volunteer female sitters to participate, rejecting the cult of perfection and the use of Photoshop to produce it.

Dressed in their underwear and photographed in their own homes, in the poses of their choice, each subject was invited to project her own personality and fantasy into the photographs. The results reveal a complex relationship between self-image and body identity, and their relationship to fashion, photography and the media.

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This film was originally produced for the Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography exhibition, 12 April – 17 July 2011.