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British photographer and director Bex Day proudly presents PETAL. Celebrating the uniqueness of the vulva, PETAL seeks to subvert the status quo, and challenge the patriarchal narratives that envelope the genitalia. Each vulva pictured in the collection is covered by a single flower or petal to reflect their shared qualities and to dismantle the taboo that surrounds it, with the hope that each image and written piece from the subject that accompanies it can work to demystify the experience and the reality of what it is to own a vulva in society as we know it.
With fearless and refreshing sincerity, PETAL champions realistic representation and platforms models of all different backgrounds, shapes, races, genders, and ages - inviting the audience to take an up close andpersonal look at what makes every vulva simultaneously unique and homogenous, and importantly - something to be celebrated.
Day states: “I’ve always believed that rigid beauty ideals are a burden to our society, inhibiting freedom and expression of who we are. I wanted to subvert standardized beauty by focusing on the uniqueness of the vulva and celebrating the similarities and differences they share.”
By combining in-your-face anatomy with organic and innate beauty in an almost dream-like state, PETAL intentionally up-roots rigid beauty ideals - offering up exquisitely intimate, raw and sensitive images, designed to empower both their subject and their viewer. Dominating the viewers’ gaze at every opportunity, Day’s photographic series challenges the misconception of what is considered a ‘normal’ vagina, which has long been reinforced by cultural censorship, type-casting in porn, and portrayals in mainstream media.
Since the start of her photographic career, Day has aimed to dismantle rigid beauty ideals and stereotypes through her work. By breaking conventions and removing people from these futile constructs, Day is able to empower the overlooked and underrepresented communities in the photographs and transverse archaic views of what it means to be human and in the case of PETAL what it means to own a vulva.
PETAL is a daring and bewitching addition to Day’s already impressive repertoire of boundary pushing and thought provoking projects that sets about rewriting the narrative and plays havoc with modern day paradigms about the vulva. Focusing on both subjectivity and unity, PETAL works to undercut phallocentric conditioning that has too for too long repressed the organic and natural power of the vulva, by offering an opportunity to truly admire the many versions of ‘the origins of the world’.
You can purchase the book here.