Bare Reality: 100 Women And Their Breasts

ArtBeautyBooks 8 Comments

Created by photographer Laura Dodsworth, Bare Reality is an art and social project exploring how women feel about their breasts. In it, 100 women bare all, bravely sharing un-airbrushed photographs of their breasts alongside personal stories about their breasts and their lives.

Women You Should Know connected with Laura to learn more…

LauraDodsworth“I created Bare Reality because I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women’s personal lives and how they are depicted in the media; between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption.

“There has been so much public debate about breasts recently, from Free the Nipple to No More Page 3, from breastfeeding selfies on Facebook to Rihanna on the red carpet, from Scout Willis’s topless walk through New York to Grace Coddington’s banned cartoon on Instagram.

“We see images of breasts everywhere in the media and yet ‘real’ breasts are taboo, hidden away. When we talk about breasts we talk about intimate aspects of our lives as women, such as growing up, sexuality, motherhood, breastfeeding, relationships, body image, health, cancer and aging.

“I think the time has never been better to hear how women really feel about their breasts, and to see how they really look.”

“Women from all walks of life have taken part in Bare Reality, aged from 19 to 101 years old and sized AAA to K. Coming from all walks of life, their perspectives and experiences are diverse: Buddhist nun, burlesque dancer, career women and stay at home mums, a female vicar, nurses, strippers, social workers, full/long term breastfeeders, cancer survivors, a club night promoter whose pseudonym is ‘Captain Hello Titties’, and so many more.

“Bare Reality is, for me, the inevitable result of being a woman, a feminist and a photographer.”

Laura is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to finish the production and printing of the Bare Reality: 100 women and their breasts book. You can pre-order a copy here. Bare Reality will donate £1.00 from every book sold to Breast Cancer UK.

Here’s a preview…


“I’m one of the lucky ones.”

Age: 54

Children: three

About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. First the lumps were taken out, but that didn’t work, so I had a mastectomy. I came away with nothing but a horrible scar. It’s bad enough having your breast off, but looking in the mirror and seeing the scar… I just thought, ‘I have to make it look pretty!’ I decided to have a tattoo with a little bit of colour. I liked the idea of flowers.

I had to wait about a year to heal, and there were a couple of bits of the scar which didn’t heal as well and couldn’t be tattooed. It took about four hours in two stages: first of all the outline, then the colouring. The tattoo artist made me feel comfortable, it wasn’t embarrassing. For him it was just artwork. Funnily enough, because it was on the scarring it didn’t hurt, it was numb.

I don’t think I could have psychologically come to terms with my ‘battle scar’ as easily without the tattoo. It would have taken a lot longer to look in the mirror and feel okay about the scar where the boob was. It makes a statement and it’s pretty to look at. I’m proud of it. I want people to realise you don’t have to hide away, just because you’ve had breast cancer. <read more>

All images © Copyright Laura Dodsworth 2012-2014. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

  • madscipanda

    This project is similar to one that Jane Magazine did around 2006, which unfortunately, is speculated to be the cause of its sudden cancellation. It’s good to see that someone else is taking this up. I wonder where the Image Revolution would be if progressive influences like Jane Mag weren’t silenced.

  • L.E.

    It’s kind of strange that what I see all tend to me women of average to heavy weight. I only see one woman I might consider “slight” or “slim” and none with very small breasts or what some so tactlessly refer to as “bee stings”. I would think their images have a place in this project as well.

    • madscipanda

      I wonder if that has anything to do with who was willing to participate in this. It could be a coincidence. I’d like to give the benefit of a doubt that women of all body types were approached to participate in this project but not all were interested. But I’m just speculating…

  • gargouille

    I also noticed that very small breasts were left out. Actually, a huge part of the myth the photographer is trying to bust (as it were) is that size has direct proportion to femininity or gender identity such that being small makes you ‘less than…’ (fill in the positive or sexy adjective). Maybe next time she’ll tackle that!

  • gargouille

    Ok, ‘left out’ is an exaggeration. Just not quite as well represented.

  • LCD100

    There are a few women who are AAA/AA/A and there are plenty of slim women and women with smaller size cups as well. I attempted to recruit a range of women to take part – women of colour, different sexualities, different careers and life experiences and shapes and sizes. I did my best to represent a range of women, and I think the range is fairly representative of women in the UK, where I live. Laura Dodsworth

    • Shannon Flanigan

      I think you did great… I actually used this image to show my daughter 🙂 it demonstrates perfectly that they come in all shapes and sizes and they are all unique and beautiful. Unfortuntely the media leaves your girls not really knowing what natural boobs look like.

  • Shannon Flanigan

    personally I think she did a great job, shows a good range of shapes and sizes and demonstrates they are all beautiful and unique