Ben Hopper's Blog

Artist Ben Hopper presents: “Natural Beauty”

with 23 comments

Emilia Bostedt. Actress.

Last month I previewed the first ‘official’ image from my long overdue project “Natural Beauty”.
Yesterday, I finally premiered 8 images on The Huffington Post, 6 of them was never published before.
You can see them below or go to the original post on The Huffington Post via link above.

Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement.
Why is that?
For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal.

“Natural Beauty” could be classified as a type of protest.
By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.

Currently looking for more females to photograph. Please email me if you’re interested or have any questions:

Alessandra Kurr. Designer.

Olivia Murphy. Fashion student, model.

Ayan Mohamed. Graduate architecture student.

Ruby Bird. Producer, costumier.

Rakel Lindgren. Actress, model.

Slant Array. Model.

Cassia Tsura. Performer, artist.

This project has been in the works since 2007 but only lately I realised the aesthetics I was happy with.

With this studio setup I can focus on the idea with no distractions. It took me years until I was happy with the aesthetics, it’s quite funny. I preferred to wait until I’m 100% satisfied with it.
Again, the idea is contrast. The images are much more powerful that way. At least in my humble opinion.

Here are few examples of the photos I’ve taken since 2007:

Amanda Palmer. Musician.
“Natural Beauty” research (2010).

“Natural Beauty” research (2011).

Justyna Neryng. Artist.
“Natural Beauty” research (2009).

Julianne Popa.
“Natural Beauty” research (2011).

Maleficent Martini. Singer, ballet dancer, model.
“Natural Beauty” research (2009).

I’d like to thank everyone who have been a part of this project and been very patient with me. Special thanks to Isaac Saul @ HuffPost.
The project is photographed on a Mamiya Leaf Credo 80 camera.
I will post more images from the ‘research’ phase in the near future.

Since the publication of the project on HuffPost on April 7th, the project has been getting press worldwide.
Here’s a list of the ones I’m aware of so far:
Aktuálně.cz (Czech Republic)
Andro (Greece)
Arco da Velha (Portugal)
aufeminin (France)
Bored Panda
Codigo Nuevo (Spain)
Cosmopolitan (Germany)
Cosmopolitan (UK)
Coyote Chronicle (CA, USA)
Creative Life (Czech Republic)
crushplate (Denmark)
DailyMail (UK)
Delbart (Norway)
EL TIEMPO (Colombia)
ELLE Serbia
Emol (Chile)
Glamour Magazine
GQ (Germany)
HLN (Belgium)
HuffPost (Germany)
HuffPost (UK)
HuffPost (USA)
HuffPost FB main
HuffPost Live
HuffPost Women FB
ITV Loose Women
La Repubblica (Italy)
Le Figaro (France)
Life Behavior (Brazil)
Lost at E Minor 
Mako (Israel)
Medical Daily 
Melty Fashion (France)
Metro (Russia)
My Daily 
N24 (Germany)
Noticias Caracol (Colombia)
PlayGround Magazine
Quil Magazine
Reshet (Israel)
RocketNews24 (Japan)
Saloona (Israe)
Schweizer Illustrierte (Switzerland)
Sin Embargo MX (Mexico)
Sin Embargo MX FB (Mexico)
Slashed Beauty
Stern (Germany)
Telegraph (UK)
The Gloss
The Hodgetwins
Visual News
Vivas (Finland)
Women’s Rights News FB
Yahoo Canada Shine
Yahoo Lifestyle

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Written by benhopper

April 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Natural Beauty

Tagged with

23 Responses

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  1. But if Ben Hopper is taking a stand on what counts for natural beauty why not also use models who are not thin and attractive as the ones we see in the fashion world, the very world that Ben Hopper wishes to challenge?

    Hair is a personal choice and our reaction to it differs from person to person but a continuity of perpetrating the thin gamine model as the owner of ‘natural beauty’ is deceptive…. and not really answering the question Hopper asks but capitulating.


    April 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    • I completely agree with you. These models are much too thin!


      April 9, 2014 at 4:52 am

    • Agree. Amanda Palmer is the only ‘real’ woman here…


      April 9, 2014 at 7:38 am

    • Oh shut up. Always someone bloody moaning. Why don’t you go out and shoot plus-size models with hairy armpits, minges and the lot, and take your own stand instead of armchair-critiquing others.

      Panting cat

      April 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    • I agree completely, and would also have liked to see something other than armpit hair. Facial hair, leg hair, scars, big noses… there are SO MANY things that are completely normal about our bodies that society has told us are unacceptable.


      April 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    • please read the blurb of the project
      and you can talk directly to me, it’s my own blog :)


      April 26, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    • He explains why right there in the post, sheesh. “By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.”


      May 20, 2014 at 10:46 pm

  2. […] of black and white portraits, each capturing beautiful women bearing armpit hair. Hopper notes on his blog: “Although armpit hair is a natural state, it has become a statement. Why is that? For […]

  3. […] of black and white portraits, each capturing beautiful women bearing armpit hair. Hopper notes on his blog: “Although armpit hair is a natural state, it has become a statement. Why is that? For […]

  4. I have to say that everyone can only focus on the fact that the models are thin. I would say healthy. You can’t tell what size someone is by looking at the photos, most probably are an 8 or a 10 or 12. They all seem thinner, but i still say healthy, and that could be because they are aware of what they do with their bodies, this includes what they put into it. I am willing to bet that most of these women do not eat alot of processed foods (there goes 20 pounds and lots of puffiness) they are very conscientious – obviously if they have given up on the modern ‘expectatins’. Good for them. Good for me. Stop focusing on size people!


    April 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm

  5. Personally as an American (so much more criticism) who doesn’t shave their pits, I say THANK YOU! I am constantly berated and made fun of for arm pit hair. It takes guts to show if off and be proud of it. I find it amusing (and pathetic) when people give me a hard time. MY body, MY choice. Don’t like it, look away. I am super healthy and super aware of my body. I like who I am (pit hair and all) and that’s what matters!


    April 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    • Will you marry me??? You sound sensational, what a woman! Armpit and Minge hair is so sexy!!!


      April 11, 2014 at 7:43 am

  6. I just wanted to tell you that your work reached me here in Sweden, and I can’t tell you how much it means to see art like this. I believe this is exactly what the world needs, to show a variety of beauty. To show beautiful women with beautiful body hair. We need to chance this view that women are hairless. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    Hanna Blomberg

    April 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

    • The work of Ben Hopper reached many people around the word. How is a view of women with body hair in Sweden? Recently I met two swedish women, both with body hair. I was really surprised. I didn’t expect it but was a nice change.


      May 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

  7. who is the model Katerina?


    April 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm

  8. […] is a mirror post of the original post on my active blog on Since this project went viral, my website & blog have been crushing several time not being […]

  9. I really appreciate women with underarm hair or wool. Post in the future a lot of photos? good weekend


    April 12, 2014 at 7:37 am

  10. I am overjoyed to see these comments on this brilliant project! I have been offended by the idea that my body hair was somehow unclean or disgusting for years now but wasn’t quite able to break my conditioning. I was a teenager in the ’60s when my mother gave me the ‘talk’ about shaving and made it quite clear that it was a ‘natural’ part of being a woman. I was 50 when I first started questioning that and it took almost 10 years of trying to get secure enough within myself to say “enough!”. It’s been 2 years now since I’ve shaved and last summer was the first time I wore shorts without worrying that everyone was looking and judging. As a photographer I can appreciate the art and technique in Ben Hopper’s work but as a woman, I find it brilliant! Thank you for showing beautiful women in their natural form!


    April 22, 2014 at 5:47 pm

  11. although i really appreciate the thought and the process …. i was just a little disappointed to see that most of the chosen advocates for “natural beauty” were still wearing an alarming amount of make up and fake lashes etc in the pictures…
    one small step …but lets go further in liberating women from society induced ideas of beauty ! i hope one day we will get there . but yeay for arm pits !! thank you for the hard work and the beautiful images !


    May 6, 2014 at 11:26 am

  12. Thanks for this photoshow – I loved it. As a mom of three teenage daughters, I have tried to curb the obsession that they must live up to false beauty standards. We wear very limited, if any makeup and if we don’t want to shave our armpits, so be it! Who we are is demonstrated by our natural lifestyle, including organic eating habits and homemade beauty products – “if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t be rubbing it into your skin”. I must add that we are constantly under fire by a grandmother, aunt or cousin who believes that it’s a disgrace to cut your own hair, forget to shape your eyebrows, and show up to an event without a professional manicure. We say NO WAY! By the way, not a day goes by when we are not complimented by neighbors and strangers alike.


    May 7, 2014 at 7:36 pm

  13. Natural? You mean they were born with the tattoos, piercings, and cuttings?


    May 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm

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