Created by photographer Chloe Sheppard, her zine is inspired by the likes of page 3 in The Sun newspaper. Where highly glamourised models are spread across the page in their most racy underwear whilst exposing their bodies for a lustful audience. Sheppard instead promotes a much refreshing and natural take on this theme by highlighting what we may see as insecurities or imperfections by turning it into something that should be applauded. Because essentially, this is who we are, whether the media industry agrees or not.
“I had family members who’d buy it so if I ever chose to read it it was always there. Whenever I looked at it, all I saw was thin, white young girls with perky tits and flawless skin, and that then becomes the norm when it’s reinforced enough times.” Chloe Sheppard for Dazed (1)
Sheppard has always been a photographer whose work I admire. She is able to capture raw, honest photographs of women with a dreamy, soft and feminine approach, yet does not seem to sexualise women in any kind of way. I recently ordered her zine ‘Lust for Life’ that contains photographs taken on film that feature women of all size and race with glittered breasts and flowers that is almost like a love letter to women themselves. She is promoting a positive message to women that addresses the importance of being happy and comfortable with your body. I find that the women photographed in her zine are quite confident with their posing and facial expressions that they appear powerful yet poised.
What I love about this zine is the representation of women from all backgrounds. I think it’s inspiring and empowering especially for young women to see this kind of inclusivity of women of all shape and colour as a step forward in society that we can relate to; more than those on the cover of a fashion spread magazine (although equally as beautiful). I think more women and younger girls are striving towards something more real in the media that we can connect with, instead of having unrealistic expectations where we are constantly comparing ourselves to other idealistic beautiful women in magazines which is quite threatening factor that can lead to not feeling good enough, or unworthy in society because you don’t look like that.
What firstly appealed to me about this zine is the whole colour scheme and aesthetic of the images. She has combined the use of collage, with typography (hand written and digital font) with regular images which has been done in a fairy-like, dreamy way with a slight DIY feel about it where she has printed out images, reworked then scanned them back in. I definitely would like to work in this kind of way for my zine so it has a hand-made quality to it and adds a more intimate, personal touch to it. I also think that the use of music lyrics is a clever way to add text to the image without saying too much, but adds an extra layer on context to the zine.
I love the idea that she has used glitter and flowers in her images to evoke a feminine, dreamy aesthetic that I find visually appealing. I think that the glitter really adds depth to the images, and is almost a symbol of celebrating a woman body- it accentuates their bodies by shining light on their skin in a beautiful manner. Similarly with the flowers she has used in many images it draws attention to the feminine side of a woman, and creates a romantic setting for the images.
WHAT I CAN TAKE FROM THIS ZINE/FURTHER EXPERIMENTS
I really have been inspired by this zine, and it has definitely given me inspiration for a photoshoot that I wish to plan based on body image. The most useful part that I will take from this zine is the feminine approach she has used to shine light on empowering women.
Lust For Life – Chloe Sheppard