Plus-size people are consistently told they are promoting obesity by just existing. If it were up to some folks, fat people's bodies would remain hidden and out of social media, pop culture, and art, tucked behind baggy clothes and only highlighted as stereotypes.
With the rise of body positivity impacting everything from TV to advertisements, keeping diversity in the dark is becoming even harder — especially with photographers and activists like Amy Jo Wisehart around.
The plus-size and heavily tattooed artist recently completely a year-long photo series where she ventured into the wild and photographed herself completely, unapologetically naked.
"I didn't really start with much of a mission," Wisehart confessed. "I did a few photographs before I actually started the project just to 'test the waters,' and then once I realized how liberating it was — I decided to start a project. I've always tried to do yearly projects but I've never been successful with them — probably because it was never anything I was entirely passionate about. I also really loved hiking but I needed motivation to get outside. This project ended up being two amazing things in one package."
Instead of waiting to release the photos at the end of her year, she posted them immediately to social media, which garnered a wide range of reactions from followers old and new and gave her a clear sense of purpose.
"There have been so many people who have reached out to me over the past year saying how much this project means to them and that has honestly been the most rewarding part about this whole thing. I want other people to see that I have created beautiful images from a 'less than ideal' body type and that maybe they will see the beauty in themselves as well someday."
And the mission of inclusivity grew from there.
"I think it's important to highlight nudity for plus-size women specifically because since the '50s and '60s our society has been in the mindset that the most ideal body shape is something that is pretty much unattainable. I think highlighting the bodies of plus-size women (and of all genders) will help to 'normalize' this standard that society has placed into our minds. There's a lot of stigmatized ideals around people that are plus-size and there's really no reason for it."
The images elegantly highlight the body as well as the power of nature itself.
From far away landscapes...
... to deeply personal shots.
That isn't to say that she didn't also gain a little something herself.
"I definitely walked away feeling much more in love with my body and WAY more confident with my hiking skills. At first I was timid with both things. I would find the most secluded spots along easy hikes. Towards the end of the project I was doing pretty difficult hikes and I was photographing myself in semi-public spaces. ... The main thing that I learned from this experience is that so much of our self worth relies on what other people think of us. Once we are able to let that go it's MUCH easier to love ourselves. It's terrifying to put yourself out there if you don't fit the 'norm.'"
Here's to hoping the rest of society will catch up soon.
Follow Amy Jo Wisehart's whole natural journey here.