Photographer attempts to redefine beauty by capturing women with 'au naturel' underarms

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On
(Image via Ben Hopper)

When London-based photographer Ben Hopper started photographing women with armpit hair in 2007 it started off as a joke about contemporary art.

A few years later, he realized he found it attractive.

"I think armpit hair can be very beautiful and under the circumstances empowering and sexy," he says in a Q&A about his "Natural Beauty" photo series. "You need an attitude to be a female with hairy armpits nowadays. Anyone who is willing to take crap from a lot of people to me is an attractive, strong person."

The self-taught photographer wants to challenge traditional beauty norms in the hopes that people will question whether women really need to shave their armpits.

Scroll below for a glimpse of his powerful work.

Hopper specifically chooses models who are conventionally good-looking and thin in order to debunk myths about the types of women who choose to go au naturel.

"If I asked 'Who would you expect to have armpit hair?' You will never imagine a fashion model or a very beautiful hygienic looking female," he explains.

His subjects are an eclectic mix of actresses, models and students who are happy to participate in the project. Some of them specifically grew out their hair for a few weeks to a few months and others already had full underarms.

Public reaction to Hopper's work has been both positive and negative.

"A lot of people love it. A lot of people hate it," he says. "Hopefully everyone can agree at the end, on something -- but people love arguing."

Hopper has ambitions to eventually photograph famous women known for their sex appeal.

"I'd love to photograph anyone who's known for their strong femininity, charisma and sexuality," he says. "Someone like Madonna for example. Anyone that could make people think differently about this."

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