Photographer Peter DeVito grew up feeling self-conscious about his acne-prone skin. But as artists often do, he turned his pain into something beautiful. The 20-year-old created a series of unretouched portraits celebrating people with acne. His series received thousands of likes and comments on social media, garnering international coverage.
“What’s on your face? Did it hurt? Are you a ghost?” — these are some of the questions frequently asked to the models in the portrait series. DeVito placed the phrases on their face and gave each model the opportunity to candidly answer via handwritten letter.
DeVito tells Yahoo Lifestyle his inspiration came from the body-positive movement. “I love seeing posts that talk about how people are beginning to accept themselves for how they are and I wanted to contribute to that in some way.”
People’s questions often feel like an invasion of privacy, so for DeVito, this project was a public and secure way for the models to share their personal experiences of living with a skin condition and break the stigma surrounding it.
His hometown also serves as a source of inspiration. He says, “I think growing up in New York is why I try to make all my work as inclusive as possible. It’s such a diverse place and seeing all the different types of people makes me want to make work that represents everyone.”
DeVito has received positive reviews from social media users across the world. “We are all different! And this is what makes us beautiful,” wrote a fan. Many individuals also identified with the different models’ skin conditions. “Wow! I have alopecia and I’m bald too, so I feel this like so much,” said one commenter. “This makes me so happy. I’m glad I grew up with a birthmark on my face for everyone to see,” wrote another.
DeVito, a college student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, also wanted to create a series focused on inclusivity because he grew tired of not seeing diverse representation in the media and fashion industry.
“Being at fashion shows, seeing the lack of diversity, working for agencies, and being required to heavily retouch images,” he explains, “things like these are what makes me want to change the industry.”
And he is well on his way of disrupting the norm.
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