Back in Feb, when we started working on the EMBRACE YOUR SKIN movement, after hours of reading online articles, testimonials, tutorials and all sorts of content about acne, we discovered Sophie’s work : EPIDERMIS.
It was quite obvious for us that we had to involve Sophie and her inspiring photographic project in the movement to promote #skinpositivity.
"Normality is defined by images we see all around us, we are led to believe all women have idealised, flawless skin - they don’t.” - Sophie Harris-Taylor
Few months ago, a glimpse of the inspiring photographic project EPIDERMIS was showcased at the Embrace Your Skin event.
Join us for the very first private view of "Epidermis", a solo exhibition by Sophie Harris-Taylor sponsored by Bioderma UK.
“I'm ok with having one or two spots but twice in about 3 years I've had major breakouts that don't fully heal for about 6 months. It's a long time to be self-conscious for. I've always seen myself as a free-spirited - don't-care-what-they-think type person which rings true for everything except 'bad skin'. People always tell you 'other people don't notice it as much as you do' which is probably true but with acne I find that it's more about what you notice yourself. (...)
I love myself and what I look like (...) I was so stressed and tired from feeling like a prisoner to myself - covering up certain parts of my face in photos or in person, avoiding going out etc that one day I decided enough was enough and published a picture of my acne. I got so much love and support from friends - suggestions, routines, remedies etc that I wondered why I hadn't done it sooner.”
“I do feel very self-conscious about my skin, and feel that I've tried everything under the sun to get it 'under control', but as I have gotten older I have realised that skin isn't naturally smooth, even, untextured and that none of the faces I looked at in real life looked like my 'ideal' skin. That's not to say I don't sometimes stop and look in the mirror and feel ashamed of my face, particularly if I'm out and about with no makeup on, but I've learned that those thoughts aren't useful and try not to obsess over them. The thing I find most difficult to cope with is the compulsive skin picking, because it's a manifestation of anxiety that I wear in the scars on my face. I don't really talk about it, and didn't really come to terms with the face that it is a compulsion until a few months ago, despite having done it for years.
(...) It is nice to have a representation of myself as I am that feels very intentional and honest”
“Acne has affected so much of my life, I lost a lot of self-confidence and it even stopped me from leaving the house. (...) I believe acne isn't something that actually gets spoken about enough, we hear a lot about weight and body image but not acne. (...) I decided to post a makeup free selfie on instagram with the hashtag #freethepimple and now considering it is 'out there' and people know it actually empowered me to not care and just embrace it. In addition the amount of messages I get daily of other people telling me they suffer with it and how much of an inspiration I am to have the confidence to show it helps me keep going. (...) I felt empowered and excited to finally not be afraid and to show my own 'battle scars‘.”
“It definitely took a toll on my self-esteem growing up, to the point where I was embarrassed to even step foot outside my house. The thought of people looking at all the "problems" on my face gave me anxiety. I just wanted to hide my face from everyone. I became obsessed with constantly trying new methods that would potentially cure my skin concerns. (...)
But over the past few years, on my journey of personal health & wellness, I've learned to love and accept myself exactly the way I am. It's been a difficult process, but I feel more empowered and I stopped caring what people think of my skin anymore. At the end of the day, it's just skin. It shouldn't dictate my entire life. Though my skin has gotten better ever since I started taking better care of my body, I've accepted that I may never have perfect skin. And that's okay. (...) Years ago, I probably would've been horrified looking at a portrait of myself with no coverage on my skin, but today I feel differently. I feel empowered by the image of myself.”