‘Socially Unacceptable’ Nudity – An Interview With Photographer Jade Beall {NSFW}

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Featured, nude, Photography Tips, portrait

‘Socially Unacceptable’ Nudity – An Interview With Photographer Jade Beall {NSFW}
Mom Censored

{Warning: Article contains images that are NSFW}

For many of us, simply running a business and keeping our heads above water is an overwhelming task. For some photographers, however, the subject nature of their passion brings in an entirely new challenge. From the first time she posted a photo of her nude body breastfeeding her newborn son, Jade Beall has encountered criticism and unwarranted critique at every corner. She’s also garnered a fairly substantial following from around the globe in support of her unique and uplifting voice in the photography world. Jade challenges people’s opinions and thoughts of normal with her subject matter and by doing what she’s calls simply following her passion. I got the opportunity to sit down with Jade at the beginning of this week following the third banning of her personal Facebook page for 30 days.

For those of you who use Facebook for your business, you can understand how damaging and frustrating this can be (even more so when she didn’t break any of the Facebook terms of service in her postings). Jade connects with the majority of her client base and support system thru Facebook, so being unable to even log in to see messages or respond to requests costs her much more than just a mere social annoyance. If you haven’t seen Jade’s work, here is a small taste (starting with the image of her mother that got her banned this time – edited like it was when she posted it). Love it or hate it, there’s no way to view work from such a powerful photographer and not leave unchanged!

Jade Beall mothers milk drip Jade Beall nursing mother dripping milk Jade Beall in Mexico 2 Jade Beall nursing mother in army uniform Jade Beall Mothers with Babies

[REWIND: How would your business survive if Facebook died?

CD: So, the obvious thing to ask here is how do you feel about the banning and/or FB with this being the 3rd time this has happened.

Jade: It’s just super frustrating. Honestly, this isn’t even about FB to me. I mean, I truly honor their terms of service in my postings, and I’ve followed their rules and guidelines even beyond what they ask; it really is just about consistency. If they would CONSISTENTLY follow their own rules, this wouldn’t have happened. What is crazy to me is what they DO allow vs. what gets banned. (Update: since this interview was done, Jade’s account has been restored, and the unjust banning is being investigated!). The bigger issue here is really the heart of what I do – normalizing things like breastfeeding mothers or non-sexual nudity. There is an INTENSE objectification of women in our media with the intent to sell things. One of my fans (Roxanne Shelar) made this for me!

Stop Banning Jade Beall

Stop Banning Jade Beall

CD: So, what was it that led your business this direction?

Jade: I didn’t really HAVE a business then. I just had a moment of intense honesty with myself and wanted to believe what I think we ALL want to believe; that what I looked like, just then, right after having a baby – CREATING A LIFE!!! – was beautiful. That I could be classified as beautiful. This was the first image I posted along with that sentiment and the business exploded from there. This image – with her newborn son Sequoia – was posted around March of 2012.

Original Self Portrait

CD: So, why photograph people in the nude?

Jade: Why do any of us photograph what we photograph? I’ve been photographing nudes since I was in my teens with my friends and siblings. It’s never been “odd” or “weird” to me. We each choose what we want to see in our own way. I love that I’ve created a space where people who don’t come in loving their bodies can feel comfortable to come in and create art with their sacred creation (their body). It’s a beautiful thing to show someone the beauty they have when THEY don’t see it at first. It’s DEFINITELY a reason to celebrate! I just haven’t seen enough of what I want to see in the world, so I keep shooting. What’s weird to me is that sexually charged nudity intending to sell people stuff is welcomed as “normal” on TV, on social media, and EVERYWHERE in our culture, but a photo of a breastfeeding mother is cause for concern.

CD: What changed with you when you became pregnant/gave birth that made you want to photograph yourself?

Jade: I don’t know; a lot of things I guess. Becoming a mother and carrying a child kind of relaxed the idea of “sexuality only” for my body. I also think the idea that I needed to be “sexy” or “desirable” faded a bit. I wasn’t ever the girl who got the guys, and I definitely grew up feeling like I wasn’t the attractive one. So, I guess being pregnant and having a baby settled some of those worries for me.

CD: What are the hardest parts of marketing a business like yours in our society?

Jade: The controversy of shooting things that people don’t deem “socially acceptable” or normal has actually been the biggest motivators for my business. Every time I get banned or someone speaks out against me, my business grows. Building a BUSINESS under an exploding fan base has been extremely challenging! I have been learning to “get real” in my business and bringing along other professionals (like an accountant) to help me make this so much more than just a growing passion.

—–

There was such an obvious joy and love for her clients that exuded from Jade as we talked. I can’t describe it other than to say, it’s truly a genuine love. The next time you’re scrolling through your Facebook or social media feeds, take a quick look at all the skin you see and ask yourself what it represents. People like Jade are pushing for you to see something different. I’ll leave you with this quote from Jade, truly a summation of what she does and what I hope we, as photographers are doing with our talents, helping people see they’re beautiful and redefining healthy standards for our world!

I’m ready to stop pretending that it’s NOT ok to look this way. This is my reality and I want to believe that THIS could be called beautiful too.

CREDITS: All images are copyrighted and have been used with permission by SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify, or re-post this article or image without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.

      

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *