Photographer Sara Melotti feels her industry is doing more harm than good to women through unattainable beauty standards. So in response, she’s turned to Instagram to expose some of those issues.
“We are constantly under pressure: pressure to be cool, to be beautiful, to be popular, to be engaged, to be rich, to be happy, to be perfect and have a perfect life,” Melotti wrote in a post from earlier this year. “But perfection is bullshit, our pictures on Instagram are bullshit!”
In 2015, Melotti created Quest For Beauty, for which photographs women going about their everyday lives. The project’s goal is to show “that real beauty can be found in every woman no matter the age, size, bone structure, skin tone, or background,” her project’s bio explains.
“I had been working as a fashion photographer for three years when one day I started to feel torn inside as I realized the kind of images I was producing were contributing to create very unrealistic standards of beauty that made countless women suffer,” Melotti writes on Quest For Beauty’s about page. “I didn’t want to be part of that machine anymore so I decided to put my skills to use and actively do something about the issue.”
On Quest For Beauty’s Instagram, Melotti posts portraits of women and their families, from India to Cuba to Ireland. The photos, while professionally shot, look raw and authentic. They also speak to daily problems women experience around the world, including domestic violence.
“I gave a lot of thoughts of what it means to be a woman,” Melotti wrote. “No matter how much progress we made in gender equality, being a woman it’s still far more difficult and dangerous than being a man.”
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Emma – Dublin, Ireland – September 2016 . . #qfb #travel #beauty #realbeauty #selfesteem #bodyacceptance #socialchange #girls #loveyourself #traveling #travelgram #instatravel #explore #paris #brooklyn #france #photographer #photographerslife #bellezza #bella #donne #paris #france #traveling #travelgram #natgeo #adventure #explore #2instagoodportraitlove #unwomen #ireland #europe
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Ashini – Colombo, Sri Lanka – February 2017 What is Beauty? Beauty is one's inner self I believe. It's mostly the good qualities that one has. Also being who you are and accepting your natural self and being confident about it is more beautiful rather than trying to be like someone else. . What’s the most beautiful thing in the world for you? The most beautiful thing to me in the world is, the love and friendship that I get from the people around me. . What makes a woman beautiful? I think a woman's simplicity, confidence and a good attitude is what makes her beautiful. . What makes a woman beautiful? There are many things like, lack of good thoughts and being "overdone". . Do you feel beautiful? Sometimes I do but there are times which I don't when it comes to the society's way of measuring beauty. . . . .#qfb #travel #beauty #realbeauty #selfesteem #bodyacceptance #socialchange #girls #loveyourself #traveling #travelgram #instatravel #explore #paris #brooklyn #france #photographer #photographerslife #bellezza #bella #donne #paris #france #traveling #travelgram #natgeo #adventure #explore #2instagoodportraitlove #unwomen #asia #srilanka .
Meanwhile, Melotti also posts staged photos on her personal Instagram, which she calls “artsy poetic painted dreams” and “constructed travel fairytales.” She uses these in contrast with Quest for Beauty to show how they don’t reflect her real life, which she describes as “a real mess full of constant uncertainty and struggles of all kinds.”
“I make sure I never trick who follows me into believing I have a perfect life because perfection is dangerous and an enemy of happiness,” Melotti wrote. “Images are powerful tools and if used the wrong way they can have devastating consequences.”