Áslaug Sif, known as Ace, is an Icelandic photographer and writer whose work focuses on the female body and the female experience as an every changing landscape of emotions, memories and power. Alongside her solo projects, she is also the co-founder of @unprettyzine based in London. Ace's latest series of photographs titled 'My Beautiful Friends' sparked our Sassy interest as images shines a spotlight on the female form in a humanising manner. We asked Ace to share more of her ideas with us.
"My Beautiful Friends PART I is an angry manifesto made up of emotions concerning the ownership of the female body. How it is objectified and how by that objectification it becomes public property, therefore open to discussion and most of all criticism. I wanted it to be angry, black and white, I wanted to push away those who think the female body is somehow not a very personal thing.
I wanted it to be angry, black and white, I wanted to push away those who think the female body is some how not a very personal thing.
The core of the project is reclaiming the gaze and ownership of the female body. Questioning the power struggle between the one that watches and the one that’s being watched. Images of women throughout history have mostly been documented by men, through their eyes, with their hands and ideas.
What saved my sanity was seeing women naked in the showers before going swimming in Reykjavík, it was seeing my friends´ bodies as they trusted me with their insecurities.
Growing up I was bombarded with images of women's bodies; they taught me how I was supposed to look, they taught me what my flaws were and then they give me endless tips on how to hide them. What saved my sanity was seeing women naked in the showers before going swimming in Reykjavík, it was seeing my friends´ bodies as they trusted me with their insecurities.
By sharing this project I hope that girls and women, who like me have struggled with their bodies, will find some relief, some comfort in knowing that we as women define our bodies: no one else.
The project has five parts so far. Each part is made up of nine photographs and a manifesto for each part. I write the manifesto first to set my intentions with each shoot. Then I sit down with my models and I explain why I started this, I read them the manifesto, I hear their thoughts on what this means to them. Then I offer to take off as many clothes as they have unclothed if they like. By doing all of this I want to eliminate as much of the power struggle as I can. I don't want to ask my models to do anything I wouldn't do straight away, next to them, side by side."
Written by Ace
While you're here, check this link to Unpretty Zine, cofounded by Ace and supporting the telling of truthfully honest, unashamed stories in definitively, creative ways.