The Skin We’re In took a new turn when Elise began collaborating with Zebedee Management, an inclusive talent agency representing models with disabilities. Through them Elise made a portrait series with amputees, and another about children with Down’s Syndrome. For this shoot, the latest instalment in the project, Zebedee provided models with four rare conditions: Vitiligo, Albinism, Piebaldism and Benign Hypopigmentation. Here, as elsewhere in the project, Elise was keen to photograph her subjects the same way she would any other model. “It’s important that you don’t focus on the difference. That’s already there. So no artifice, no crazy fashion statements, minimal make-up. The image is made by them being who they are.”
Elise is optimistic that “things are changing”. The industry is increasingly open to older models, models of different sizes and skin tones, she says, and we’re seeing high profile campaigns for both designer brands and high street chains that feature models with disabilities. “The problem is we’re so used to looking away,” she adds, recalling a conversation with one of the models in her earlier series, a double amputee, who told her about how it felt when people turned their heads when they saw her in the street. “With these pictures, people can take the time to look and to ask questions. She said to me: you made me feel like I am there. I exist.”
Elise Dumontet has just shot the beautiful Arnelle @MilkLondon for the latest Whistles swimwear collection.
We’re into the natural feeling studio lighting. We’re into the relaxed yet empowered stance. More like this please, dear fashion industry.
Elise Dumontet is exhibiting her incredible ‘Skin We’re In’ series at the prestigious Couvent des Jacobins in Rennes. “An emphatic and audacious photographic project celebrating a wide spectrum of body imperfections and the power of personality that lies within them”
A solo project and exhibition by photographer Elise Dumontet, in partnership with G.F Smith “Skin We’re In” is an emphatic and audacious photographic project celebrating a wide spectrum of body imperfections and the power of personality that lies within them.
Elise, an advertising beauty photographer for the best part of 20 years, is telling a visual story of imperfections. From spots, wrinkles, moles, freckles and stretch marks to amputation scars and limb differences. Imperfections which the beauty & fashion industry, and by extension society, still airbrushes and stigmatises.
Through her personal journey and a collaboration with Zebedee Management, an agency representing models that have either been born with a limb difference or had an amputation, Elise has created a photographic commentary on body acceptance, representation and the un-retouched realness of the human skin.
“I have for a while been trying to step away from the overly retouched images we see in magazines. My work has become more real and more in tune with what women expect to see when using the products I’m trying to sell. They want to see reality. Falling in love with real skin has been the starting point of this piece of work. Not only stop correcting imperfections but making them a real feature of what makes all of us”. – Elise Dumontet
The exhibition showcased approximately 80 photographic works.