Photographer Redefines "American Beauty" In This Magnificently Beautiful Photo Series

Can we get an "Amen?!"

Is there an ideal American beauty? Does that iconic rose petal scene in the film come to mind? It's a compelling argument — a young, skinny, blond woman suggestively lying atop a bed of rose petals, her intimate parts strategically obscured by more red petals. 

But photographer Carey Fruth begs to differ. Drawing inspiration from that memorable scene, Fruth launched an ongoing photo project called "American Beauty."

It features a diverse collection of women lying (mostly) nude on a lush bed of lilacs.

American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography

The images, according to Fruth, are meant to speak about real-life sensuality and femininity. Fruth encouraged her volunteer models to enter the shoot as self-possessed, empowered subjects rather than as sexual objects as the actress in the American Beauty scene is depicted.

It's a photo series that challenges beauty standards in this country by representing women of different shapes, ages and colors — and it's beautiful.

American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography

Fruth told A Plus via email that women today face a barrage of products and services that tell them they aren't desirable.

"The media plays into women's insecurities to to sell them things," she wrote. "They want you to believe that nothing in your life will go right if you don't first look a certain way. But that simply isn't true."

American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography

And lest you think Fruth is perpetuating the obsession with women's appearance by perusing images aimed at the male gaze, she says she sees it as a way to reclaim that power.

American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography

"My models get to choose how sultry they want to be, they get to decide who sees their images," she wrote. "And I think by showing these women that they can be gorgeous bombshells whenever they want gives them a sense of freedom ... That confident woman you once were for a day in my photography studio (and for all eternity in your photos) is always here inside you."

American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography

Fruth said she knows that are some gaps left in her project. She wants more women with body hair, piercings, tattoos and visible disabilities to more inclusively represent the female body

She told A Plus, "we are creating a channel for women to re-envision themselves."

American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography
American Beauty, Carey Fruth Photography

Head over to her website to check out more of her work. 

Cover image via Carey Fruth Photography