September 05, 2019
“I need to make other women feel less alone,” says Sophie Harris-Taylor, the photographer whose Epidermis series – showing the realities of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema on 20 bare-faced women – goes on display in London on Thursday.
This Powerful Photo Series Celebrates Real Skin In All Its Glory
It is ironic that anyone with a skin condition could feel lonely, given that 60% of Brits will suffer with a skin condition at some point in their lifetime, but in a world of airbrushing, the unfiltered nature of Harris-Taylor’s work is not the norm.
The 31-year-old suffered with acne throughout her teenage years and in her twenties. Although her skin is better now (she went on three courses of the drug Roaccutane and had chemical peels to treat it) she says it is still not perfect. As a result she wants to remain behind the camera instead of in front of it.
Her personal experiences fuelled her desire to show skin as it really is for many women. “It really knocked my self-esteem when I was younger, I was really self-conscious and that’s what made me want to do the project. To make other women feel good and not be ashamed of their skin,” she tells HuffPost UK.Disrupting shame is one of the biggest goals of the project, says Harris-Taylor. She says that even even when she was looking for women to appear in the project using social media, mainly Instagram, she often couldn’t tell whether a woman had a skin condition or not because it was so well covered, either physically with makeup and concealer, or digitally.
“It can be quite a hidden thing,” she explains. “I think so many of us feel the need, and the pressure, to cover it up. But I want to open up that conversation and normalise it a bit more.”
Although we are seeing more body positivity in the media than when Harris-Taylor was younger (and she only had Hollywood actresses in magazines to look up to), she says there is still a way to go. She says she is pleased there are a greater variety of sizes and shapes on display and brands no longer always Photoshop stretch marks off of models bodies (ASOS has been praised for leaving ‘tiger stripes’ on their swimwear and lingerie models).
But in spite of this progress, the models still always had perfect facial skin. “It seems quite strange that we’re still ignoring the fact that every person you see in those pictures was being airbrushed to have their face skin look flawless. It was being retouched to look like plastic,” she says.
In the last few years brands have started showing models with less-than-perfect skin – Glossier, the cult American beauty brand founded by Emily Weiss in 2010, released a Facebook advert in 2018 where a model had a whitehead on her cheek and visible pores – but they are still the exception rather than the rule.
“You just don’t see real skin so you aren’t seeing the textures or pigmentation that so many people have,” says Harris-Taylor.As well as hoping to change the face of advertising (literally) Harris-Taylor says she wants to open up the conversations among people who feel they need to keep quiet through embarrassment or worrying about upsetting each other.
“When I was younger and suffering I didn’t talk about my skin - apart from maybe a 10 minute conversation with your GP or your dermatologist. Other people, your friends, they don’t want to broach it for fear they’ll upset you, but then people themselves don’t bring it up cause they’re embarrassed.”
She also wants society in general to be more understanding of those who have skin conditions and to be educated about the causes. For example, acne is often nothing to do with being unhygienic or not drinking enough water. Harris-Taylor says this ignorance makes people feel worse about their skin because the implication is that they could fix it if they tried harder.
“It’s often quite hard for people to understand what having a skin condition is when they don’t have one themselves,” she says. “[There is] a lack of education as well, people aren’t necessarily aware of what causes skin conditions – just think you need to wash more and eat better. This is not necessarily true.”
This then leads to those with the conditions feeling like they need to cover up whenever they leave the house. “When we see lots of makeup around us, we feel the need to conform to that too,” she says. “I’ve gradually learned to accept my face as it is and leave the house without cover up.”
Although this might seem like a minor vanity thing to those who haven’t had skin problems, Harris-Taylor says it runs so much deeper than that. “People who have skin conditions all feel differently about how much it affects them, but there are people out there who are having their mental health and wellbeing damaged by this,” she says.
And if people are suffering they need to talk. “People need to feel comfortable talking about skin with their mates, to share what they’re going through because there are far deeper implications for people’s mental health.”This then extends to the issue not being taken seriously by medical professionals who write it off as a teenage phase or a vanity problem. “I’ve come across this not being taken seriously,” says Harris-Taylor. “I’ve heard from people that it’s hard to get referred to a specialist dermatologist by their GP.
“But without a referral GPs are not able to prescribe medications - they can’t prescribe that much, or they just might not have a great understanding of the problem because they’re not a dermatologist. I don’t know where we place blame for that – not the NHS cause they do so much but it should be taken more seriously now.”
Harris-Taylor says since the photographs have been made public she’s realised just how much people have been wanting to see more images like this to reflect their lived experience. 
“I continually get messages every day from men and women across the world saying how much the project is helping them,” she says. “I want people to know what what they are going through is normal and they can be beautiful and have a skin condition. I want them to know that.” Epidermis is on display at The Printspace Gallery in London, from 6 -13 September from 9am-7pm.Related... Best Facial Soap For Oily Skin: I Tried Three Cleansing Bars I'm 37. Here's Why I Wouldn't Do My 20s Or 30s Again If You Paid Me.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Politic
Rudy Giuliani screams at Piers Morgan in insane TV interview: 'What happened to you, Rudy?'
Jun 04, 2020
Rudy Giuliani just made an appearance on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan, and to say it went off the rails would be an understatement. President Trump's personal lawyer participated in what turned out to be a completely bonkers interview on the show on Thursday, which started somewhat normally only to get heated as Morgan grilled Giuliani on Trump tweeting that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Giuliani claimed Trump didn't quote a "nutty, horrible racist" on "purpose," but Morgan wasn't buying it, repeatedly calling Giuliani out and asking him why Trump is using "inflammatory language" on Twitter. After many minutes going back and forth on this, the interview finally went fully out of control as Giuliani screamed over Morgan's news coverage and the two traded insults, with Giuliani blasting Morgan as a "liar" and a "failed journalist" after Morgan asked him, "What happened to you, Rudy?" Morgan proceeded to label Giuliani "deranged," "unhinged," and "completely barking mad." As if the whole thing wasn't chaotic enough, they then spent the end of the interview litigating whether Giuliani dropped an F-bomb during the conversation; Giuliani claimed he didn't say live on the air that Morgan "f--ed up," but considering a bleep was added to the Twitter clip posted by Good Morning Britain, the network obviously wasn't convinced. Watch just a small piece of the wild journey below, with more on YouTube.
READ MORE
Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
George Floyd Memorial, Ahmaud Arbery's Case & Meghan's Message - "Nightly Pop" 06/04/2020 | E! News
June 04, 2020
6Qtrajp4VKo
Drew Brees Apologizes for "Insensitive" Remarks on Kneeling Protests | E! News
June 04, 2020
4liQt0gGd3M
Viral Sheriff Explains Walking With George Floyd Protesters | Just The Sip | E! News
June 04, 2020
hzGZrUW8q9E
Who is Julianne Hough dating after Brooks Laich breakup? | Page Six Celebrity News
June 04, 2020
_Feskf0iUqE
Lea Michele apologizes after Samantha Ware says she made her life a ‘living hell’ | Page Six News
June 04, 2020
vfYevxAOePY
Cole Sprouse speaks out about his arrest at LA protest | Page Six Celebrity News
June 03, 2020
U-tVVwrP0AU
Hasan Minhaj, Kumail Nanjiani, Lulu Wang, Jon M. Chu, Ally Maki Join #Represent: Success Stories
May 30, 2020
wuCMpiZ5t6U
'Ramy' Creator Ramy Youssef on Season 2, Working With Mahershala Ali
May 29, 2020
TZk6RXM2OiI
Chris Evans Talks 'Defending Jacob' Season Finale
May 29, 2020
EJkYstFrquo
Black Lives Matter Street Mural Painted Near White House | TMZ
June 05, 2020
RLg9sLuLH_8
Cristiano Ronaldo Models In Underwear With Himself | TMZ
June 04, 2020
vqzTv2BPCQo
Killer Mike Holds Call with Grassroots Leaders to Address Systemic Racism | TMZ
June 04, 2020
05Qk2U0VgNQ
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
08
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Inter Milan
08
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Manchester City
08
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Everton
08
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Betis - Real Madrid
08
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Genoa
07
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Tottenham Hotspur
07
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
07
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Sociedad
07
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Bournemouth
07
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Sevilla
01
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Barcelona
01
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
01
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Wolves
01
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Espanyol - Atletico Madrid
01
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Roma
29
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Watford - Liverpool
29
Feb
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Torino
29
Feb
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Chelsea
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM 5NeCb7JxaRk
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.