Artist Laura Dodsworth breaks taboos by photographing 100 vaginas

22 February 2019 - 00:00 By Sanet Oberholzer
'Womanhood: The Bare Reality' (Pinter & Martin)
'Womanhood: The Bare Reality' (Pinter & Martin)
Image: Amazon

It is not porn, but it is a book filled with pictures of a 100 vaginas — or vulvas to be exact. Photographer and author Laura Dodsworth has just released a new book in her Bare Reality series called Womanhood.

On her website, Bare Reality, Dodsworth explains the reasoning behind her latest photography project. She says that women grow up with a narrow view of what their vaginas should look like, even though in reality women are extremely diverse — a far cry from images of Barbie dolls and internet porn. 

"Womanhood departs from the ‘ideal vagina’ and presents the gentle un-airbrushed truth, allowing us to understand and celebrate our diversity."

In the trailer for 100 Vaginas, a documentary based on Womanhood, she gives another reason. "This part of ourselves which we're so conditioned to conceal, actually defines so much of our lives as women and our most intimate experiences, pleasurable and painful, shouldn't be treated as taboo but as a testament to our strength," she says.

For this documentary (trailer below), Dodsworth interviewed 18 of the women she had photographed for her book about how their vaginas shaped their lives.

The women featured reveal not only the most intimate aspects of their bodies, but share stories and feelings around motherhood, menstruation, menopause, sex, pain, pleasure, female genital mutilation, orgasms, porn, trauma, gender and how they experience being a woman.

A description of the documentary by Rotten Tomatoes reads, "Their stories are intimate, shocking, moving, powerful and funny."

Womanhood is the third project in the Bare Reality series which includes Manhood, a book filled with photographs of 100 penises, and 100 Women, their Breasts, their Stories.

On her website Dodsworth says Womanhood has been her most potent and transformative work to date. "I feel freer, more in my prime, sexier and more powerful than ever. I’d love Womanhood to do that for other women."

• 'Womanhood' (Pinter & Martin) is available for order on Amazon UK.