[NSFW] Adelythe Wilson’s Raw Portraits Materialize an Unfiltered View of Women

Much of Wilson's work centers around issues of femininity and identity.

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Apr 10 2017, 4:26pm

Lead image: Girls Are Always Classy, Models: Marion & Mathilde Mauget. All photos courtesy of the artist.

A high school elective arts course was the place where French photographer Adelythe Wilson first found her love for images. Neither drawn to painting nor sketching, however, Wilson chose to fulfill her requirements by taking photographs, and from that point forward her passion blossomed. Finding mentors in her desired field and learning by proxy, Wilson developed her style and technological know how without a formal education. Drawing inspiration from the absurdity she sees in societal norms, much of her work centers around issues of female identity. "I really don't like the way women are usually portrayed because it's like very feminine, sexualized, and sensual," Wilson tells Creators. "I understand a lot of people like that. But I really don't feel like it's talking to me, I'm not that feminine, I don't wear makeup, clothes are clothes, whatever. I want to portray women in a raw manner, without those filters on." 

Role Models. Model: Violette Décembre.

The 22-year-old Wilson removes these filters not by completely subverting traditional portrayals of women, but by playing around with the format a bit. A good example of this is her Girls Are Always Classy series, where she poses models in positions we would normally deem as debaucherous or unbecoming, like puking after a big night out, and replaces the bodily fluids with roses, a traditional symbol of femininity. "We don't often see girls puking. And when we do we have to see it as a bad woman; she doesn't know how to live, and she's going to be raped because she's wasted. So I kind of make it like Hey, it's fine. It's not puke, it's flowers because girls, they love flowers," she explains. While Wilson likes to approach her projects with a certain lightheartedness, the sentiment behind them is one with a clearly intended purpose. By depicting women as three-dimensional beings with bad posture, questionable eating habits, and normal bodily functions, she hopes to relieve some of the pressure for women to exist as mannequins. By seeing their images, not just the airbrushed lace-clad versions, reflected back to them Wilson believes women will feel more entitled to be who they truly are.

Bound Together. Models: Angèle & Violette Décembre. 

While female empowerment plays a big role in her work, it's not the only aspect of society upon which she intends to shed light. Wilson hopes all her images inspire a certain degree of existential inquiry, first inciting amusement, then reaching something deeper and providing an opportunity for the viewer to consider seeing the world in a new way. "I see so many fake people around me. I am one of them too actually, I wear a mask, everybody wears a mask. I think the world would be so much better if everyone said, Yeah, I'm not perfect, you're not either, and I'm not going to judge you," she explains. By portraying the darkness she sees in the world and tackling issues of self-esteem, misogyny, and depression, she hopes to spark discussion about these often taboo topics. 

Causticus. Model: Tallulah Jane Humphrey.

Going forward, Wilson is working on publishing her first book, which will feature 100 women with bad postures. She won't be including her model's faces in this series, instead relying on the images' backgrounds to provide context for the women's lives. With this project she will be defiantly slouching towards equality at the turn of each page, carefully curving spines and jutting out elbows to find an all-but-forgotten elegance.

Marche ou Crève (Walk or Die). Model: Johnny Jane.

Donations for the crowdfunding of Adelythe Wilson's forthcoming book can be made here. And more of her work can be found on her website here.

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