Seattle-based photographer Ashley Armitage is portraying femininity with a girl’s point of view. Girls’ bodies are not seen with vanity or like a man’s fantasy anymore, but they are explored in all their shades. Pastel colours, bubblegums, hairy bikini lines, tampons and braces are all captured in soft focus by this 21 year old who wants to represent people just the way they are, with all the balanced imperfections everyone has. She only takes photos of her friends and she doesn’t work with professional models, but it’s pretty clear why: she is looking for real bodies to take us deep inside an authentic girl-world, leaving out everything that’s stereotyped and manipulated by the media.
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Ashley, tell us about your approach to the female body through photography. What drew into this topic?
I want to take pictures of all people in order to normalize all body types and break down the beauty standard. Marginalized groups of people who are outside of the beauty standard are underrepresented or misrepresented, and instead of feeding into this toxicity, I want to help dismantle it. I think I've always leaned towards shooting a wide representation of people, just because it comes naturally, since I mostly shoot my own friends. Of course, I'm always learning and always trying to grow to be more representative of more people.
What’s the message you would like these photos and bodies to convey?
That all bodies are beautiful bodies and that softness and intimacy are also strength and not inherently female traits.
Tell us about the atmosphere you create while you are shooting. What gives you inspiration during the process?
My friends with give me constant inspiration. When we’re all working together it’s like we’re hanging out and collaborating. It’s fun to get giddy and excited together when we know a shoot is coming together seamlessly.
"The censorship of a photo that shows a natural bikini line is like saying a woman's natural body is obscene, abnormal, and unacceptable. It's like saying that in order to be decent and acceptable, we must shave."
You’re used to working with people you already know, or friends of friends. Have you ever worked with professional models?
I’ve never worked with professional models. It’s always just been my friends. I’m not sure what it would be like. I’m sure it’d be fun as long as no one takes it too seriously.
Let’s talk about the fashion side. In this super cozy situations how do you play with the styling? Are they all clothes you choose or do you shoot with what the girls are randomly wearing that day?
It’s a bit of both. Typically I’ll have an idea in my mind of how I want to style a shoot, and I’ll send my friends inspiration ideas for clothing and just have them bring their own. Then, on set, we combine all of our clothes together to come up with the best outfits. Lately for the first time ever, I’ve actually been working with my friend Claire Joko-Fujimoto for styling. I give her my ideas and direction and then she runs with it and puts together the most amazing styling concepts. 
You have launched an online gallery, Girls by Girls. Tell us about this project, looks really interesting. How do you chose the artists to be featured?
Girls by Girls is a gallery I created to showcase the work of underrepresented, marginalized and emerging artists. In a male dominated art world, I think it’s important for artists on the fringe to be showcased in the spotlight. I choose artists based on who they are and what kind of work they're making. I choose people if I think they are representing a point of view that is ignored or showcasing models who are invisible in society's white beauty standard.
How do your followers react to your photos? Have you ever dealt with haters?
I honestly don’t usually get judgemental comments anymore. There was a time when I posted a photo of my friends hairy underwear line and that sort of opened up the floodgates for internet trolls. But nowadays I’d say my instagram followers are mostly supporting and loving. I think my instagram is a safe space.​
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