A longtime fan of artist + photographer Marilyn Minter‘s work, imagine my excitement when I came across her new book ‘Plush’, celebrating female pubic hair. Of course, in the hands of such a genius, Minter’s up-close ‘pubic hair portraits’ look anything but tasteless. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is a cause for celebration with artists like Petra Collins + her Instagram controversy, where her account was shut down after she posted a photo of herself wearing a bikini with pubic hair poking out + her scandalous American Apparel t-shirt that featured her line drawing of a menstruating vagina being masturbated. In fact, a lot of her work addresses Western culture’s distorted perception of female beauty.
Named after a 19th Century term for a ‘shaggy carpet’, Minter told Hunger magazine how Fabiola, the Director of Fulton Ryder Press (artist Richard Prince’s publishing house) when it caught up with the artist during her book launch + signing party at the recent Art Basel Miami. Inspired by the lack of pubic hair imagery in public discourse, Minter wanted to put images out there that don’t really exist at all. ’The glamour industry has created such distortion in young girls. I know young girls who are lazering all the hair off their bodies! And for pubic hair to look disgusting to young boys, that’s not healthy. I wanted to make beautiful images of pubic hair so that women have more choices,’ the artist told Hunger.
The idea came about a few years ago while working with Neville Wakefield, Playboy’s Creative Director of Special Projects, having produced most of the images, but nothing came of it in the end until she met up with Fabiola with the rest falling into place. Minter told Hunger, ‘It was shot over about six months. We used six or seven models + it was a huge search to find them. In fact we had to wait for some of the girls to grow their hair out! We tried to get all different races + colours. I didn’t know that Asian pubic hair is straight! There was no photoshopping on the final images.’
Hopefully, such positive projects will continue to promote a healthier body image for today’s woman especially teens.