As a girl and a feminist I’ve always been interested in women’s stories. My last art project was called Union’ and I photographed girls in their wedding dresses in their houses (sometimes many years after the wedding day) in order to contrast the fairy tale of the wedding day epitomised by the dress with the domestic reality of marriage. I realised I wanted a more intimate window into women’s lives. Over the years many different rationales crystallised and I felt compelled to undertake this project, despite the fact that it felt rather left-field in my experience. I have grown up surrounded by images of objectified women in the media. I’m fascinated by how we feel personally about our bodies compared to how they’re signified by the media for consumption. The representation of women appears so two dimensional and boxed in to me. I find it an uncomfortable feeling. We are more than that. We don’t all conform to a homogenous slim ideal of attractiveness, and our lives and experiences are rich and varied. Media portrayal would have me believe I should be a passive Barbie doll so that you can be happy, fulfilled, womanly. During the course of the job I realised that I was researching what this means to be a girl. Breasts are interesting in themselves, but they’re also drivers for discussing intimate aspects of women’s lives: growing up, sexuality, relationships, breastfeeding, health, cancer, body image, eating disorders media and ageing, and also more.

I thought about the job for a year before I started – I guess I am a slow burner ! It took a further two years to get to this stage. Undertaking such an extensive job and doing it properly does take time.
How did you go about locating participants, and was it hard? Were girls enthusiastic to participate?
It took me about per year to locate all the women. I had a matrix’ of different types of girls I desired to locate, generally representing women in the UK where I live. Different ethnicities, sexualities, places, shapes and sizes, life experiences and careers. Some girls were happy to take part, but not everyone concurred. I just needed girls to participate if they were really comfortable. It’s fairly something in our culture to bare your breasts, as well as personal narratives about them. I have done a lot of asking around, and after on some social media call-outs. The girls who had taken part were brilliant about evangelising for me. I had to attend a lap dancing club to ask lap dancers to take part. Finding a nun took a really long time. Finally I gave up on finding a willing Catholic nun, but couldn’t be happier that I found a Buddhist nun to take part. I love her interview.
I am interested if the Catholic nuns said it went against their religious beliefs?

Catholic nuns didn’t describe their reasons for not taking part, they just said No’. I wish I understood!
I am sure the anonymity part helped? Is that why you determined to allow it to be anonymous? And I feel like the revealing of the breasts part would not be the challenging thing so much as the vulnerability and closeness of sharing one’s soul and story. Nevertheless, many do regard their breasts as a “private component.” Did you find that to be accurate?
Absolutely, baring your soul can feel more exposing than baring your breasts. It was important that contribution would be anonymous so that girls would feel comfortable and safe doing both. Some women had no qualms at all about getting their tops off before the camera. At the other end of the spectrum, one woman was very worried because who had ever seen her breasts was her husband.
What were some of the reasons, or most common reason, these women chose to participate? Did they feel the must be heard, to get their stories outside? Was it cathartic for them? think we like telling stories and we like hearing other people’s narratives. It is granny beach photos . I felt a two way healing procedure during some of the interviews.
Some of the women who took part did have specific reasons for taking part, for example talking about their encounter breastfeeding, or how they felt about the representation of girls in the media, or their body image, or about why they chose to have surgery, or about their experience of cancer. One girl who had had breast cancer said this: ‘I was eager to participate in this undertaking. as soon as I saw it, my immediate thought was, “it’ll be one sided, there’ll be all those perfect boobs, I desire these mangled things to be in there.” I needed there to be breasts with scars on.’ Other girls just liked the sound of the notion after I clarified it and did not have special messages or goals, they were simply open minded to the procedure.
We seem to live in a society that is obsessed with breasts. They are everywhere and used to sell anything and everything. And in the UK, individuals appear to be much less strict about showing nipples. (You never see lady nipples in public in America unless they’re on a girl.) But when girls attempt to breastfeed in public or be topfree like men, they are met with hostility and harassment. What do you make of that?