For the relaunch of IQ4 Camera Systems, we collaborated with photographer Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk on a personal project she had been thinking of for almost two years. This is the story of these striking images, and how they came to be.
“I think everyone is confronted daily with the absurd pressure to fit within a societally-expected standard, and asks themselves if they are good enough as they are. We forget that being satisfied with who you are and finding your passion are much more important in this life than an absurd societal image of the ideal.”
“My definition of beauty is not the judgment by skin – the outside package – but the beauty of a person, with all of their talents big or small. Beauty is the unique way of creating your standards, and most importantly, the standard of who you want to be, instead of what the world expects you to be. Letting go of the pressure of what the world expects, instead of chasing unrealistic standards, is way more loving to yourself.”
About the project
“I am surrounded by teenagers (and adults) who are so obsessed with their looks and worry if they fit in. This huge pressure starts at a very young age, where they are always under pressure from media to look a specific way or become a specific person – and what exactly should that ideal person be?! Often, the youth forget that everyone is unique – by their own talents, their passion, and their unique being. That is how I conceptualized this project.”
“The series starts in a confusing situation – the bathtub, the moss… on one hand beautiful, but on the other cold and lonely. It symbolizes the feeling that many of us struggle with once in a while, and which some people struggle with constantly.”
“When lying in total loneliness, there’s a small white flower in the corner that symbolizes the beauty within everybody that is within reach, but we are sometimes blinded and not able to see that beauty. As the story progresses, you can feel the beauty and the struggle within.”
“The image with all the eyes symbolizes all the people who are constantly watching, staring and judging . It takes enormous strength for people to be accepted when the standards are set so high.”
“Further on in the story, the discovery and acceptance of real beauty appears. The beauty of being who you are. The awareness of being unique and special, because you are your own unique you and of being proud of that.”
About Melanie Gaydos
Melanie is a model with a genetic disorder called ectodermal dysplasia. Despite the stigmatisation, Melanie has pushed forward with her passion. Her defiant attitude towards those who are unaccepting her non-conventional look is a big part of her success story. It is with her talent, determination and grit that she has become a successful model.
“I was mesmerized by her beauty when I saw her for the first time. For me, she was the perfect ambassador for showing beauty when you do not fit in the expected standards.”