This article contains media that the editors have flagged as NSFW.
The best creative projects will leave a permanent impact on someone, whether that's the photographer, subject, or viewer. The best projects will move the world. Renowned sex and relationship expert Layla Martin set out to help women feel more comfortable in their own skin by showing them and their partners pictures of their genitalia, and the results are remarkably powerful and moving.
Martin describes the project as an attempt to capture the difference between how a woman and her partner view her body. There is certainly no shortage of videos and photo shoots that have the end goal of making people feel better about their bodies, but targeting a woman's vulva (colloquially referred to as the "vagina" by pretty much everyone) is a bit more of an unorthodox choice. But it shouldn't be, as it's a pervasive issue among women that's been swept under the rug. It's uncomfortable enough for most people to just say any number of words used to describe human sex organs, let alone have meaningful discussions about them. The fact of the matter is that over 70 percent of women are uncomfortable with at least some aspect their external sex, and even 50 percent of women have no idea what a "normal" vagina looks like. Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, and trying to reverse these statistics is a very noble cause.
The photo shoot itself is pretty straightforward: a ring flash, a camera, and a willing participant are all it takes to change lives. Aside from the intense and important subject matter, it's important to remember as a photographer and as a creative that the effectiveness of your work is measured by how it makes people feel. It's not about how many megapixels your camera has, how big your aperture gets, how few clothes your subject is wearing. Those are all merely tools and incomplete building blocks. Without a fully realized vision, you're left with merely a hollow shell regardless of how pretty that shell is.