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Ayesha Jones, Imperfect Beauty
Post-opPhotography Ayesha Jones

Meet the woman turning her scars into art

An ex-model finds empowerment through her ‘ugly back’ – harnessing her beauty in this intimate series of images

At the age of 13, Ayesha Jones was diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, a disease that causes the spine to curve and twist into an ‘S’ shape. When meeting with her doctor, he told her that she would grow up to be “a pretty girl with an ugly back” if she refused an invasive spinal fusion therapy. She refused treatment, and set out to prove him wrong through embarking on a career as a model, and later a documentary photographer.  

This experience, and the surgery she later undertook at the age of 21 to straighten her spine, has been the inspiration to the Birmingham-based photographer’s series Imperfection. In it, she juxtaposes glossy shots from her modelling days with disposable camera snaps of her scoliosis and treatment to explore ideas of female sexuality, societal roles, imposed ideals and autobiography. “I remember feeling increasingly uneasy with the way women are portrayed in the media. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to say about it, all I knew was something wasn’t right and I wanted to explore it,” explains Jones.

It’s the stark contrast of images that really challenges accepted notions of female beauty and imposed ideals. “Some of the images I have created are quite revealing, intimate and personal. I wanted to show my bare body in a different context, where I’m not posing for a man. Where I’m not censoring my imperfections. I am showing a real version of myself where sex has nothing to do with the reason I’m naked. Sexuality is more than a symmetrical naked female body!”