While portrait photographer Jordan Matter may best be known for his uplifting series Dancers Among Us, a collection of photographs of dancers leaping on city streets, it’s his portraits of over 80 bare-breasted women that will have you talking today. Over the course of six years, Matter asked women of all backgrounds to volunteer in this project, to walk the streets of New York topless, to defy convention and to confront their feelings of shame and inadequacy. (On a side note, did you know that it’s perfectly legal for a woman to go topless in New York?)
What Matter quickly discovered was that after the photo shoots, the women became “unexpectedly euphoric,” leaving Matter to question exactly what he had discovered. In the book, aptly titled Uncovered, you’ll find many stories next to the portraits that reveal each woman’s own journey towards self-acceptance. In essence, Uncovered celebrates the controversial human body, it honors women’s individuality, their similarities as well as their differences.
As one reader on Amazon so perfectly stated about the book, “Like a good movie, ‘Uncovered’ brought out understanding and emotion that welled up from deep within. I could relate to many women in the book… and felt compassion for those whose experience I did not know. Every woman who volunteered for this project was beautiful… every body, every breast, every spoken word was a poignant reality of how women look, think, and feel. Matter is an exceptional photographer to capture the essence of all women in his shots. I find myself wanting to share this book with everyone I know. I believe there needs to be a shift in what we teach our children, what we relay to others about themselves and their bodies… This book is positive in every way and filled with much wisdom.
“I admire the volunteers who stepped forward to be photographed and express their personal thoughts and views. I commend Jordan Matter for his exemplary work. ‘Uncovered’ will proudly be displayed in our home and hopefully, it will prompt interesting and positive conversation amongst family and friends.”
Now, courtesy of photographer Jordan Matter himself, here are some of the most compelling images from his book.