Amelia Allen is a fashion, portrait and documentary photographer. She has had work published in magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times and Harpers Bazaar.
Amelia captured some great photos of the World Naked Bike Ride which were included in her book and exhibition NAKED BRITAIN.
We invited her to join the team as the official photographer for WNBR.London. Take a look at some of her work in the gallery.
Amelia Allen is a fashion, portrait and documentary photographer. She has been photographing shows, clothes, models, celebrities and London Fashion Week every season since she was eighteen. Her developing interest in reportage photography comes from her enjoyment of travelling, meeting various people and observing them in their everyday life.
Her first photo book Naked Britain was published in November 2017. The book is a sociological documentary on British Naturism which she spent 2 years shooting. It is a look at modern day attitudes to body image and complete opposite view of nudity that we usually see in the media and fashion industry. She has recently had two solo exhibitions one at Herrick Gallery in Mayfair, London and another at Gallery Close in Edinburgh.
Naked Britain is currently stocked in Waterstones, The Photographer’s Gallery, Foyles and several other art bookshops throughout Europe and the US.
The book received international press including a TV interview on BBC World News and newspaper interviews in The Telegraph, The Times and The Daily Mail to name a few.
Below are some words from Amelia on creating this body of work.
“Being a fashion photographer, means that I have spent the majority of my career photographing conventionally beautiful and aesthetically pleasing models who are used to display clothes. Everything surrounding this is, of course, to do with body image and having to look a certain way to fit a specific societal construct of what is seen as beautiful. Growing up today, through such a politically dynamic time, where women’s rights are a huge issue, I wanted to create a project that took liberation and freedom of body image into the limelight. I wanted to photograph a community that represented equality in body image, appearance, sexuality and gender.
I wanted to step away from the conventionality and pressures that surround a typical fashion shoot and also from social media and the retouching and considerable behind the scenes efforts to create the ‘perfect’ photograph. I badly wanted to move away from the prevailing assumptions that society leads us to believe when we think of a naked body, and photograph something that goes against this, which, is how I discovered naturism. As the project progressed I was fascinated by the fact that one week I was shooting London fashion week runway shows, and just twenty miles away was an entirely naked community, lounging in their own freedom of self love, liberation and body acceptance. Fashion is used as self expression and I wanted to photograph this juxtaposition of people expressing themselves by using their raw materials, their naked bodies as opposed to the conventional use of clothes for self expression.
I was captivated by naturism and what it really means to be a naturist and it was an incredible experience to be welcomed so warmly into another part of society which most people in Britain have no idea exists. Every time I walked out of the naturist clubs, I was filled with inspiration, opened up to a completely different world where body image, no matter what size, is accepted! I quickly started to recognize that fashion and clothes are all labels; a quick easy way for people to judge you, give you a status, a place in society (which of course, we are all accountable for) but, with naturism, you could literally be a prince or a pauper and nobody would know because when you are naked, nobody knows who you are in society and for once, you are equal to everyone around you.
I felt like the human body had been sexualised and actually most of the time our reproductive organs are not being used so why is being naked sexy or sexualising oneself? I wanted to take the sexuality out of the human body and have a book that celebrated the diversity and wide spread of different body types and ages in the naturist community that wasn’t art directed or cast by a model agent.
I felt that as a female British photographer, having grown up here the attitude towards nudity was that it was distasteful or unsightly unless it is for sexual reasons/ pleasure/ editorial. There was a double standard. It was OK to see a woman with perfectly round perky breasts on the side of phone box or on Instagram but a mother breast feeding in a café was offensive. I decided to photograph the most British scenarios like the pub, tennis, water park, bike rides, discos, festivals, museums and people doing everyday tasks without clothes on. All stereotypical every day tasks/ outings but without any clothes on makes you do a double take and see the image and subject differently.
The whole book is un-retouched and shows the human body for what it is, stretch marks and all. What I liked about the naturist community was that in this day and age there are still 10,000 members of a club that are in a supportive community. Naked, they feel liberated and free despite the pressures of society, social media and advertising. I felt a desperate urge to photograph another side of society; I wanted to experience something away from fashion, but something still very much focusing on the beauty of the human body; and naturism was perfect for this.”