Underneath We Are Women is a project by Australian photographer Amy D. Herrmann that aims to show the incredible diversity of women's bodies — and souls.
Each model is asked to strip down to her underwear and tell her story, including one adjective she'd use to describe herself underneath it all.
Herrmann said that last year, she came across a sketch about the project that she'd made years earlier, and decided to finally go for it.
"I had just had my second daughter at the time and thought how powerful this project would be for my kids — a project that showed true diversity through untouched and natural photographs," she told BuzzFeed.
And although Herrmann's models — including mothers and moms-to-be, women with disabilities, trans women, and survivors of illness — have all been incredibly different, there tends to be a common thread on shoot day.
"The most surprising thing about this project is the change that happens when these women are photographed," said Herrmann. "They come into the studio extremely self-conscious...but during the shoot, there is always a moment when I see them let go."
"It's a beautiful thing to see a woman who has been so unhappy in her skin for so long completely let her guard down, even just for a couple of minutes."
"There's such joy in that, and I'm lucky that women trust me enough to capture that vulnerable side of them."
One of Herrmann's favorite parts of the process is reviewing the shots with her models after their shoot.
"They start by saying things like, 'Oh, that one is pretty,' or 'No, I don't like my tummy in that one,'" she told BuzzFeed, "but then we get to the images where they have really let go, and their personality truly shines."
"That's when they start to use completely different language about themselves, and start looking at themselves as a complete person."
"They say things like, 'Wow, I am fierce in that shot!' It's wonderful seeing that shift in their attitude toward their bodies and themselves."
"I hope this project will empower people," Herrmann, who is running a Kickstarter to turn the project into a book, told BuzzFeed. "I hope that it will shed some light on the types of bodies and stories we don't see or hear about in the media."
"I wish there was a project like this around when I was younger; if there was, perhaps women wouldn't feel the need to be involved in mine, just to gain their lives back after years of self-depreciation."
"I wish this project didn't need to exist at all," Herrmann said. "But it does, and it is important."