These Portraits Show How Beautifully Mesmerizing Freckles Can Be
English photographer Brock Elbank wants to show you just how beautiful those dots that may mark your sun-kissed cheeks can be.
For his latest photo series, aptly titled "#Freckles," Elbank has been photographing people from all over the world who have an amazing array of freckles on their faces and bodies.
The results are stunning.
Elbank, who previously shot an array of bearded men for a London exhibition appropriately titled "Beard," is halfway through this two-year photo project, according to BuzzFeed U.K. So far he has photographed 90 subjects for #Freckles and would like to photograph about 60 more before exhibiting the photographs in 2017. On his Tumblr and Instagram, Elbank, who is shooting this series in London only, has been sharing some of the images he's captured along the way, with subjects hailing from Paris, London, the Netherlands and beyond.
What may be most striking about Elbank's images is just how stunningly diverse the world's freckled population is. His subjects are young, old and of no race in particular.
"They've always fascinated me, as they're so diverse from person to person, and this is what I'm trying to document in this current series," Elbank told Mic. "Human beings really are the most amazing subject matter. We're all so diverse and I'm really loving seeing the range of people that are applying for the series from all over the world."
"No two people's freckles are the same, and that's what draws me in, really," Elbank added.
But he's also come across a few people who have told them about being bullied for the specks of light and dark brown on their bodies and tales of women who have purposely covered their freckles with makeup.
"What I find interesting about individual characters that I have been fortunate enough to photograph is that many have struggled with their freckles since their infancy and either hated them, or grown to live with them or even like them in adulthood," Elbank told BuzzFeed U.K.
Despite the recent popularity of paint-on freckles, this sense of shame or mixed feelings associated with naturally having them is nothing new. Recently, women have come out publicly about how their freckles affected their self-esteem, with writer Jessica Matlin penning an essay titled "Confessions of a Freckle Face" about her decision to remove her freckles entirely.
"But there are also several heavily freckled subjects that have never minded their freckles or suffered any teasing of any kind," Elbank told Mic. "Each week I get emails or messages on Instagram saying how they're embracing the work and appreciating a positive project of something most have loved to hate in their youth."
Due to the photographs' vibrancy and the subjects' often extraordinary exhibition of flecks, there are those who have doubted their authenticity. According to Elbank, none of the portraits are taken with any supplemental UV lights to make these people look like they have freckles when they really don't. But in France, Elbank even participated in an interview where they sent his images to a cosmetic company to verify their authenticity.
Of course, the test came back saying Elbank's portraits were completely authentic.
With many more people still to photograph, Elbank welcomes volunteers to contact him directly if they're interested in getting in front of his lens in London. In the meantime, all we can do is ogle at the diverse beauty of these images and their subjects.