Documentary Photographer Yana Binaev Celebrates Diverse Beauty In Her New Project ‘No Bleach For Me’

Our society ingrains in our minds so many rules and judgments to live by, many of them affect so many social groups negatively and creates a heavy pressure on changing so many of the naturally given things to us, like our hair, skin and so much more.

‘No Bleach For Me’ is a Documentary Photography Project focusing on Brown and Black beauty. It comes from a place of love and admiration to diversity and the passion towards race and gender equality. Among her previously published projects – ‘My Eyes See Diversity’ which was also published in Made in Shoreditch Magazine and is aimed at raising awareness towards diversity and her ‘Women of Power Project’, documenting the journeys of strong and ambitious women.

Yana shares about the project: “The idea rose up in my mind on a Summer night in August 2019, at a film screening event where films made by African filmmakers, focusing on bleaching were showcased. I felt a deep frustration observing that night how much pain people went through because of a terrible norm created in our society, along with other hair and skin related issues. I was always aware of that problem and was partly affected by it myself and had experiences when I was affected by “otherness”  but not to the extent many brown and black people go through it. ’No Bleach For Me’ tackles a deep social problem which stands in the programming of young girls of all ages and not only, of course also the society we live in as a whole. It challenges the false necessity for darker skin women to bleach their skin in order to be pretty and accepted by society, because with diversity, that is when we are most surrounded by beauty. The project was initially created with the aim to document 100 women, be published and exhibited. Due to the world entering a lock-down, the process was stopped and after some thoughts, I didn’t want to delay it much longer and as it felt right for me, I decided to close the project on 48 participants and share it with the world. I had a one on one meeting with each one of the stunning in and out women whose portraits are a part of this project. I had the amazing opportunity to meet 48 co-minders, tribe sisters and beautiful on the in and out women and hear their stories”.

The first goal of the project is to reach the eyes of as many as possible beautiful brown and black women and remind them that the agenda presented by the world about beauty standards and the huge pressure so many communities have on bleaching is fake and destructive. It is about creating a representation that celebrates all skin tones just as they are.  Apart from that, it is about opening a space for a conversation and for creating change together.

For more about the project and the author and to view the full collection of the portraits visit the project page:

Follow on Instagram: @nobleachforme | @yanabinaev