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London - A striking photo series of women showing off their underarm hair is challenging the conventional standards of beauty.

London-based photographer Ben Hopper recruited dozens of models and actresses to grow out their body hair for his Natural Beauty series, with the aim of proving that women don’t need to conform to society’s expectations in order to be attractive.

“The whole point is the contrast between fashionable female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair,” the Israeli-born photographer told the Huffington Post. “I expect (the photos) will surprise a lot of people and I guess, in a way, that is one of my intentions.”

In one of the black-and-white photos, designer Alessandra Kurr strikes a pose with one arm bent over her head, revealing the hair underneath.

Hopper explained that standards of beauty have been so ingrained in our consciousness that one of his models even pulled out of the project at the last minute because she was “grossed-out” by her own body hair.

But the photographer says he has no problem with a woman going au naturel – quite the opposite, in fact.

“As I matured as a person and an artist, I realised I liked (armpit hair),” he revealed. “I think it can be a beautiful look.”

The models also appear to be wearing minimal make-up in the stunning portraits, further emphasising their natural beauty.

According to his website, Hopper sees his project as a “type of protest” against the beauty industry.

“Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement. Why is that?” he writes.

“For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal.”

While he hopes to spark a discussion, Hopper adds that he doesn’t want to enforce his personal views on anyone, only to open people’s minds to the many varieties of beauty.

“I don’t want to say that I want women to start growing their armpit hair,” he said.

“I just think that it’s a possibility and people shouldn’t dismiss it.” – Daily Mail