"I wanted to show that imperfections are not who they are, but they are part of their story," photographer Neely Ker-Fox tells PEOPLE

By Gabrielle Olya
Updated June 10, 2015 04:50 PM
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Neely Ker-Fox

Photographer Neely Ker-Fox wants women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds to feel beautiful, and she’s setting out to do that through her “Perfect Imperfections” photo series.

Inspired by postpartum projects started by January Harshe and Jade Beall, Ker-Fox, 30, decided to take that idea and run with it, expanding to include women and mothers from all walks of life.

“Even though a lot of them were mothers, some of them were mothers through adoption, and a lot of them were very happy with their bodies,” Ker-Fox tells PEOPLE of what makes her project unique. “I wanted to represent everybody. I didn’t want there to be anybody that saw this project and felt left out.”

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The first installment of her photo series features a 4-year-old with spina bifida, a breastfeeding mom, a bottle-feeding mom, and a woman with postpartum depression – all with unique bodies and physical and emotional “imperfections.”

Rather than highlight these women’s flaws, Ker-Fox attempted to capture their whole essences.

“You didn’t see their imperfections,” says the Georgia-based mother-of-two, who has shot 16 women for the first series of photos, and has plans to shoot 10 more – including a 14-year-old with deformities stemming from a rare brain tumor and a woman about to undergo a mastectomy. “You see them for what they are – beautiful.”

Ker-Fox hoped that the experience of being photographed was a self-esteem building experience for all involved.

“I wanted them to feel that they are perfect and beautiful the way they are,” she says. “I wanted to show that imperfections are not who they are, but they are part of their story. I wanted them to be there and bare their souls emotionally and physically, and let that be a healing process.”