German photographer Silvana Denker wants to show that all bodies are beautiful
Credit: Silvana Denker

Women and men are taking to the streets of Germany in their underwear in the name of greater body acceptance.

It’s all part of the #BodyLove campaign, which photographer and plus-size model Silvana Denker says she created to show that size doesn’t matter.

“I want to show the diversity of the human body,” she tells PEOPLE. “We are all different and there’s not the ONE perfect body like the media often shows us.

“I show men and women the way they are – with bellies, bumps, stretchmarks after giving birth – and they love themselves and everybody else should too.”

Denker, 31, came up with the idea after she was sick of retouching photographs for a magazine editorial, and wanted to show people as they really are.

“I wanted to do something to reach as many people as possible and so the idea of taking pictures in pedestrian areas was born. I also stopped retouching the photos because I want to show the reality, and show that nobody’s perfect – the imperfections make us special.”

Going from city to city all over Germany, Denker posted an open casting call on Facebook asking for regular people – not professional models – who wanted to take part.

“The women and men I worked with were very excited, especially right before the shoot,” Denker recalls. “Some of them had to bring themselves to take off their clothes and show their bodies in public. And not to forget that it’s December and it’s not that warm in Germany!”

“Right after the shoot all participants were so happy and proud to be a part of this project and to help others to bolster up.”

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She’s since done photoshoots in five cities – Siegen, Hamburg, Koblenz, Cologne and Berlin – and reactions from people on the street have been positive everywhere.

“Most of the people first were surprised when seeing eight women taking off their clothes,” Denker explains. “And I was surprised that almost all reactions have been very positive, with many women asked me why I do this and congratulating me for this campaign.”

Denker says she isn’t trying to make any money off of the campaign, and is simply crowdfunding to cover the costs of doing the shoots. For the Berlin shoot, she was able to get German lingerie brand SugarShape to donate the matching underwear thanks to her connections as a plus-size model, and they even offered to pay for her travel costs.

Denker is currently trying to get the money together to shoot in Munich and two other German cities, but her goal is to take it abroad.

“My big dream is to make it an international campaign, with women and men of different ethnic groups, sizes, and shapes all around the world. How great would it be to see eight awesome women walking along Times Square?”