Stunning photos of Malaysian people show the beauty of dark skin

With skin lightening creams such as Fair & Lovely being widespread in South Asia, many have spoken out against colourism – the appreciation of lighter skin.

To counteract preconceptions of beauty, photographers Daniel Adams and Catherhea are celebrating dark skin.

The duo teamed up to organise a stunning photoshoot celebrating ‘natural beauty’ in Malaysia.

They enlisted the help of Malaysians from all walks of life; able-bodied, disabled, queer, straight, religious, Afro-Asian, draping them in striking blue sarees and the like.

The project, entitled Dark Skin Is, ‘aims to showcase the beauty, power, and diversity amongst dark-skinned people,’ the photographers told

Daniel, 23, and Cat, 29, have different experiences within the photography industry but came together to create the four-month-long project.

Cat, who specialises in shooting darker-skinned individuals, said the stories told by the Afro-Asian community stayed with her.

‘Malaysians, in general, have love and respect for each other’s cultural differences’ said Daniel.

‘However, beauty ideals in Malaysia remain conventional and largely whitewashed, especially in industries concerning appearances such as beauty, retail and fashion.

‘Light-skinned and Caucasian talents are usually top choices for a lot of brands.

‘We’re hoping this series encourages Malaysians to see and appreciate the natural beauty in dark skin, and possibly open up an avenue for dark-skinned folks to nurture a deeper sense of self-love that will empower them to move beyond the trajectory they’ve always known.’

During the project, many of the models didn’t know each other but by the end had realised they share many similar stories and left with new friends.

Each person was styled differently to reflect their background. One style was inspired by Malaysian kampung styles, traditional Indian dressing as well as tribal African fabric tying techniques.

It took three stylists, Teiaajman, Hanizah Shahul Hamid, and Afiierohim, to bring the looks together.

They also each held a yellow flower.

Daniel and Cat hope this shoot will give Malaysians the representation they deserve and hope they can learn to love their difference whether they are able or disabled, big or small, short or tall.

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