Laid bare: nude photoshoot rallies support for Russian detained feminist illustrator Yulia Tsvetkova

3 July 2020

London-based Russian photographer Emmie America has published a photo shoot in support of feminist illustrator Yulia Tsvetkova, who faces trial in Russia for “producing pornographic materials” and spreading “homosexual propaganda” after posting cartoons on her social media pages.

The ongoing project includes over 50 images of women, photographed remotely. It represents America’s contribution to an Instagram flashmob, where feminist and LGBTQ activists have posted non-sexualised nudes of themselves to raise awareness about Tsvetkova’s case.

Tsvetkova was arrested and fined in November 2019 after publishing cartoons she had made of naked women with captions such as “Real women have body fat — and that’s normal”. On 9 June, prosecutors confirmed that Tsvetkova would stand trial for the offence, sparking protests and online outrage. If found guilty, she faces six years imprisonment.

"Real women have hair on their bodies. That's normal" Image: Yulia Tsvetkova

“I wanted to help those who wanted to participate [in the flashmob] but didn’t know how [to take their picture], or didn’t feel comfortable taking their own photo. So I posted a story saying that I will do remote shoots for anyone who wants to support Yulia [Tsvetkova],” America told The Calvert Journal.

“As artists, women, and human beings, we have to unite,” she added. “What is going on in Russia right now is devastating. Case after case, they are arresting young activists to freak us out and scare us off. In moments like this, the most powerful thing we can do is to unite and stand up together.”

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