Black women and our bodies are often dissected and on display, but rarely do we see our bodies — no matter the shape — celebrated for their strength and beauty.

Enter the Black Venus Project, a blog and now book project by Eastern European-born, North Carolina-based photog Maxim Vakhovskiy. While Vakhovskiy photographs a variety of subjects, he is particularly interested in capturing what he calls “the Black Venuses of the World.”

Although most of the images in the Black Venus Project are women in the nude, they are all so strikingly beautiful you can’t help but admire them.


One of our favorite blogs, IAMtheNUBlack will be interviewing Vakhovskiy about his work and why he chose to focus on black women. Gabrielle Smith, the blog’s owner, is accepting questions from black women about Vakhovskiy’s Black Venus Project, so if you’d like to ask him a question visit IAmtheNuBlack.

To read more about the Black Venus Project and see more of Vakhovskiy’s images, visit his tumblr page.

What do you think of the Black Venus Project? 

*Photos via Maxim Vakhovskiy

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  • Sade

    I am another one of maxim’s models. He has been nothing but professional and I am honored to have been a part of this project. Some of you need to stop over-thinking because everyone does NOT have a secret motive because they like black women. I could understand the criticism if he were taking video girl type photos, but these are nothing of the sort. Please actually look at his website and his tumblr page. He captures us in such an artistic and respectable manner. There were no ill intentions for this project.

    To Minna: These were NOT meant to be “sexy” photos. These were meant to showcase everyday black women from all over the world in a natural state. With all of the trashy images of black women on television and magazines, why are we giving this man a hard time?

  • LLR

    There are other black photographers who are as good and have a great collection of everyday black nudes. Why are they not on Clutch?

    • Chrissy

      Do you have the names of those black photographers? I would like to look them up

  • Beauty beyond words. It opens your eyes to a different perspective of beauty and confidence. It’s teaches women, especially black women about loving our bodies, the curves, the scars and the imperfections — What an awesome project


  • MandumeYaNdemufayoPatriot

    Just another white man fetishizing black women, nothing new under the sun. Let’s not be naïve here, everybody knows that the black woman is the most under-represented woman in media of all time, so I understand the need to get validated, but why are everybody so obsessed about being validated by someone who isn’t a part of your own community (i.e non-black people) ? Why are you letting this man get rich off of your bodies? I see the same thing with photographers in Africa. Many of these old pigs LOOOOVE to take pictures of naked/topless women, and a lot of them are underage too! The problem isn’t nudity in itself, it’s just that most of the time, they’re posing. Most of the photographs (just check Flickr) aren’t even of our sisters doing their daily work, and that is quite frankly, disturbing! (I browsed through Maxim’s FB & Tumblr, and I think I only saw 2 or 3 photographs of women of another race. Who’d wan’t to limit himself to just one group of women? It’s fetishization, pure & simple)

    Secondly, there are plenty of black photographers out there, just check out Gregory Prescott’s work, fantastic photographer. I don’t know how much this Maxim guy is paying you (or if you get paid at all) , but I can assure you that he’s the one who profits the most. Shouldn’t it be our black photographer “brotha’s” job to portray these beautiful women? Shouldn’t the profits come back to yourselves, so that you can enrich both yourselves & your community?

    We’ve got to stop being so naïve people. We’ve got to stop making other people prosperous off our own work/talent/bodies and so forth.