While Ashley Graham stripped down for her first Maxim cover, some fans are concerned the images have been stripped of their authenticity.
Shot after shot, this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl and famed plus size model is photographed wearing next to nothing in a series of images for the April issue. Whether she's wearing a sexy lingerie set or covering her bust with nothing but a white collared shirt—or a pair or men's hands—the 28-year-old stunner looks confident as she proudly flaunts her figure.
While many fans are happy to see a curvier physique on the cover and pages of the popular magazine, some are questioning whether the images have been altered by Photoshop. However, the man behind the shoot, famed high-fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon, is taking the criticism into his own hands.
After some Instagram users slammed the photos, saying "It's a shame they photoshopped her to appear slimmer" and simply "Too much Photoshop," the 72-year-old France native started answering back.
"I shoot this image of Ashley,and we don't slimmer her at all!!! Sorry because you sound so convinced," he wrote to one user. "In fact (almost no photoshop) sorry to disappoint you," Bensimon added in response to another.
As for the outspoken body image activist, Graham proudly displayed four of the images on her own Instagram account using the hashtag #beautybeyondsize and commented "<3uGilles!" on Bensimon's account.
"I'm beyond proud to be the first curvy woman on the cover of Maxim. I was not slimmed down on the cover, and Gilles Bensimon did an amazing job capturing my true figure in all of the photos," she said in a statement.
She wasn't the only celebrity fan of the photos. Supermodel Elle Macpherson took a moment to praise the cover and the photographer's work.
"This is great !!!!" she gushed.
"This is another major advancement for curvy women, especially those who work in the fashion industry who are working hard to get the recognition they deserve," Graham concluded. "I now encourage more publications and designers to put more diversity on their covers and runways. Let's continue to show that beautiful bodies come in different sizes and they should all be celebrated."