CNN Photos

Perfect life, perfect wife, perfect strife?

Guia Besana explores the modern woman's battle with perfectionism in her photo series, “Under Pressure.”

The Paris-based photographer shot the 10 large-scale photos in an old house outside of the French capital because she said a contemporary setting would not properly convey “the plurality of women's role in society” - that is, that many women feel torn between traditional and contemporary roles.

Besana says each picture is meant to represent a different condition that is relevant to women in modern society, whether it’s competition at work, pressure to look “good” or the “perfect mom” syndrome.

All of the women featured in the series are Besana’s friends. She says the women chose to participate because they identify emotionally with the various pressures depicted.

“I am more engaged when I see a picture that directly confirms my fragilities than when I see a picture with which I don't identify,” Besana said. “I guess it triggers a cathartic process.”

Besana first began the project because of the prevailing conversation of women in leadership roles - a discussion further fueled by Sheryl Sandberg’s groundbreaking and controversial book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.”

“I hope that the women who see this series and do feel affected can be stimulated to change their situation,” Besana said.

- Sarah LeTrent, CNN