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THIRTEEN

photographed with a canon rebel digital camera

Self. One of the most difficult things to cope with and to truly understand.  No one is ever truly happy with themselves or even with what they look like.  It is in human nature to constantly find a flaw within something or someone, including oneself. Growing up and attending an all girl school, it heightened different issues regarding body image because I was surrounded by so many young women who had the idealized body in society.  They were able to achieve the relationships they had wanted because their looks were able to receive and retain the male gaze and attention.  I went from one extreme of being severely underweight to the point of being put onto steroids in order to have my body begin the process of going through puberty.  I then went to the other extreme of being overweight while also for the first time, being able to enjoy eating without pain.  This set of photographs serves as a critique of myself and is actually beginning the process of looking at myself through a duality lens of allowing my private self into the public sector.  


Desire and lust. Something that one has for another person both physically and emotionally.  Never feeling good about oneself when basing their value off of a set of parameters set by society on what is desirable or lustful or feeling very confident in oneself because they are being desired or lusted for.  Most of my friends and family have been in relationships or are currently in relationships... or at least dating.  Body image has played a significant role in the confidence level I have had to enter such a world.  It sounds so elementary but why is there value placed on the amount of attention or action one gets and is placed in social hierarchy because of the amount of partners they have?


Vulnerability and Emotion.  For some, it’s easier to show vulnerability because they are more comfortable with the person they are and the body they are in.  For some, it is because they have coped with a situation and have overcome their hurt and are not afraid to put themselves out there.  Vulnerability in the fact of being able to show one’s skin, one’s own facial expression and to put away a facade and feel okay with that.  I never would have imagined even showing work like this in my time here at Drew because I have been so body conscious since I can even remember and being able to shoot this and actually show it is a truly liberating experience.  If it wasn’t for meeting Jen Davis and having that conversation with her about vulnerability and her use of surrogacy (which was similar to my own practice), I would have never been able to even confront this myself yet alone with the use of my camera, which I normally find to be my comfort zone.  I felt that I was able to go in front of the camera because of the talk that we had with Jen.  She forced me to think of the duality of the private versus public self and to be okay if the two worlds collide into a more public sphere.  It’s okay to show myself without a facade and it’s okay to shed both emotional and physical layers in the effort of self-discovery and begin the road of acceptance.