For 40 years, I've photographed myself on my birthday wearing nothing but my white Lollipop underpants, shoes and socks. I made my first Birthday Suit self-portrait in Death Valley, CA in 1974.

Without fail, I’ve faced my camera every April 22nd since then to create a coded history of one woman’s journey through time.

As a girl-child of the 1950s, I came of age before women’s lib, and wanted to buck the stereotypes of a culture that branded me a pretty girl, thin enough to be a fashion model and not much more. Armed with my camera and tripod, I found a way to define myself on my own terms in the most open, vulnerable way I could.

My long-term project will continue for as long as I live. In 2015, I turn 70. I’m currently working on a book & film about my Birthday Suits.

— Lucy Hilmer