This series is about body image, but also much more than that. I grew up being a bit overweight, so I was bullied and called all sorts of names. Weight and body image is something I have always struggled with. As I was developing an idea for the final project of my master’s degree, I began to question conventional beauty. What makes someone beautiful?
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, why are we fed so much imagery about what we are supposed to look like? As I began photographing these women, I started to see something a bit deeper than a mere fashion image. I admire these models for doing something that I can’t; for being able to accept their bodies enough to put them on display for a camera. Body acceptance is a constant challenge.
This project has cemented the fact that I am a firm believer that our bodies are mere vessels for our souls. They are vessels that carry us through our journey on earth. Therefore, I made a conscious decision not to show my models’ faces because then the images would become nude portraits, and I want the viewer to identify with these subjects. A faceless body can be anyone or everyone.
Throughout this process, I received very positive remarks from the models. One of them was close to tears when she told me that no one had ever photographed her in a way that made her feel so beautiful—she said it was almost therapeutic for her. Another told me the experience made her feel empowered.
As of right now, I have chosen to photograph exclusively women, but that may change in the very near future, as this series is ongoing and constantly evolving. I have personally started printing these on platinum-palladium; I feel that the subtle changes in tonalities lent by this particular type of print are best able to express the intent and significance of the images themselves. Platinum-palladium prints are skill and labor intensive—it takes a few hours to produce just one. They are rare; something to be cherished. I feel that these prints are separate from the culture of disposability and instant gratification that pervades our culture today, and therefore are worthy of my subject: our bodies.