A good friend of mine once told me that my work walks a nice balance between gritty and pretty. I like this assessment of my pictures.
So not too long ago, I started working with a model. About a month passed since our first meeting together. Recently, we tried working together again. The shoot went well. Again, I am impressed with the honesty, clarity, and effortlessness I find working with her. We exchanged a couple of emails after our most recent shoot. I like what she had to say:
Contrary to the societal standard of shame, it feels powerful to be naked
in front of the camera. It feels powerful to have nothing to hide, to
simply be raw and uncovered by the masks and character that clothes bring.
When I was in Europe, I went to the Cannes film festival on two separate
days. On the first day, I wore a bright red dress and heels, and I drew a
lot of attention from streetside photographers; I got a lot of looks. On
the second day, I wore simple pants and a earthy brown tank-top, and I
received almost no attention. I realized that it made me angry that I had
to “play the part” by wearing the right things to get noticed and have my
presence acknowledged. I often crave to be seen, have my presence
validated by others, a desire that I need to both accept and work on
changing, as I cannot put the validation of my existence in others’ hands.
I most of all want to be seen for me, not simply for one facet of myself
that can be exhibited with certain clothes or style. Being naked is simple
and raw, and I believe that I could portray any facet of myself when I am
nude, devoid of costume or mask.
I hope these pictures we make together continue to embody that line between pretty and gritty. She is beautiful, and I want the pictures to reflect it. I also hope the photographs show a stronger edge, more about the complexity of our experiences individually and together. Humble, powerful, honest, painful, and beautiful.