For me, 2012 will be a year of exploration; photographically, personally, creatively whilst exploring this amazing force called family. Ironically, I will be reducing the number of family portrait sessions I take in, in order to explore my own more. I will be increasing my senior sessions who have always been open to creative expression and exploration. I will continue photographing the life altering journey of new parenthood through a more journalistic, documentary eye with less focus on "pretty" static pictures...the photos need to be organic and be happening naturally, unforced. I type this not to inform my clients, as much as to guide my own direction and how I want to spend each day.
I graduated university in '95 and spent a great deal of time in college exploring body image. Not because I had a body image issue, quite the opposite. I didn't. I meandered through the worlds of criminal justice, advertising, art, women's studies, advertising, sociology, and psychology. Each, in their own way, brought me back to the body.
In 2004, I began an eight year relationship as a sexuality and health teacher. A relationship it was. 3000 students a year, engaged in discussions centered on the body. 3000 students a year whom I hope were touched by the innate understanding I possessed as a young woman that the body was phenomenal, not shrouded in shame, not designed for abuse, not needing alteration. I quickly learned that our society's schizophrenic display of sexuality, the body, and beauty had already permeated into the psyche and infected many of the young, impressionable students I taught. Many had dieted before graduating elementary school. Those who wore makeup did so thinking they were prettier for its application, therefore would refuse to swim at the end of year pool party. If he wasn't a star athlete, what was he? I've had too many discussions with middle school girls as to why they felt they needed a boyfriend in order to be accepted and willing to do whatever necessary to keep him. I can't help but think of fairy tales. I don't think falling for one's true love is the fairy tale. I think the concept of misery unless one finds a love struck saviour is. According to fairy tales, a girl must be pretty to get the magic gift of happily ever after. According to advertising, no girl is pretty enough.
They have spent hours upon hours, days, months sensory locked by media and all its messages. It is near impossible for anyone to not be shaped in some way by its relentless suggestions, especially if us parents are not supplying the counterweight to healthy attitudes regarding the body, sexuality, and our relationships. Not necessarily romantic relationships, all the different types of relationships we have with one another in general. As a photographer, I have wanted to capture this concept in images. It's always alluded me. I don't know what I am wanting to really say in the story. Many projects have been completed on self-esteem and beauty. Many commentaries have been made on the media's impact on self/body image. What will I do that is different? How will I bring my spin and experience to my visual project?
2012 is the year I will explore this topic and begin the visual story...again.
I wanted to share this old video link with you (2009). This subject won't go away...
Here's a scan from some photos I included in a written essay I wrote in 1995 titled Reflection Revolution. Everyone starts somewhere ;)