The Vulnerability Project: Erika

Here’s another set of images from my Vulnerability Project where we explore empowerment through vulnerability. You can read about the project here.

I did a boudoir photo shoot for Erika. When she saw my notice about the Vulnerability Project, she asked to be part of it. In particular, she wanted to make a statement around being shamed for deciding to not shave and having body hair. So I bought 100 razors for our shoot for an American Beauty inspired shot. I really needed a few hundred more. I also brought in some plants for perhaps what may have been an overly literal concept of maintaining your “bush”. We didn’t have a clear idea of exactly what we were going to capture,  but we’re both happy with the results. The images show true feminine beauty is possible even if you have body hair. 

I have a lot of respect for Erika. This was her first nude shoot and she she was incredibly open to the concepts I suggested. Here is Erika’s experience of the shoot in her own words: 

“When I saw Eric post about the Vulnerability Project I wasn’t sure I was the type of person he was looking to volunteer. I’m not a professional model. But I read his blog post and knew instantly it was something I wanted to participate in. I loved the concept of showing off your vulnerabilities in order to come to peace with them yourself, while also letting other people know that it’s okay to put yourself out there. 

In December of 2021 I decided to stop shaving completely. At first, I just wanted to experience what it was like to live life like that, however it being winter I noticed it was helping keep my body warm and left it alone. I had a boudoir photoshoot done in February with another photographer as well as Eric and I loved the images I got despite having body hair visible. But I received criticism from people around me. They would say “Eww, you look like a man,” or “That’s gross. You need to shave,” or “Do you need a razor?” 

The purpose of participating in Eric’s project was to show myself and other women that you can have body hair and still be a woman and still be comfortable in your femininity. Our body hair is natural and it’s there for a reason. There is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed about something that everybody on the planet has. On the other hand, if you feel more comfortable shaving and having smooth legs you should feel free to do that, women and men. 

I want to empower any woman who has thought about not shaving to try it. There’s no shame in it and if your partner doesn’t support you that’s a red flag and should be evaluated. I have the privilege of having a very supportive partner who couldn’t care less and finds me sexy either way and I hope everyone finds that one day. Everyone deserves to be accepted for who they are no matter what.”