A Photogrraphic experience
The Vulnerability Project
Welcome to the vulnerability project. This is a project born of my photographic journey, the stories of the subjects I’ve photographed, and my own experience of my own aging body.
When I began doing photography, I had no idea that so many of my subjects or customers would use it as a vehicle for healing and self-growth. I specialize in art nude photography and I have been surprised by the number of people who have sought me out as a way of dealing with various issues. I have photographed the scarred body of a young woman who threw herself in front of a train. I have captured images of several women who have had mastectomies. I did a concept shoot for someone healing from the trauma of abuse. I’ve shot a bald woman who suffers from alopecia as well as numerous subjects suffering from body dysmorphia.
Recently, I put myself on the other side of the camera for a couple of nude shoots. The recent modeling I’ve done really has made me think about vulnerability, self-acceptance, self-love, authenticity, and more.
When I was young and a professional ballet dancer, my naked body was used in a national ad campaign on the theme of “celebrating nature’s masterwork, the human body.” Now, I grapple with the losses that come from an aging body that no longer seems familiar to me.
Why is it so difficult to accept or even embrace our bodies as they are? I don’t have an answer to that question. For me, I don’t think my self-concept has caught up to the physical changes that have occurred, so my body feels somewhat foreign. For many, I think there’s a struggle to unlink our sense of worth from people’s perceptions. For others, it’s shame surrounding our bodies that’s put on us by the puritanical beliefs of our parents or community. I don’t really know.
What I do know, from both my own experience and the experience of others that have sought me out, is that photography can be a life-affirming, healing tool to move us towards self-acceptance. I felt vulnerable modeling for my nudes shoots, but I felt compelled to put myself out there. In the photographs, I can see myself at a distance. I can be objective. I can accept that person in the photo for who they are. And that’s me.
I’d like to give others the experience I’ve had through the Vulnerability Project. It’s for people who would be willing to face their fears or issues around their body by doing a nude shoot and would be open to sharing their experience of the process. The goal is to document the struggles and search for self-acceptance of anyone that wants to be vulnerable enough to pose nude for a photoshoot. People of any age, any body type, any gender, any sexual orientation, any ability, are welcome to participate.
There’s no charge. This is a personal project. The end result will be a gallery website with documentation of the participant’s experience along with an image from the shoot.
Your involvement is not an act of asking others to view and accept you. It’s a process of learning to view and accept yourself. It’s about embracing your own unique self. It’s really the process that is important. The images are really just the souvenirs you take away from the experience.
I should add that you don’t need to have issues. I don’t want to assume that everyone grapples with insecurities around their bodies or has issues with self-acceptance. You may just want to get involved as a fun personal challenge or to have a unique experience. That is perfectly fine and I welcome you to play in my photographic sandbox.
How it works…
- Simply fill out an application, briefly outlining your thoughts about your body and what you hope to get out of participation in the project.
- We’ll schedule a time and place for the photoshoot. It could be at my studio, at your home, outside, or really any place of your choosing.
- At your scheduled time, we’ll do a short video interview and then go into shooting. You have the final say in how or what we’ll shoot. The images can be done in any genre documentary, lifestyle, abstract, boudoir, fine art, etc. It doesn’t really matter.
- After the shoot, we’ll do a short interview to discuss your experience.
- Your story will be posted on the Vulnerability Project website along with an image of your choosing from the shoot.
- If you decide after the fact that you don’t want your image displayed, simply write me a note explaining why and it will go on the page in place of your image.