A photography career built on nude selfies and a commitment to curiosity...
Growing up I was always the naked kid. You know the one, last to get dressed in the morning and very first to take off their clothes no matter where they were. Loud, expressive and entirely carefree, that is before everything changed and I got introduced to a very different story and way of living. One that turned my freedom to exist in my flesh into a story of temptation and sexualization. What you might not know about me is that I grew up in a semi conservative christian home with a minister for a father. Yet somehow I still went on to co-host a sex podcast and become a nude photographer, honestly it's probably largely in part to exactly that.
Do you remember the point in your life where suddenly nakedness became a problem? A bad habit to be tamed? I don't remember the exact moment, but I do remember how confused I felt. The nagging feeling of wanting to know what had changed and why my body was now something that had to be hidden away, suddenly off-limits from myself and the world. Something wrong that needed to be hidden away.
What I didn't realize then is that my desire to spend so much time naked was one of the effortless ways I stayed connected to myself and my body. Unbound and unrestricted. When everything changed and I began having to live from the story that there was something wrong and sinful about my body I lost connection which left large gaps able to be filled by doubt, diet culture, and the toxic noise that I'm sure you're all too familiar with. I went from feeling at peace in my body to being at war with it, and photography is what would inevitably pave my way back.
Throughout the years every time I felt my body changing I would get uncomfortable, even angry. It was like the very ground I stood upon began to shift and I would have to reevaluate everything I thought I knew as I tried to claw my way back to some semblance of centre. Any changes always felt like a huge shock to my system because at the time I had lost my ability to stay curious and connected. The rare times I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror it was typically to pick apart and judge my body for not meeting up to the standards set out in the content I was consuming daily. It was a zeroing in on any perceived differences that had me feeling less than. Like I couldn't see all of myself, only a sum of parts. Pieces that needed to be updated in order to be of value. That was until I started picking up my camera again and exploring myself with curiosity
It's one thing to look at yourself in front of a mirror, or look down at your body and another entirely to see it from a vantage point that isn't readily available to you. To see it as others might. From a distance, up close, both a sum of parts and the entire masterpiece that is you. To invite yourself into a wondering, a longing to know what is present, what is here and now as you deeply acknowledge it is always changing. Putting a camera in my hand and gifting myself a million different angles to take this body in opened a doorway into intimacy with myself. It offered a way to write a story that was true to me, one that reflected not just the joy and triumph that is living in this body, but the pain as well. It opened up a doorway to witness this body of mine expressing the multitude of emotions and fantasies. The endless parts of me dripping through the canvas that is the body that carries me. It's not to say that Photography ended the litany of noise pollution from media and a world committed to sameness, but what it did was offer enough space to explore my body outside of the noise. It gifted me doubt through wondering if what is here is worth valuing, worth documenting, worthy of being remembered. So in secret I began exploring myself and developing my art and passion for nude photography.
We cannot expect to change our relationship with our bodies without the courage to look at them. Without the audacity to become curious about what is rather than staying stuck in what they've convinced us we need to become in order to be valued.
Your body's worth does not change no matter the size, shape or expression it takes. You are inherently worthy and your body is merely the vehicle committed to carrying you through life. Why would we not want to document that? To know it intimately through the endless shapes and shifts it will take in our lifetime. To have the courage to look even when it's uncomfortable, especially when it's uncomfortable because there is a multimillion dollar industry that thrives in convincing us to look away, that convinces us to submit to the story that our body needs to become something else in order to be of value.
So have the courage to look anyway. To actively show up in devotion to knowing the vehicle that carries you. Whether it's by stepping in front of my lens for your own Getting Bare session or exploring with your own camera. It's not sinful or wrong to want to know what is yours in every shape and expression it will occupy as you walk this earth. Although it may feel wildly uncomfortable at first, and the inner voice and stories might be so damn loud that it seems impossible for anything else to take root, I promise that if you keep looking, keep exploring, and stay open to the what if, something will begin to blossom and make way for more peace.
Although I didn't set out to do this work and came to in out of my own need, I am grateful to be able to hold your hand through it. To offer you the space for your own expression and exploration as you allow yourself to be with what is, because damn is it ever beautiful.