"I think what I learned...was that my body is not really who I am. The essence of me is something else."

Until this point, the idea of posting naked photographs of myself on the internet for the world to see had never entered my head. The thought of having my various lumps and bumps viewed and potentially judged by an audience was quite daunting, but I was able to rationalize this by the fact that people make judgments about who you are based on your physical being whether you’re clothed or not, so what does it really matter? I also felt that in many ways people often judge themselves the most harshly and as much as there are things I do and don’t like about my body, I know that twenty years from now, I will probably look back on my present day self and wish I had that body. So why not capture it and cherish it?

I recall a Masai woman I heard saying that women are like trees, no matter what size or shape they are beautiful. I’ve found it very interesting as I’ve travelled to different parts of the world how bodily forms are judged; in China I felt like some kind of alien based on people’s reactions and behaviour towards me and in India and Cuba I felt like a walking sex goddess.

I find it interesting that individuals hold such strong reactions to the physical form, often allowing these to blind them to other attributes. Myself included.

What I found amusing about the lead up to the shoot was that rather than actually focusing on my body, I was actually more concerned about having a stranger in my apartment and how presentable that was. In many ways, allowing someone into my personal space was more anxiety-inducing than being photographed in the nude.

During the shoot, I realised that most of the activities I was doing revolved around clothes. When I put my clothes back on it felt like cloaking who I really am with a protective layer. A bit like an emotional shield. It made me wonder about the many ways we use clothes: for warmth, as personality statements, for religious reasons, for sexual enticement, for protection and so on. Being naked strips all of that away; you are just who you are.

I think what I learned during the time Joslyn was taking my photographs was that my body is not really who I am. The essence of me is something else.  Whether I’m clothed or unclothed, the person inside is who I really feel connected with rather than the flesh I inhabit. 

Using Format