"Rather than treating bodies as integral to being alive, we've collectively shunned our bare skin and forgotten what it's like to really feel normal and accepting of every inch of ourselves without additional layers."


When first entertaining the idea of being nude on camera, I was skeptical, unsure, excited. I honestly thought I wouldn't go through with the project. It seemed like something I would never do, partially because I'm an extremely private person in my day to day life, and exposing my body to an unknown mass of people brings up so many other unknowns, such as; will this be seen as art or pornography? What will my friends and family think if they come across these photographs? Will people perceive or value me differently if they find out about this? And yet for all of these apprehensions I still wanted to go through with it. 


If anything, my concerns showed me how strongly the society I grew up in understands nudity as something that should be frowned upon or discouraged in the public realm. As if somehow we're all pretending that we aren't completely stark naked underneath a few pieces of cloth. Rather than treating bodies as integral to being alive, we've collectively shunned our bare skin and forgotten what it's like to really feel normal and accepting of every inch of ourselves without additional layers. Part of my desire to do this was to prove that I didn't view my physical form precisely in this way, and to see if something revealing would occur if someone visually captured me while doing one of the things I love; cooking breakfast. 


While preparing for the shoot, I was nervous. I looked at my body in the mirror and considered how others would see it. I noticed those stretch marks that are a part of my skin, regardless of how many times I give them disapproving looks. I saw the small scars that I had selfishly hoped would one day decide to pack up and move away. I wondered if being naked would reveal something different about what it was that I loved about cooking. It didn't. Besides the fact that when turning the oven on became an almost impossible feat, everything got much warmer than expected!


Few people have seen me naked, so this was a revealing process in the moment and in retrospect, as I keep in mind that these photos will be available to public prejudices and perusal. Once I took off my clothes nothing really changed. I focused on the heat of the frying pan, the buttery smell of the eggs and toast, and adding a pinch of a few choice herbs to the plate rather than the clicking sound of the camera, or Jos lining up the photograph in her mind's eye. This experience was freeing in that it allowed me to contemplate my insecurities and self-perceptions, and to a degree overcome them. 


Having done the photoshoot twice now, I realized that the visual representation of my naked self in photographic form no longer made me feel uncomfortable or exposed. In fact, it hardly mattered at all. It hardly mattered as I realized there was little difference between the person I am without clothing and the person I am with it. 

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