"I have been shooting for Fully Disclothed for nearly two years and it did not make it any easier participating in the project."


I have been shooting for Fully Disclothed for nearly two years and it did not make it any easier participating in the project. I’ve acquired no hints or tips to get into a headspace that makes it easier to get naked in front of a stranger.


The opportunity to switch roles and be on the other side of the camera presented itself many times before I was actually able to go through with it. It wasn’t that I needed courage to strip down but it was more of a feeling of defeat; I knew I couldn’t go on forever postponing my own story – as contribution to the project. And so I scheduled a day to shoot. 


It was the start of 2017 and Joslyn, a co-founder of Fully Disclothed and the original photographer, was back in Ontario for a few weeks. Joslyn had moved away and I ended up taking over in her role. I have been a part of the FD family for a while, however, Joslyn and I have never met. We had only exchanged words via the internet and once in a phone call to book the shoot. Despite that, I think because of our relation to the project, I felt like I knew so much about her without ever having any face-to-face interaction.


The concept is strange…meeting someone you feel like you know but don’t know. But the time had come and we were finally going to meet. More so, she was coming to meet me. The anticipation was real, I was worried if I was going to live up whatever idea she had of me in her mind. 


I know my role as a photographer in this project, I know how to navigate through it and make people feel comfortable, but on the other side of the camera, I had no idea how to behave. “Just be yourself” I told myself.


"I know how to navigate through it and make people feel comfortable, but on the other side of the camera, I had no idea how to behave."


When Joslyn arrived at my door, those anxieties disappeared and I was eager to talk, share and compare about what initially introduced us to each other. We had tea and she followed me throughout my house as I watered the high density of foliage that have accumulated in the space. The rest of the time we spent getting to know each other and building on top on what we already knew. The shoot was totally fine, but the experience left me thinking, what does it mean to just “be yourself” or specifically, what did it mean to be myself. 


I believe that I and everyone I know have several different personas that make up our overall personality. Each becoming more prominent in certain situation. As I came into myself as a teenager and more so as an adult, I often struggled with how I present myself and over time I have realized that my “personas” are emotionally driven. By that, I mean that I think my personas are a kind of defense mechanism.


Even before I started in this project; I’ve consistently been aware about the maintenance and filtering of my emotional self; which aspects of myself I share with many people, which I share with few, and some that I would like to preserve within me. Ultimately, these variations of myself are generated by my level of comfort. In many areas of my life, especially those which are more formal like work, I am reserved. I avoid expressing my raw emotions like sadness or deep concerns and even happiness and fulfillment about things that are going on in my life. Mainly I think it's because I don't want to nor do I think it is necessary to really open up to people who I interact with daily only because we submitted our resume to the same place.


In my intimate relationships, I am and choose to be more open about my emotions and the importance to share them. But still with each relationship, a different love and care and communication is expressed. Humans are complicated and I don't believe an overall blanket approach can be applied so generally to the different people and aspects in my life. Everyone I love, I love differently. I think this idea of managing my personas will be ongoing throughout my life as upcoming experiences and interactions with others will create new dynamics within me.


By participating in a project as sensitive as this one, whether in front or behind the lens, I’ve become more self aware. The project is based on premise on being vulnerable and it creates something truly wonderful when two people come together and consciously choose to be so with one another.


In the end, being naked in front of the camera wasn’t a big deal but being “myself” was. Looking back at my encounter with Joslyn, I think she got a peek into my more emotional self. 










 



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