The human body is a mystery to some of us. Not in its anatomy, but rather in its variation. For centuries the male gaze- the ideal image of what men and women should look like- has dominated art and many other forms of media. While this ideal is not static, changing from year to year, region to region, it yet has the effect of stifling creativity and controling our body image. So we stay safe, hide beneath mass produced garments and gravity defying undergarments. Or we confirm and shape ourselves to expectations. When it's spy against spy between your friends and neighbors, when is it ever safe to drop your guard? We wear our skin like a suit of armor and expect it to feel like a mink coat.
There are those in the art world that want to change that, from Abigail Ekue of New York, a photographer currently challenging the male gaze with her book Bare Men, a collection of nude photographs of average men across the United States, to Trevor Wayne, a graphic artist and self proclaimed pin up boy, who uses his tattoo clad body to break the mold of male beauty. This year I hope to join these amazing artist in my first attempt at the same goal. I want to change how people feel about their bodies.
As a photographer, I'd never ask a model to be comfortable in a situation I wasn't comfortable in myself. Everything from body language to grooming can only be learned by experience. That is why in the first round of the series I chose to be both photographer and subject. No stranger to nudity, I still found the modeling to be challenging. While I was fairly comfortable with my image in the mirror (most days), a camera perceives a scene differently, depending on height, distance, and focal length. Combined with an unforgiving clarity, it forces you to examine yourself differently- and what you find isn't always pleasant. Still, I was fascinated through the shooting and editing process by the way light shaped my body and defined my modest figure. I found it left me with a better understanding of myself, mind and body.
Now for the hardest part, public critique, without which this project would not truly be complete.
Let me know I'm the comments: How has body image affected you? What would you like to see more of in the media?