Monday, February 2, 2009

La Faim est Allée

Valentines day is fast approaching. At this time of year, I often have clients coming to me to do photographs of themselves as an intimate gift for a loved one. More often than not, a woman confesses to me that even though this is a gift for her lover, she is also doing the photographs for herself. This realization is actually the true gift as the subject has had to take a step toward self acceptance in order to reveal her intimate nature and attempt to overcome her internal struggles with how she sees her body and how she perceives others see her body.

This months Goddess that I have chosen to feature is Charity. Beautiful as she is, to a greater degree than many , she has struggled with her body image.

Charity speaks: "I like to think the gods of female wisdom and power smiled down on me the day I met Isis.
Six months before she approached me, I had left my fifth and final stay at an eating disorder clinic and was trying to re balance and reconnect with myself, my body, my life and my relationships. For 13 years I had believed the lies and destruction of anorexia and bulimia. It was an addiction and fixation that nearly took my life on several different occasions.
When Isis first told me what she did, I was both intrigued and terrified. How could women feel so comfortable with themselves? As I perused Isis' portfolio, I was struck by her obvious natural talent,
the serene beauty of her portraits and quiet confidence of her subjects. I was determined, at that point, to get over my insecurities, weight obsession and do these boudoir photos for my boyfriend.
I wish I could say I marched into Isis' studio and ripped my clothes off with the ease and uninhibited nature of a stripper but alas, I was a nervous, shaking wreck. After two hours in her amazing Kingston house, though, I had lost all self consciousness and fear. Walking out of the session, I felt lighter, freer. Instead of the empty, painful, punitive emotion that follows a physical purge, I felt full and liberated from this metaphorical one.
When I got the contact sheets, I remember sitting in my kitchen and sobbing. After years of feeling completely disconnected from my body and seeing it as a disdainful object to be punished, I was finally
and fully understanding my body as an integral part of myself. I was seeing it as the beautiful,powerful,sexual, strong and deserving entity that it truly is; I was beginning to see what everyone else sees.
It's been 3 years since I sat crying at my table. And I am approaching my 4th year anniversary from breaking the chains and being free from my eating disorder. Oh, and I'm happily married to Jasen, (the boyfriend
that I "used" as motivation to give myself the gift of boudoir portraits).
Isis is still a close friend of mine and her vision, wit, insight and art continue to be a challenge and inspiration to me. It was an honor to sit for her and be a part of her revolution-transforming our understanding of self and beauty, one woman at a time."