My photograph 'Blindfold' is a contemporary take of the struggles of female sexuality in the 19th century. Many of the nude photographs of women in the 19th century were usually found to be wearing blindfolds to hide their identities. The blindfold illustrates the struggle of a women presenting herself in the nude to the public eye and the battle between human inhibitions and the cultural norms.
I'm hugely influenced by a 19th century photographer, Belloc, E.J.
Belloc who began a series of photographs of women at brothels during the 19th century. He had a desire to protect these women by concealing their identities. The blindfold allowed these women to feel comfortable to be photographed in the nude. The very act of using a blindfold is a very conscious decision that I find very moving.
Coming from a conservative background myself, I felt an ease of being nude in front of my lens, and the blindfold allowed me to explore nude self portraiture in a way I have not yet experimented with. The anxieties that I harbor in accepting that my work evokes a wide range of reactions are irrefutable, but the blindfold removes these fears, the misgivings associated with dirtiness and disgrace that was associated nudity in the 19th century, and I find is still very prevalent today
Shame and suppression when talking about nudity and sexuality tells us it is immoral to act upon sexual desires. The battle between legalization of same sex marriage, shows us that same sex relationships is controversial or wrong. Female and male genders who discover romantic desires towards the same sex are taught to suppress them- including, those who identify with a separate sexual orientation than the body they are born in. Finding comfort under ones skin is not celebrated but I believe if celebrated, an open dialogue can happen dealing with a subject we all keep private.
This. Hurts. People.
Imagery of a nude body and public expression of sexuality provokes derogatory name-calling and hate speech. Inflicting shame does more harm than it aids people. The open expressions of sexuality has become in a way, the ability to break the cultural standards. In a sense I am objectifying myself. But in many ways my body, which is the subject of many of my art pieces, is an object of meaning. My body- the subject of a lot of my work, has become for me an object that harbors my weaknesses, my fears, but also my strengths. I find that objectification when dealing with the nude body has negative connotations. There is a huge misconception that objectification of the body is objectification that happens without meaning. Photographing myself has became a personal journey of self acceptance, and self reflection. Being comfortable in my body in the silence of my own home and photographing myself is not the hardest process of creating my photographs. The biggest struggle is the response of the public eye but learning to accept that this is why creating this work is so important and meaningful to me.
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