Stripped: Be intimate with yourself first.
For my first photo project (okay, midterm) I decided to push the boundaries a little bit. I'll always be a wild child, but there's a conservative side to me that I just can't kick; it makes for some very interesting perspective. I decided on a project that interspersed sensual pictures of nature with sensual pictures of people—demonstrating the beauty in human sensuality as well as the natural part of it. I didn't want the art of the rawness of our bodies to be tucked away and so taboo that it would never be appreciated. This project was meant to humanize human nature, but it ended up becoming a confidence project for everyone involved.
I had a good talk with some friends who wanted to be my models, and yes, I made it very clear what my plan was, but I would ONLY shoot, edit, and post what they gave me absolute permission to. There was clear communication throughout the board before, during, and after the shoots.
Then, something miraculous happened as the shoots went on, and it happened to all my models, so I know it wasn't a coincidence.
These beautiful and aspiring young women were all struggling with their own degrees of body confidence, and yet as the shoot went on and they saw themselves through my preview display, they became more and more confident. It showed through their work. Their poses became more confident, striking, and uniquely beautiful—exactly what I was hoping to capture as the shoots went on.
Girls who had spent hours in front of the mirror critiquing themselves on how they look finally saw themselves through another lens and took control of how they went about for the rest of the day. There was no one else in the room to impress but themselves and once they took control of their mental image it glowed throughout their body in a way that wasn't sexual, but beautiful. In all the raw ways our bodies were made to be.