The meaning of life? -The I am project

July 10, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Nude woman with outstreached armsNude woman with outstreached arms


So what is the meaning of life, the Universe and everything you ask? Well forty two of course. Oh, you're looking for something more personal from me huh? Well I don't have any grand answer. Here's what I do think. I think that we are here, born on Earth to learn and to teach. There. It's that simple. Of course I have to hope that which we are teaching and learning is beneficial and doesn't intentionally cause harm and distress to others. I also believe that things happen for a reason. These "things" that happen to us are what our individual stories are woven from. Stories are like tapestries; physical, tangible and the pattern that is revealed comes from the teachings we bestow to others and the lessons that we learn throughout our lives.
I love to know about people and their stories. Everyone has a story. Even when they think they don't. I love to listen to NPR and the great programs that they broadcast because I love to hear the stories from around the world. Now I don't see myself becoming a reporter or hosting a show where I sit and interview people. Therefor I don't imagine I'll be hosting a show on NPR anytime soon. I do however have some skill with a camera.
So quite a few years back I decided that it would be a superb idea to take nude photos of women and those women should be my friends. (You may be wondering how I jumped from stories and learning and teaching to nude photos of my friends. Just keep reading and it will all be revealed.) The real women that I surrounded myself with on a day to day basis would be my inspiration. I had this idea at the same time that Joe realized just how much the photography industry had taken to altering images. With the digital revolution so many fantastic advances could be made. For instance a woman could now have a smaller waist, a higher and rounder butt, bigger boobs, stretched neck, eyes that are unnaturally almond shaped, and skin that is more perfect and unblemished than any newborn ever born on Earth. Sure it may sound good at first but when we thought just for a moment about the negative impact these "false" images of women create for women, girls, boys and men we knew we would not take part in that part of photography.
When we took my idea to photograph friends and our combined resolve to not alter women in our photos we came up with an idea for a colossal project. The I am project was born. The idea was that we would ask women to participate that fit a certain criteria. Before she was photographed she would be asked to complete the I am statement with one word that described her. The word had to be positive and induce loving feelings about herself when she said it. Then I would have her embody that statement and then proceed with her nude photo shoot. Then we would wrap up the shoot with an interview. This is where I got to hear their stories. These stories were real and beautiful and inspiring. From these stories I hope that women will learn to love themselves exactly as they are. I hope that we can teach young boys what a real woman's body looks like and there is more to a woman than a nudie magazine they may have sneaked a peek at before ever seeing an actual naked woman in real life. I hope these images will teach our girls and those girls that we aren't even related to that they can love themselves unconditionally. We all come in many shapes and sizes and they are all beautiful. I hope that men learn to appreciate the women in their lives and love their partners fiercely and passionately and stop judging a woman's body based on porn. Men are powerful teachers, especially to their daughters and I hope they teach them that they are are strong and beautiful whether they are skinny, chubby, talkative or they wear their hair in a mohawk, pierce their belly buttons or have stretch marks on their hips at the ripe age of 8.
We are all on a journey of discovery. The I am project is just a piece but an important one. On this blog I am sharing stories, conversations and pictures with you. I hope you all enjoy what you see and what you read. Some installments will be brief snip-its. Others will be long and in depth. One way or the other I hope you enjoy the journey and either learn something here or take something away that you will share and teach others.

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