Kate | San Francisco, CA
Images by Katherine Emery
"...the story that unfolded was one about movement, about living, about friendship and connection. I look at these photos and this is what I see… and I am grateful."
"Like most women, I have a love-hate relationship with my body, but the hate is far stronger than the love. When I’m down on my body, it becomes an assembly of imperfect parts. When I celebrate it, I worship its strength and coordination. Too often though, the celebration recedes and is eclipsed by the hatred of my short calves, my short self, my fat arms… it’s exhausting and depressing. Gazing into storefront windows, I am always disappointed by the parts that I see.
What a difference it would be instead, to look at the reflection staring back at me and see only the sparkle in her eyes and the warm smile that draws people to her... to see the beauty in her as a whole person, not a body of scrutinized parts.
As with many journeys like this, I wasn’t sure how I would feel when I saw the final product. Then, I realized it wasn’t about the product. As Katherine started snapping photos of me, I lost myself in the casual conversation and the shrieks of laughter exchanged between us. I jumped in the air, leapt off logs, and collapsed in the tall grass as Katherine made adjustments to her camera settings. The wind blew, we drank our tea and ate rice pudding. Back at my apartment, I took off my sweater and felt more layers of adult responsibility, self-consciousness, and anxiety, disappear. My typical aversion to being the center of attention started to melt away. I asked Katherine to photograph my legs, my arms, to capture moments of me and my dog. In the end, the session took on a life of its own, and the story that unfolded was one about movement, about living, about friendship and connection. I look at these photos and this is what I see… and I am grateful."
Notes from Katherine Emery, Photographer:
"I have known Kate for over 20 years and I worried the most about asking her to participate in this project with me. I wasn’t sure that she’d feel comfortable opening up about thoughts of her body and her experiences over the years. And yet I wanted to do something special for her, and with her. These past 5 years have been personally and professionally straining. I wanted, through photographs, to show her what I see most of the time: the unicorn, the lion, the doe, the snail, the fairy, the ghost. The sun. I want her to see the confident, beautiful, competent mother and friend I know so well now.
It’s Kate I have to thank. She eagerly agreed. She trusted me, with her words and her body. Once I read what she’d written, my entire plan for the shoot changed. We spent 3 hours together. In that time, Kate opened up. She was playful; she danced and pounced; she curled and unfurled. She spoke seriously and the skies rained. She suggested ideas for images, things that were important to her. She was confident and vulnerable. And she wore all these emotions so gracefully, comfortably.
I left awestruck and humbled and grateful. I hope my images show even a glimpse of what she shared with me on our afternoon together."
-- Katherine Emery
Images of Kate by Katherine Emery.