The intention of the project is for each participant to come away from the project with a profoundly changed relationship with her body, and for each photographer to have a rewarding and moving experience of gifting this experience to her subject.
We hope that This Body of Work will not only be an inspiring project, but will further the movement of women learning to love the bodies they're in. We want to take This Body of Work to the world in ways where message can connect with exponentially more women. The first iteration of the project received attention from the Huffington Post and other international news sources; this year we hope to reach even more people with a message of self-compassion and insight.
We are seeking a few more talented photographers to join our project team and help spread this work throughout the world. If you think the description below sounds like you, please read the rest of this page in its entirety and then submit an application.
Who we're looking for: The ideal team member is a professional female photographer who possesses technical prowess as well as emotional intelligence and depth, an interest in exploring body image through photography, and the ability to be present. Your participant may decide to bare it all for her portrait (physically or emotionally or both), so your ability to create a safe and compassionate space is vital for her ability to express herself fully.
Ladies only: At this time we are choosing to maintain an all-female project team; so applications from male photographers, while we genuinely appreciate the support and interest, will not be considered for this round.
How the Project Works
The second round of this project will officially launch in February 2016. If you are selected for the project, you will be added to the Facebook group and given details and support for finding your participant(s) and getting started. Each photographer will invite at least one woman to be photographed and to participate in a virtual, individualized workshop. (Please note that the project’s definition of the word woman is inclusive of both trans and cis women.) You may choose anyone you like– your grandmother, mother, aunt, a friend, your partner, a client, an acquaintance, a stranger. You might consider a woman in your life who has survived something significant with her physicality and deeply needs to befriend her body again, or you may simply follow your whim. Choose anyone you like as your subject.
There are three stages to the project:
1. Written Work
Each participant will receive her own e-workbook, which she will complete on her own. The workbook is designed to draw out and express the negative narratives she holds, and then experiment with creating a new narrative of love, affection, and gratitude for her body.
The participant will also receive a separate, simple questionnaire and model release form, and you will ensure that she completes these prior to her portrait session. The questionnaire will only have three questions, which are, in essence, what was your body story before, what changed, and what is your new story.
It is required that your participant complete the entire workbook prior to your portrait session.
The participant will then make a ceremonial gesture of her own design, to celebrate and confirm the shift from old story to new. She may take her writing about her old narrative and burn it, or tear it up into pieces, or throw it into the ocean. She might light candles and meditate on the beginning of a new relationship with herself. She might create a piece of art inspired by her gratitude for her body. She might open a bottle of bubbly or take herself out for dinner to celebrate. It’s entirely up to her.
3. A Portrait
The final act, and the core of your contribution to the project, will be a portrait session with you. This is the heart of the matter: You are giving her the gift of your seeing. Your images are a way for her to see herself in a new way, and to celebrate and affirm a new way of being in her life. You are invited to slow down and really see this woman. Look for the story of this woman’s innate, imperfectly perfect beauty. Look for the her inside of her. Find her, and photograph her.
You will ask her to complete the model release/questionnaire before your session. The questionnaire will give you a sense of her journey, so that it may inform your work. After the session, you will send a selection of images for publication on the website.
It is essential to the spirit of the project that no money changes hands for the session, but you are free to sell prints or files afterward).
- This is not a boudoir or high concept shoot project; it is the documentation of a woman's discovery of her own beauty. Heavily styled or staged shoots of any kind, heavy makeup, props, fake eyelashes, and traditional boudoir-style photography are discouraged. Those types of shoots can be empowering experiences for women, but this project is about your participant falling in love with her body the way it is, without any heavy adornment overpowering her natural beauty.
- No heavy photoshopping or effects, please. The whole idea is to embrace one's natural beauty, not alter it.
- If you already have a concept or idea picked out for your portrait session before you have identified your participant and learned her story, please rethink your approach. Keep an open mind and let your participant's personal story inform your approach.
- Be open, connected, and creative. Apart from these guidelines, style and technique entirely up to you.
This Body of Work - The Website
- All portrait sessions must be complete and photos submitted by April 1, 2016.
- The website gallery will be launched in April, 2016.
- Three photographs of each woman will be published on www.thisbodyofwork.com, accompanied by her own words about her experience in the project.
- Your name and a link to your website will be included in two places on your participant's page and also on the project team page.
This will be the body of work.