From taking photos on a morning hike to capturing the sky full of stars in Northern Wisconsin, taking photos has proved to be a creative outlet for me. Being able to capture emotions, colors and memories in one moment is powerful. It is a way for me to document how I see the world–to capture a brief moment–to directly interact with time and space.
During my senior year of college, I was working on a project having to do with sexuality and womanhood. Within my research phase, I happened to stumble across the profile of Ev’Yan Whitney on Instagram. A few months into following her profile she debuted her #senusalselfiechallenge to her thousands of followers. I decided to jump all in and participate in this 5-day photo challenge–little did I know the impact that it would make in my process of self-discovery.
Below are my five photos from the latest #sensualselfiechallenge that took place in September of 2018.
I never thought that photography–particularly self-portraiture–would be such a large part of my healing process. Somehow taking selfies in my bedroom became essential in finding my way back to myself: physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc.
For the first time in my life, I was able to fully embrace my sensual side, my femininity, my raw beauty that shines from the inside-out. The best part was that I wasn’t doing it alone, I was celebrating my femininity with thousands of other women + femmes online. Connecting with one another, lifting one another up, being able to encourage other women while putting yourself out there in confidence– it was extremely powerful, emotional and freeing.
The world we live in today is changing, and the women’s movement is growing, we are re-defining our power and within that, we are re-claiming our bodies as our own. Taking photos of myself was extremely powerful. Self-portraiture reminds me of my raw beauty and allows me to think deeply about what it means to be a woman living on this planet. I look at parts of myself that I am shameful of–my stomach, my stretch marks, my thighs–but instead of hiding those parts of myself, self-portraiture allows me to celebrate every inch of myself, to be FULLY human, to experience my body completely.
Self-portraiture allows for a unique view on self-reflection… one of the most incredible things about self-portraits is watching how they change over time. For example, my first photo series for the #sensualselfiechallenge is completely different from the black and white photo series I took this Valentines Day. I was in a different place last Spring–physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. I was in the beginning of this personal growth journey that has become such a part of my everyday life: self-reflection, yoga, meditation, manifestation, reading the Bible, deep breathing, etc.
Through self-portraiture, I allowed myself to be seen. I had to start practicing vulnerability through creativity, through sense of self, and that has transformed my mind completely. Vulnerability and being “real” with my life is one of the things I strive to do every day. I want to show all of myself to this world, even the broken, shattered parts of myself–because those parts are still me–and always will be me. I’m able to process what I have been through, how those things got me to today and ponder my personal goals for the future.
In art, and in life, creativity connects us to our inner child–whether you believe you are “creative” or not–trust me, you are. I challenge you to get into self-portraiture, use the timer on your phone, blast your most cherished playlist and allow yourself to be seen. Being you is being vulnerable and being vulnerable is allowing yourself to be fully human, so dig in deep–allow yourself to feel alive with all your being. If you continue this practice, just wait and see how much growth starts to shine through your portraiture over time. Sending peace & love to all. 🙂
P.S. You don’t have to post your self-portraiture online, in fact you don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to–I never post the majority of my photos. Do with it what you want, just do it. Allow yourself to be human, to create, to express and to worship the life that has been given to us through creativity.