I have a lazy eye. This was the source of some serious bullying when I was a child. Not only did I have glasses, but I also had a patch. I was often referred to as “three-eyes”. Even after an uncountable number of operations to fix it, it came back, over and over again. Until at 16 I said stop. What was the point – I was going to be ugly anyway.
And then I got acne, and a bit of a belly, and no breasts, and no hips. Teenage me looked at others and saw how beautiful they were. That would never be me.
This insecurity continued throughout my adult life. And then increased even more when I had kids.
But then one day, my daughter told me she was ugly and was fat. Well. That was a wake up call. I began to look at myself, and censor my self criticism. I started talking about the positive things in my body.
I began to put myself in front of the camera. It was hard. At first I struggled to put my whole body in front, just an arm, a foot, a leg. And then my face, but covered, then slowly my body – fully clothed, of course. And as it got easier to be in front of the camera, I started to actually look at it. Straight at it – eyes open. The layers of clothing peeled off, and I stood there, as mother nature made me.
This journey will continue forever, but I hope that it will show my daughters that they are beautiful, even if they are different, and will stop this chain of negativity in its tracks.
You can follow my self portraiture journey through my blog, under the tag “self portraits“.
You can also read more about my project in my interview with For the Love of the Photograph.