Noni approached me after seeing the images of a friend who I had photographed earlier this year, writing, “After struggling my entire life I’m finally starting to appreciate this imperfect body of mine and it is very freeing…. I guess maybe I think it would help me on that journey as well as maybe help another woman on hers.”
I quickly accepted her offer to pose and we made arrangements for a session, but I could feel something on the other end of the messages – an unsure-ness. This is common. I liken it to – jumping out of an airplane. There’s only one way to know that the parachute will open – to jump and pull the cord.
Four days before the shoot I received a long message from Noni – telling me her story. Here’s part of what she said:
“This body and mind have never found their way to harmony with each other in these 35 years they’ve had together. This year I am trying very hard to find a way through that and to make peace with this body and even find a way to appreciate it and love it.” She told me about sexual abuse, and miscarriages, and then a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis four years ago – “It just confirmed what I had already known, I got the defective model in the body department,” she said.
There was also powerful success in what she said – raising three beautiful daughters, running a half marathon.
But in the end, negativity always wins, as she said, “I felt like this body was ugly, disgusting and the enemy.”
But in these images I can see, and I hope Noni and everyone can as well, that your body – YOU – are a work of art.