Torso

Photography in the form of classical sculpture.

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Brandi

When you get to photograph a dancer… Brandi is 6 months pregnant in this photo, by the way.

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No Mud, No Lotus

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I’ve had a lot of darkness in my life… My father died when I was just a baby, and my mother couldn’t care for me, so my grandparents raised me. My family didn’t really get along, and seemed to constantly be at war. From an early age I was told how to wear my hair, what to wear, what music to listen to, how to act, and who to be. My entire life was dictated and it seemed there was nothing I could do against it. Everyone wanted something different from me, I had to learn how to be a different person for every person I was around. I never got to be me, or even figure out who “me” was. As I got older, things worsened for me. I was molested at 11, my family was still fighting. I was so depressed, that I started cutting myself. I was oppressed, and always made to feel guilty for who I was or what I wanted. Was there no other life for me than what they wanted me to be? I ran away from home at fourteen, and when the police asked if I would go back home with them, I said no. I went to a group home for a while, which was actually not too bad. The housemothers were really nice, and I will never forget them. Then I bounced around to several different foster homes. Although I was not promiscuous, I was made to be on birth control just like they did to every girl in the system that had become of age. We had no choice over our own bodies. I was treated as a source of income, then had horrible lies told about me so that they could get rid of me and move on to the next child. I was raped at fifteen, and I still fear open doors at nighttime. Not every house was bad though, and I did make some friends. Then the time came when I was asked if I would return home, I said yes. But I was only allowed to come home if I went to church. While I was against being forced into yet another box they were trying to force me into, I agreed because it was better than what I had been going through in the system. After I graduated high school, I got married as a way of running away from home again. We ended up moving all the way to Texas. We fought all the time, and abuse was the norm. But it gave me my two little girls, who gave me new reason for life. I left my husband, and met Mike. We fell in love, and got pregnant with our first son. But it was too soon. I was far too damaged from the abuse to have a healthy relationship, and he wasn’t ready. So we separated and the girls, our unborn son, and I moved back to Indiana. We were homeless for a while, and depended solely on the kindness of family and dear friends, and a pair of complete strangers who I will never forget as long as I live. We finally got a house, and I gave birth to my beautiful oldest son. I got a job, and my first car. Things were difficult, but started to really look up for us. Eventually, Mike and I got back together and he moved in with us. Things were really hard for quite a while, but we were working on it. We got married, had another beautiful son, and moved into the home that we have now. It’s taken me quite a while, but I am learning more and more about who I am, and becoming the person I want to be. We are finally happy, truly happy. I’ve never had that before in my life. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, because I don’t know how to be happy, but I’m learning…

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I tell you this long, horrible story so that you can see the hell I went through, and that life turned around for me. It can for you too. Whatever you’re going through or have been through, don’t let that hold you back. Don’t let that define you. Discover who you are, who you’re really meant to be. Be the strong individual you are and rise above it. It may be a long, scary, horrible road. But you can do it. My favorite saying is, “No mud, no lotus”. Even the lotus has to grow and push through the mud to finally reach the sunlight. Your suffering and unhappiness is just the mud, don’t get stuck in it… PUSH. Grow toward the light, and toward your happiness. You can do it.

In the model’s own words.

I am Free

All my life, I have been a victim of body shaming.
It started when I was a child, before I even became overweight.
Other people told me I wasn’t good enough. Then once I learned how, I spent my life shaming myself. I didn’t look like the girls in magazines or on TV. I wasn’t especially talented at anything in particular.IMG_5866wI had a hard life at home, being abused and told that I wasn’t worth a damn.
Even after I escaped my home situation, I came down hard on myself. The shaming didn’t stop, because I myself believed those words.
One day I finally realized. I am strong. I’ve been through more than some people could take.IMG_5873wI AM WORTH IT.
My weight does not define me.
Other people’s words do not define me.IMG_5847wI am free.
And I finally feel beautiful.

– The model’s own words.

At Peace

We all have, whether we be men or women, roads that must be traveled, and many times those roads are rather rocky. Such is the case for this model and friend. She appeared here in a different image a few weeks back. It was the scar on her side in that image, created as a result of a childhood surgery. In this image I merely asked her to close her eyes and let herself wander to a different place. Perhaps a smoother road. Perhaps a road ahead.

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