In my latest body of work, Corps Céleste, or (Celestial Bodies), I am exploring the idea that trauma can result in constructive outcomes through intensive self-reflection and exploration. Working with an intensive outpatient program has helped me to learn resilience. I have discovered that my destructiveness stems from the abuse in my past. My intention in this work is to contrast the harsh traumas surrounding eating disorders with the organic, pure form of the female body, juxtaposing organic objects with their cast shadows. I am making unsexualized images of the female body comprised of skin and shadow. In Corps Céleste, I express the concealed interior conflict of how women see their own bodies compared to an unachievable ideal. I explore areas of the body around which many women feel self-consciousness, shame or comparative dissatisfaction.
The photography of contemporary artist Ralph Gibson has had a profound influence on my work. Gibson communicates the more suggestive nuances of the female body, utilizing dreamlike juxtaposition and meaningful negative space. My work is similar to Gibson’s because we are both exploring the female form through photography, deconstructing the female form and reinventing how it can be perceived on a global level. While Gibson focuses more on the sensual, I desired to interpret the female body from a different perspective, manifesting the elegance and purity of the female form in an honest, unadorned and natural way. I believe that women should be portrayed in a manner that neither sexualizes nor demeans them, but instead speaks to the complex dynamic between their interior being and exterior selves.
My initial thought was to focus on the delicate subject of women’s bodies in order to show honor to the female body as a temple. Further reflection revealed this approach as indulgent self-deception. I am conflicted about seeing the female body as a temple, because while I have a genuine love of the idea of female form, I do not experience love for my own body. This deeply ironic and mocking disassociation became apparent during the combined processes of therapy and photography. Due to my new realization of being disassociated from my body, I chose to divide my series into two groups, color, to distinguish the reality of a woman’s body, and black and white, to represent the fantasy of the body women want. My artistic approach has given me a vehicle to constructively confront my past traumas and mental diagnoses instead of running from them. My hope is that both my audience and I can benefit by facing these traumas and revealing these truths.