Tag Archives: female

Loud Mouth

In response to the thirty million people whole lost their healthcare overnight and to the fifty-five million women who will no longer be able to afford birth control. Women who are no longer given the simple human right to be in control of our own fucking bodies. The only thing that truly belongs to us, nothing was ever promised. We were never entitled to anything, other than what we were born with. Skin. Thats all. Skin. If we aren’t allowed to be the boss over our own bodies, then what can we control? In a time when abortions are next to illegal, overpopulation and a limited resource epidemic, climate change; more women are left without access to birth control?!  When you think about it, they are telling us that we aren’t allowed to decide whether or not we want children, suppressing our libido and keeping us in check. It is a mans world after all. We all better behave. To live in a country whose leaders don’t care about the safety and wellbeing of other people, says a lot about the place. It is clear that according to the current political structure, and perhaps for previous political structures, humanity is expendable.

Recently, I have begun taking self-portraits again. My self-portraits usually obscure my face, blur my features and fall somewhere in-between abstraction and narrative. In talking about gender without actually portraying gender, the conversation becomes about the neutrality of gender itself. Gender roles are learned behaviors, we don’t come out of the womb “knowing how to sew” if we are born with female genitalia. The same goes for people born with male genitalia, the genitals you’re born with don’t determine your gender either. Sometimes the universe gets it wrong. I always attempt to encompass my feminine and masculine energy into my self-portraits, because both are equally important.

In a culture where they tell you that exercising your freedom of speech is unlawful, be loud. Scream if you must, stand up and demand human rights. As a woman, living in a patriarchal society, where men tell me what to do with my body, determine how much money I make, what I should be doing with my life, whether or not I should bear children, get married etc, its important for me be bold, daring and unapologetic.

This is my loud mouth.

 

Loud Mouth

 

 

 

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Scream Silent

Two months without a post, I feel like thats the longest I’ve ever gone. I have been shooting a lot of photographs over the last two months, compiling a body of work for this new direction  I fell into, sort of by accident, which does not surprise me. I’ve fallen into a lot of things, seemingly by accident in my life. I will begin posting the images I’ve been shooting after I complete this post. I have been absolutely loving it. I am ready to take the work to the next step, and I plan on telling you all about it.

Despite my connection to the new body of work, I have felt an immense disconnection to the world in which I inhabit. The state of affairs is frightening and maddening at the same time. It’s devastating and absurd. I want to reach out to fellow human beings and say, “Why are you so fucking angry?” all the while I sit here biting my fingers and furrowing my brow, in disgust at the motivation behind such atrocities. The ignorance behind it all, the willful ignorance is enough to make me vomit. My heart has broke many times as of late. I wake up, and scream silently into my pillow, in hopes to meet catharsis for breakfast, before I go about my day.

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Shedding

How many times undone can one person be? Ani DiFranco once said. The skin will always be there, until it sheds. Shedding is destruction on the most molecular level. The dead cells of our skin flake away slowly over time until, every seven years or so, our body has completely regenerated itself. Every cell has been replaced by a brand new cell. Every seven years, we essentially become new. Reborn.

We shed more then skin.

I bleed for several days, once a month. I shed the lining of my uterus because I’m not having a baby. Metaphorically speaking, what is washed out with my menstrual blood is more than just the lining of my uterus. It sheds the bad day I had last week, it sheds every time I allowed a person to hurt me, it sheds my vulnerability, my fear, my regrets, my loneliness, my anger. It reminds me that I, in fact, am still human, it allows me to feel and let go of things that don’t deserve my head space or emotional energy. Every full moon, I bleed. Every full moon, I start over. Female sex organs are located in the second chakra, The Sacral Chakra. This is the epicenter of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection. The energy of this chakra allows you to let go, to move, and to feel change and transformation occurring within your body. It allows you to experience this moment as it is, in its own fullness. This is also the chakra in which life is made. Every month I am reminded of my feminine power. I can make life, I can make breath. Whether I choose to or not, is not the point. The point is that I can.

In this world, in which we all live, it’s easy to forget. Us girls are still considered second class, and once upon a time menstrual blood was considered sacred. Our uterus is in the sacral chakra after all.

This is me shedding.

Shedding

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Completely Me

I recently went to my very first burn. LOF 2015. It was such a transformative experience, that I decided to stop shaving my armpits and stop wearing deodorant. Something shifted within and I embraced my true self. Animal instincts, flaws, awesomeness and everything else that makes me, me.

I began contemplating the concept of gender. The more I tried to decipher the difference between men and women (for mere observational reasons) the more the differences seemed to disappear. Simply, we are all human, both animalistic and intelligent beings alike. We have hair in “unwanted” places and repress some of our most basic instincts to keep up appearances with society. Where is the freedom in that? Nina Simone recently taught me that, “to be truly free is to live without fear.” It doesn’t seem to get more real than that. It also takes guts, to push the boundaries of what society says is acceptable and unacceptable.

Furthermore, gender roles are learned behavior, we are taught what “being a lady” is supposed to look like, what “being a man” means. I’m here to tell you, its all bullshit. All babies begin as female, for lack of a better term, men have nipples because they develop faster in the womb than the rest of our sexual organs.

So this begs the question, what really separates us, if anything at all?

Completely Me

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Loving Cup

After staying up all night, the evening of July 4th, in the early morning hours I took this image. It was slightly accidental, yet it was the best photo I took the whole trip. It is excessively feminine, as it reminds me of female genitalia… Does it not? The color red just adds a fiery intensity that works exceptionally well, in my opinion. Very Georgia O’Keeffe, which I’m ecstatic about, as she is one of my many heroes. I respect all women quite a bit, however, there are a few select women in history, that have a very special place in my heart. Georgia O’Keeffe is one of them. I used to be in a somewhat “teacher/pupil”  intimate relationship with one of my old friends and mentor a few years ago. The intimacy ended up ruining the friendship in the end, and during that time I struggled with losing both my mentor and my friend; while also preparing for a show in New York. It was an odd polarization to be experiencing. At a bar one night, a friend of mine reminded me, “You outgrew your mentor. Even Georgia O’Keeffe outgrew her mentor.” As a photographer, I was and am aware of the love affair and mentorship that happened between Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Alfred was a photographer, he photographed Georgia often. But, eventually she did outgrow him, and went on to make some of her best work, on her own. I respect her fiercely for this very reason. Whenever I struggle with letting go, I think about her.  

Loving Cup

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My Chastity Belt

When I first began taking my self-portraits last summer, I had every intention on making each one severely out of focus, then I thought, where is the skill in that?! (however it is quite a bit harder than it looks in maintaining consistency) This image, was one of the early ones. I call it, My Chastity Belt simply because it appears to be quite the opposite. A woman bound by sexual desire, dripping with the sweat from her own body and perhaps someone else’s, both beautiful and disgusting. A work of art and a mechanism. Sex for fun and sex to make life. Again, duality is in everything.

I began thinking about sex in general and what it actually means. Sex, like the human form is both beautiful and grotesque in and of itself. I mean, we’ve all done it, we know the sounds, fluids, grunts and whatever else it makes. For me personally, I always think of the Black Widow spider or the Preying Mantis during sexual encounters. I am often reminded that sex is the closest we can get to another person without actually consuming them, unlike the aforementioned species. I think that is beautiful. I also fully get why both the Black Widow and Preying Mantis consume their mate.

But then I began thinking of women who rely on sex day to day, specifically prostitutes or porn stars. I realized that in some cases sex itself is the chastity belt. If you become so bound by a sexual lifestyle, is there room left to enjoy it? Or is it another chore like most things in life, once they become trite and mundane? This image represents sex as the chastity belt. Being overly sexed, forced to have sex, reliant on sex… It sounds exhausting. Don’t you agree?

My Chastity Belt

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Self

I took this last summer, right after I shaved my head. In January of 2014, I turned 30. It was a milestone for me, I kicked my 20’s out the door like a bad habit. I felt ready. Ready to take on whatever came my way. And… things came. Things I am not willing to discuss publicly, but things that will be embedded in my final piece of this project and gifted to you as my viewer. When those things seemed to fall apart, I made the executive decision to shave my head. I have had some rendition of a pixie haircut since 2008 and have been very connected to my androgynous side for many years. When I shaved my head it was for no one but myself. I didn’t donate my hair to Locks of Love or shave my head for St. Baldricks, there is nothing wrong with charity, in fact I am a big fan, however, there was something about it being just for me that was truly special. At that time, I did it to maintain my own sanity. As drastic as that sounds, its the truth. In shedding this piece of my physical identity, it allowed me the clean slate to reinvent who I was, cause at that time, I wasn’t exactly sure anymore.

I surprised myself in feeling more FEMININE as opposed to feeling more MASCULINE or ANDROGYNOUS. I found myself wearing a lot more sun dresses and earrings became my best friend. I suddenly saw my face, without any hair to frame it. My eyes got bigger, my cheekbones much more pronounced. I was the snake that shed its own skin in order to grow new skin in its place.

What have I become?

My sweetest friend

Everyone I know

Goes away in the end

Hurt by NIN resonated in my ears during that time, and I did what I only know how… Shoot. So I began my journey exploring who I am, with the only weapon I have. My camera. And this is what came out. Again. Unfinished, but here is the first layer of the onion.

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Self

As I explore myself by turning my camera on myself, I realize just how much I have to say. There is something about reaching inside and pulling something out as opposed to looking outward for my subject and pulling that subject in. In the last several months I have been exploring self-portraiture. As Voltaire said, “I hate writing but love having written.” That sums it up pretty precisely for me. I have been identifying mostly as an expressionist, somewhat like a painter if you will. Less so as a photographer while I continue to pick apart my insides and put them up in display.

Here is a sneak peak of what I’ve been up to the last several months… They are far from finished. They will not look much like this when they are done. I need to encaustic, collage, paint, write, draw and manipulate them quite a bit more. I felt like sharing the general idea of where I am going. I am learning that with self-portraiture, everything is pre-visualized. Very little is left up to chance. I chose to use split-tone to emphasize the dual nature of being. For example, feminine/masculine, order/chaos, bitter/sweet, yin/yang. I feel that we are constantly at war with ourselves, fighting the duality that exists within us and around us. I feel it is through acceptance that we will finally be set free. I chose blue and yellow based on what both of those colors represent. Enjoy!Untitled 1

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A tribute to Patti Smith: My Personal Hero.

Greetings beautiful people,

I feel the need to take a break from my everyday photo posts to share something that I feel is pertnant to the world, especially the art world.

This may very well be my most controversial blog post yet, but I feel compelled to pay homage to one of my personal heroes; Patti Smith. I also feel compelled to give her the credit as the powerful and smart woman she is by playing what I believe to be her Magnum Opus; Babeloqoe into Rock ‘N’ Roll Nigger. I am fully aware of the fact that me using that word could raise some eyebrows, however, it is not meant to be directed at anyone personally. In the song, she talks of many people that were brilliant people, the common denominator is that each and every one of them had a hard life, they all had to struggle. Whether it was personal success, mental illness or just identity. They struggled.

What I find to be beautiful about humanity is that each and every person on Earth knows struggle and hardship. It is relative, sure, but is is a universal language of being alive and human. A friend of mine once told me that there are only three for sure things in life; birth, death and suffering. It could be labeled as a very Buddhist approach, which is perfectly fine, but I feel it is a very humanistic approach. Isn’t it somewhat our suffering that helps define us as the people that we are? Isn’t it the growth from those lessons learned that force us to change in some way? And if it weren’t for learning from our mistakes, wouldn’t we still be “touching a hot oven”?

This song is my fave go to song for inspiration for myself as a woman, myself as an artist, myself as a person in this world.

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