Tag Archives: woman

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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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.

Untitled 2

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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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