Friday, November 9, 2012

The Fat Naked Art Project

I'm very proud of this set. It's the first set I 've done with other fat women who were as much into body acceptance as I was and whom I got to work one on one with. This is a  photo project in which I teamed up with photographer Travis McKeithan as well as several plus size women, including myself, to create beautiful nude art that showcases the fat body. We had four other women, myself, and Travis involved. First I'd like to introduce you to all of the models involved.

First up we have Casey

Photo by Travis McKeithan

Photo by Kolaya Photography

Casey participated in this project despite a broken back. I asked her why she waned to participate in this project and how it made her feel:

I wanted to do it partially because I love the Adipositivity project and have wanted to have Substantia Jones take similar I thought it was awesome that someone semi-local was doing something similar. I also wanted to reclaim my body. With everything that's been going on with my spine fractures, it's been hard to feel like this ever-changing body as mine. It made me feel awesome. I was initially nervous, but having people take photos of my body for it's beauty and it's uniqueness made me feel glorious.
 Next I'd like to introduce you to Christine:

photo by Travis McKeithan

Photo by Travis McKeithan

As we were chatting in between photos Christine told me about how she wanted to do this for her daughter who's an up and coming fat woman. As a mother myself I think it's just fantastic that Christine's daughter has a great role model for body acceptance. I asked Christine as well why she chose to do this project and how it made her feel;
I chose to do it because I want to "walk the walk" of Fat Acceptance for my daughter, and do more than pay lip service to my principles. I was nervous as hell (as evidenced by my constant chattering), but also empowered. My body is 45 years old, postpartum, 300+ pounds, beautiful, strong, sexy and awesome. Not one of those qualities precludes any of the others.

Next, Bethany

photo by Travis McKeithan

Photo by Kolaya Photography
 Bethany's response to why she wanted to be a part of this project and how it made her feel was:
I chose to participate because I like to spend time with my body in very intentional ways. I like to be take time to be direct with my body, to appreciate it and have it be seen. I've found being naked with people who look like me, and at the same time not like me, to be the kind of experience that really puts me in touch with myself and my community.
I used to spend time at a clothing-optional beach when we lived in NY. I don't think I'd ever been in a more body-positive space. All different ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities, classes, ways of grooming and presenting themselves. I loved every minute of it!
The Fat Photo Shoot was really wonderful. It took us some time to warm up, although no more than expected. But being naked and open with the group came naturally and easily and felt very right. I wish I had planned better to spend more time. I'm self-conscious about my lack of ease in front of the camera itself, but that was a small negative in a large and beautiful sea of positive. A+ experience, would totally do it again!

Jessica's up next

by Kolaya Photography

Photo by Kolaya Photography
Jessica was shy and didn't want us to use her face which means she also didn't participate in our group shoots. Jessica was, in fact, there to observe and hadn't intended to get naked and do any photos at all so I commend her on her bravery.

Next we have myself, Heather

Photo by Travis McKeithan

During my last shoot with Travis I thought to myself, "we need to see more naked fat people art" and I posted such on my facebook timeline to which Travis replied, "let's do it!". I've been excited for weeks about this project and I'm so happy to finally see it come to fruition even as we make plans to expand and continue it. I did this project because I'm enamored with fat art. I love seeing bodies just like mine  in a way that's not meant to shame or belittle or mock- where it's displayed for the sheer beauty of it. This shoot gave me a real sense of community and bonding with these wonderful women and I'm so proud to have been part of this.

Last up our esteemed photographer, Travis

Photo by Kolaya Photography

Photo by Kolaya Photography
Travis is, of course, the photographer I've been working with these past few weeks. He's been amazing and he's so easy to work with. When I posted that I wanted to see more fat naked people art he jumped right on the opportunity.

  I participated, with the thought in mind for support of women and men who have to deal with the stigmas that fat is ugly or unattractive, I feel that people in general are beautiful, and I wanted to be apart of what you lovely ladies where doing, kinda saying "fuck you" to standard thinking about who and should and should not participate in certain activities.
... and being a photographer, it was interesting, considering I am very comfortable with my body the nude aspect did not really bother me. It was a bit off, giving the control over to someone else, but I quite enjoyed it.

We're hoping to do this concept again soon so stay tuned everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Makeup Free Mondays- October

The month of October's No Makeup Monday photos. I decided to start doing No Makeup Mondays in order to show women everywhere that they're beautiful no matter what, even without the trappings of the beauty industry. Beauty is a concept that is literally sold to us and we can all do without it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bloggers, I need to talk to you

A while back I wrote a post called Vegans, I need to talk to you, to discuss the healthism and sizism that goes on in the vegan community. As a vegan myself I find it abhorrent that veganism has become just another fad diet to some and that people feel the need to justify it by tearing other people down. Today the shoe's on the other foot and bloggers- it's your turn. I'm tired of seeing veganism shoved into your blogs in paragraphs about eating disorders and diets. On tumblr I saw a blip just yesterday which said " making me want to hurl my uber-processed fast food milkshake all up in their homemade vegan-frosted faces. With a goddamn maraschino cherry infused with red dye #40 on top. ". Really? Is this what we're resorting to? Tearing down people who make lifestyle choices that are different from yours? Isn't that what you're upset about to begin with? Enjoy your processed milkshake, but don't threaten me just because my vegan lifestyle offends you. And, ironically, this post is about food shamers- while food shaming!And guess who gets food shame and body policed worse than fat people or vegans? That's right- fat vegans.

Part of HAES means being educated about the food that you put into your body and making choices based on your individual needs, wants, and reactions to those foods. So if I choose to eat veggies and hummus while you choose and sonic burger, why is that such a big deal? So healthism is when you discriminate and/or are intolerant of someone based on their health status. When you feel superior to someone because of the health choices they may or may not make- I talked about healthism in Vegans, I need to talk to you because it's a serious issue in the community. However, I don't see much of a difference in looking down on someone's food choices while feeling superior as a fat acceptance activist in the way described by that tumblr post.

And if you've mentioned veganism in fat acceptance, you know who you are. Veganism or vegetarianism shouldn't come up at all in your post unless you're specifically addressing sizism issues within the vegan community. It shouldn't be compared to an eating disorder, it shouldn't be called a diet. Because it's not. By it's very definition veganism is a lifestyle choice that seeks to end bullying and abuse- hey.. just like fat acceptance! It's not about losing weight, it's about trying to lessen/end animal cruelty, exploitation, and objectification. Vegans are people too and we come in all shapes and sizes. It's your turn to step back and check your presumptions at the door. Because all of this vegan shaming? It's, well, shameful. Now please, cut it the hell out.

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