I was picking through my breakfast last Saturday morning, staring at the eggs and grits, talking with my friend and mentor. I was telling her my fears for the project. These fears, I know, are just another form of resistance. Something else to keep me from my work. I’ve been “taking pictures” for five years now. I thought that’s what I wanted. But there was always something missing.
When I patted a newborn to sleep in the patient dance that is a newborn session.
When I chased a toddler around a park or even in my studio.
When I encouraged a couple to show their love for each other so I could capture it in an engagement session.
When I was present for the bride trailing her dress down the aisle.
When I kidded with a high school senior to get their essence in an image.
Something was missing.
It made me sad. Witnessing all these beautiful occasions for my clients made me sad. I didn’t live these moments so precious to everybody else. When my babies were born there was no celebration for a teenage mother. When my girls were toddlers I was in survival mode. No engagement session ever happened for me. The white wedding I had was a farce. No Senior pictures for a high school drop out.
I can engage. I’m an extrovert. I can walk the walk and talk the talk. I did good work. I know I did. I made people happy. But it wasn’t enough.
“This project is the most you of anything you’ve ever done”, said my friend over the table.
So then I knew it. I’ve been committed to The Hostage Project for a month now. It was an electric shock through my body the second I conceived it. This is what I’m meant to do. I know it looks dark. The images you’ve seen of it are disturbing. They’re not fun to look at like the happy fluffy family occasions. But there’s nothing missing. I wake up in the morning thinking about it. I go to bed doing the same. It makes me full. So, what kind of person is left wanting by happy occasions and fulfilled by what appears to be dark and painful? Me. Why?
The goal of Hostage is for each image to elicit a strong emotion and to call attention to the physical, verbal, and emotional abuse women are subjected to. I am exploring the societal and self imposed ideas responsible for women’s literal and physical bondage in modern times.The visibility of this project will encourage women to break out of their bonds.
Additionally, I wish for the project to affect every person involved; the model(s), assistant(s), donors and gallery attendees. I encourage each individual to examine what holds them back from prosperity and to overcome it. This project is about putting broken people back together.
Again I ask WHY?
THIS PROJECT IS THE MOST ME OF ANYTHING I’VE EVER DONE.
If you can support me I’d be forever grateful. Please click over and watch the video and read the mission. It matters.