Vitruvian Women invite
This body image project that will be displayed in the Gem Center for the Arts in Boise, Idaho as part of the Reveal Mission.
This project uses the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci as the inspiration - the drawing which depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with arms and legs apart in a circle and square. The image was originally about the proportions of the human body with an idealized nude male.
This new project, Vitruvian Women, highlights the many shapes, sizes and proportions of the female form. This includes adult women of different ages, ethnicity, skin tones, and physique. We will include women whose bodies have a story to share, examples include: pregnancy, stretch marks, scars, effects of gravity and age, results from surgery, and other life stories.
The finished installation will include a large 8x8 foot, black and white backdrop with a ghosted/fractaled image of a woman in the two superimposed Vitruvian positions. Attached to the poster will be 36 images of other women’s body variations. The purpose is to show the variety of the female form and illustrate there is not just one idealized size, shape, color, curve or proportion.
Underneath each print will be a statement from the woman about the image - her thoughts about that part of her body, the changes that have occurred, her struggle, her acceptance, or other body image/positivity message or story. The purpose is to give voice to these women, provide a platform for these stories, and encourage social engagement.
The project, once made public, will be updated monthly with different or rotating images. These images will not be shown in any sequence to represent one person, nor will any participants’ names be used on these images, prints, statements or media. All participants will remain anonymous unless they decide to share their identity themselves. The project will have a secondary location on an Instagram feed where the images will be covered with modesty squares when necessary. You can view the project here.
This project will include full body images (in the two Vitruvian poses), hair, head shots, face, chest, arms, hands, stomach, bikini area, back, butt, legs, and feet. We will also focus on a particular area to help share a body image story - such as scars, wrinkles, muscles, freckles, tattoos, etc. Each participant may indicate which body sections and poses they approve to be photographed and used for this project. Most of the images will be cropped to an 8x8 inch square perspective. However, if a different geometrical shape or crop works best for the participant or the image we will use that.
Photo shoot details
If a participant prefers to meet face-to-face and go over the details of the project I suggest meeting at the Reveal Mission studio/gallery as it gives them an opportunity to see other body image work I have created and show them where the installation will be displayed.
The interview can occur in a separate meeting from the photo shoot however most of the time we capture the interview portion and then take the portraits.
Please plan for 1.5-2 hours for the interview and photo shoot. The interview is the longest part of the process. The portraits take 30 minutes or less.
Participants will be recorded as they answer questions about their body image history and their outlook and perspectives on body positivity. Here are a few examples of what to expect:
What interests you about this project? Why did you choose to participate?
What do you want others to experience and understand from your stories and portraits?
What do you personally want to take from this experience? How does this propel you on your body image journey?
When did you realize that your physical body was part of your identity to be concerned about?
What did you learn from your family about body image?
What was your experience in school regarding your identity when it came to your physical body and adolescence?
What do you like about your body? How has it served you well?
What are your hangups about your body, the things that cause you tension and wish you could change?
What are the life stories that have happened to your body and how has that affected your life?
During the photo shoot we will leave the audio recorder running to capture statements that participants make about certain shots or areas of their body.
My photography studio is located in my home at 6000 W. Northview St. Boise, ID 83704. I have high ceilings in my living room that give great space for backdrops and lighting. It also provides privacy for taking these images.
You are welcome to bring a support person to the photo shoot, I only ask that they not be a distraction to you sharing. I will not bring any additional people at the photo shoot unless I communicate otherwise and you are in agreement.
Please do not wear clothing or undergarments that leave strap or elastic marks at least 30 minutes before the photo shoot. It is suggested you wear loose fitting clothing to the photo shoot. If there are marks we will need to wait until they dissipate. Please bring a robe or cover up to use during the photo shoot if there is a break in shooting.
Please refrain from wearing heavy makeup that drastically changes your natural look. Wear your hair however you would like and will be conducive to the photos we will take.
I have a prepared a contract for this project. The first page is a standard photo shoot release which also covers the audio recording, and the second page includes options specifically for this photo shoot. I will have a hard copy available for you before we begin shooting or you can print the two pages and bring them to the photo shoot.
Please bring photo ID which includes participant’s age/birthdate. A photo of this ID will be taken and kept with the signed contract.
Unless otherwise discussed there is no compensation for this body image project. I hope that you find value in being involved in this type of work and statement it is making. If you would like digital copies of the final images of you being used in the project please let me know and they will be provided to you via a private Dropbox folder.
The process after the photo shoot
The interview will be condensed into bite-sized stories and paragraphs. A document of these statements will be shared with the participant to edit, clarify and if needed, expanded on. Once approved these statements will be added to the post-processed images.
The photos will be processed and cropped into black and white prints with the attached statements. As mentioned above, the final images will be provided to you via a private Dropbox folder if requested.
For some people the idea of participating in this project may trigger significant emotions and reactions. These should not be ignored. Honor your spirit and be gentle with yourself. The idea of this project may cause you to wrestle with some issues, memories, and hurts - even abuse. Asking questions like, “Why am I feeling this way? What is this bringing up in me?” and “Where does this anxiety stem from?” can be very helpful. Find a therapist or a gentle soul and share with them. Your journey with vulnerability and healing could come from those conversations and not specifically from participating in this project at this time in your journey.
For other people it may be helpful to venture out past their comfort zone for the purpose of stretching and growing. This project is certainly out of most people’s comfort zones. It is stretching mine as well.
My hope for this project is that participants will be able to silence shame, disarm fear, celebrate uniqueness, honor their bodies, have a platform for sharing their stories, and help engage our culture in with courage and vulnerability.
If you’d like to discuss the project before committing one way or the other let me know. I don’t “need” anyone to participate so there won’t be any pressure to do so.
If you know any women who would be a good fit for this project please pass along this opportunity. I would like this show to be as diverse and inclusive as possible!
Contact me here if you are interested in participating or have any questions about the project.