You are a strong proponent of showcasing the diversity of beauty in your photography, how will diverse representation in photography help shift ideas about body image?
The brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than it processes words. Imagery is the most powerful way to influence people.
And now with social media— every aspect of our lives are inundated with imagery. I was able to work on Straight/Curve, a documentary directed by Jenny McQuaile, as a featured artist. I am a plus size, Latina woman, and at the time one of the only photographers featuring diverse bodies in my work. The film focuses on the impact the fashion imagery has had on people, including hearing stories of industry insiders on their experiences behind the scenes. It highlights many of the current issues, as well as proposing realistic solutions to move the industry forward.
People (especially young people) look to the images they see in media to understand culture, and how they fit in, or how they don’t. When the imagery in media reflects a diverse range of people (size, shape, age, race, ability) everyone will be able to look to photography to see themselves represented. And this will send the message that “You are valued. You are beautiful, and you have a place in this world.” As photographers many of us neglect to consider the impact our work is having on people. We continue to photograph only one type of model, and collectively have contributed to a toxic and destructive beauty norm. One that excludes plus size women, women of color, differently abled women, and women over a certain age. I believe many of us have followed our “creative impulses” but fail to consider where those impulses come from, or what is informing our own ideas of beauty. We need to change that, we need to be conscious creators.