It takes a lot for a photographer to share their work with the world.
Whether you're posting a photo on the internet or hosting a gallery, It takes courage. It takes pushing past your self doubt and conquering your fear of other people's opinions. It requires patience and acceptance with yourself when you don't meet your own expectations. It takes transparency, and a willingness to share the parts of you that may make you uncomfortable to have exposed to the world. Because deep down, you know that it will ultimately help you grow.
My very talented friend Kaitlyn has been doing all of these things, and more.
And just a few weeks ago for the first time, she had a showing of her series, Intimate, at 409 South Main.
Kaitlyn shared her story of her travels, the challenges she has over come, and the photographs that guided her. I already admired and looked up to her so much, but even more so after witnessing Intimate and hearing what these photos meant to her, and what they taught her about herself.
I had my Kowa 6 with me that night when I went to her gallery, and I took two photos of her. One in front of her favorite shot, and one in between two of my favorites.
Enough from me though, (sorry. I ramble.) Here's Kaitlyn and what Intimate meant to her.
"When I first began the Intimate series, I had no idea it would become such a powerful conversation starter, both within myself and between others. I felt that I was just creating to create, photographing to photograph - simply to explore themes of body landscapes and abstraction in my academic work. At the time, I felt that although the photos had significant value to me, they weren’t worthy of being considered "fine art." I ultimately needed another set of eyes (a professor of mine) to recognize the value of their message to encourage me to show them. Later, when I sat down to write the artist’s statement, I found myself in a moment where I recognized that my fascination with body image and the idealized standard of beauty stemmed from a self-loathing that I had buried deep. I can remember sitting at my desk at three in the morning, tears streaming down my face, and coming to terms with the monster.
Six months later I used the "Intimate" photos as part of the supporting research for my thesis defense on art therapy as a treatment for psychological disorders in adolescents. One member of my panel asked if I had seen a difference in my own self-image since capturing the photos. I thought for a moment and answered yes. It was then I realized through spending time with these images and mulling over their comforting themes I had begun a process of self-healing, which has continued with time.
Overall, I'm humbled by everyone's support of the collection and thankful for the opportunity to connect with so many people about eating disorders, art, art therapy, and photography. These are all topics I’m passionate about, and I'm thankful to be voicing awareness through my art. There's an unquantifiable amount of emotion invested in each piece, and I still feel a little self-conscious about putting it on display to say, "Hey look at me!" That's not really the type of person I am, but I had the encouragement of my husband, a friend and writer, several friends in the counseling/psychology world, and former professors. They told me it was a story worth telling and that it had power make a difference. And that’s absolutely been the case."