Around a two years ago I locked myself in a studio for three hours and received six different unknown people separately to photograph them naked. The only thing I said in the ad was that I was only interested in people with insecurities. All who wrote were women, except for this guy. He asked if I wanted to see pictures of himself before but I didn't. I open the door. He is shy and nervous. Smiling the whole time, like letting me know he is okay. He goes to the background and starts talking about the mental list of things he dislikes about himself, pointing at them while he takes his clothes off. Very slow and very calm. No filter. No sadness or frustration either, just sharing himself. He is beautiful and this intimacy so new to me. I feel completely guilty enjoying the moment so much, but. Curiosity wins so I keep asking, he keeps telling me. At some point, I comment on how great his body hair looks in the camera. It is very true. He explains he used to be hairier but cancer left his body like this in his early twenties. He excuses himself, worried that it might make me feel uncomfortable. I remember him he is naked in front of me sharing every part of himself, so it is fair I get a bit of uncomfortableness too. He laughs and I try to think what I would like to hear if I would have cancer now. But I haven't, so I just ask how he felt. He keeps telling me about it, very grateful for not being sick anymore. I feel so proud of him. And too many other things, and we've shared only 25 minutes together. I ask him why he wanted to come to the session and he says he just had to, because we really need to see a different kind of bodies more often, and that was bigger than the shyness and the fear.
I've been all this months trapped in many different conflicts with this project. It is very delicate when you're working with the intimacy of others and you're not sure about the impact it will have. But I remembered this conversation with him and felt it was stupid not to do it.