I am Venus
I make nude self-portraits primarily using color digital photography. I am an overweight woman and according to the Body Mass Index chart I am morbidly obese. I am shapely, curvy. There is excess. I am the Venus.
In my photographs, I do not wear makeup or clothing. I only wear platform stilettos. I am situated in a variety of interior spaces where I can stand, sit, and recline in provocative ways. The images are a record of a living sculpture, of a performance for the camera. I am a contemporary pinup.
I take all photographs myself with a shutter release remote. These are my “selfies.” Being alone in a space with my body is important to the work. I move around, sitting, standing, lying, squatting, turning. I see what my body can do and how it can move. Sometimes the excess gets in the way and my posing seems contrived, but I work it out. Being alone allows me to be free. I am able to interact with the camera without the anxiety of judgment or a stereotype about what is beautiful, sexy, expected. Rolls can hang free, breasts can dangle, gravity can do what it does- and it can still be beautiful because I own my body. In acknowledging the photographs as selfies I know they will be shared with a larger audience. So I pose for myself. I pose for the camera. And I pose for the perspective audience.
In the performance of the work I objectify myself but redefine the terms in which I am being objectified. I allow for the viewer’s gaze but I knowingly gaze back, self-assured. I never smile, but sometimes smirk. I am confident. I am in control. I invite, yet I reject. I am both the see-er and the seen.