I went to the beach earlier this week. During my few hour stay, I witnessed three different photo shoots. They all involved barely dressed girls posing for men.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against girls wearing whatever they want to wear for a photo shoot. But when I look at girls being told to stand on their toes in the sand to imitate the way high heels make their legs and butt look, it makes me wonder… Would that picture change if it was a woman behind the camera trying to make the model feel beautiful and sexy instead of a man trying to make the model look “hot”?
Now, I am certainly not saying that every male photographer out there that day was disregarding the model’s feelings or objectifying the women. But it makes me wonder why we so often as women are being viewed through the male gaze. Why weren’t some of those girls being photographed by women? Why wasn’t anyone shooting shirtless males in swim trunks flexing their biceps? And why do beach shoots tend to automatically result in either one of those one-dimensional and sexist portrayals of human sensuality?
While mulling all of this over on the beach, I was inspired to start writing a manifesto for my own photography and film making. Part of it reads, “The goal of my photography is to make women (& men) feel beautiful and empowered. The point is to showcase a different side of someone, not to cover up what makes them shine. I believe in making someone feel like the best version of themselves.”
I tell you guys this not to toot my own horn but to first of all, ask you all to keep me accountable, to put it out there publicly as a standard to hold myself to. I also want to challenge all of you guys to be intentional about the way that we treat other people. It is so easy, especially in the entertainment industry, to treat people as currency and a means to an end. I have been challenged lately to be more intentional about the way I conduct myself in relationships. Sometimes this means reaching out, sometimes it just means making the extra effort to be polite and courteous, and sometimes it means choosing not to go out if I know that I cannot give the best of myself to the people I’m with.
I also want to use the power that I currently have to change the world as I see it. “Be the change you want to see,” right? I want to use my photography, my films, my art as a whole to challenge the way that women and men are being portrayed. I want to try to let them feel beautiful, powerful and sexy from the inside out not the other way around. I want to allow beauty to come from both strength and weakness. I want to get away from portraying women as victims and object of lust. I want to create multi-dimensional male characters who are able to show emotion without it being a weakness.
Excited for the journey ahead and the passions God is stirring up in my heart as I draw closer to Him. Will keep y’all posted…