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Not For Your Consumption

Artist's Statement

Sexuality, we are told, is a weapon to be wielded and directed; it is to be used for self-protection, as a tool for negotiation. We are told to keep our sexuality hidden, to reveal it only when necessary. Visibility reduces its power, depletes our ammunition.

This narrative is wrong.

Our sexuality is a language. It is a form of self expression. It is a tool of empowerment. In a way, it is our truest, most-authentic self. And that self should not be kept a secret.

This project aims to document, through the art of boudoir portraiture, the sexual journey of ordinary people, of all genders, sexual orientations, and body types. Each shoot is a snapshot of the sensuality of my subjects - it is their expression, and theirs alone.

 

These models are retail employees, IT professionals, sex workers. They are None Of Your Business. This project, it’s not for you.

And by engaging with this project, you are not consuming this art, you are participating in their journey.

The Journey

In March of 2018, Trump was in office, aggressively targeting both women and the LGBTQ+ community.  I remember feeling angry, hurt, and betrayed by my country.  I watched my community cry out in despair and anguish.  I watched those less privileged than me suffer atrocities at the hands of the divisive political climate.

 

This was also around the time Craigslist shut down the “Connections” area of their site, which is what many sex workers used to find clients, and were now forced to shift their efforts to other, more underhanded apps and platforms.  Many of them were outspoken about how much more dangerous their lives and work had become.  

 

Frustrated and hurt on their behalf, I wanted to do something.  Without really thinking it through, I put out a call on social media, asking if people from the community would be interested in a free boudoir photoshoot.  I felt these would have two purposes: either to use as marketing materials for those in the SW industry, or as a way to heal and overcome body dysmorphia.

 

I expected to get a handful of responses, a way to pilot the project and let it grow.  Instead, I was flooded with interest.  So much interest that I couldn’t keep up.  It was clear to me: this project was desperately needed.

 

That summer, I did as many photoshoots as I could, and tried to do one a week.  I wanted the project to be gender expansive, and had only one requirement: that I be allowed to post their photos online anonymously, with a short quote from them.  I felt it was important that the project be visible and accessible, in an effort to help those who could not participate.  Otherwise, the photoshoot was theirs.  I wanted it to be a way for them to express themselves, to take their power back.

 

Through the lens of a camera, I watched these individuals blossom.  Many of them, at first, were camera-shy and self-conscious, but about halfway through the shoot, I consistently saw a shift in their demeanor.  They were confident, they were vivacious, and they were Owning It.  In many ways, they were becoming the person they were meant to be.  The joy and satisfaction I felt from being able to facilitate such a transformation can not be encapsulated by the English language.

 

To this day, this is the most fulfilling project I have done.

 

I shut down this project because life got to be too much, and doing these shoots was a huge commitment.  But now, in the summer of 2024, it is clear to me the likely eventuality that history will repeat itself, and Trump will be re-elected.  I anticipate he will have had a taste of blood, and even more support.  I fear the day that happens.

 

And, if it does, I will re-open this project.  It might not be immediately, but it is important to fight back.  I choose to fight with love, openness, and acceptance.

 

I would like this project to grow.  So if you are yourself a photographer, and would like to work with me on this project, please contact me.

 

If you are a member of this community and feeling distraught and hopeless, remember that you are not alone, and love always wins.

“I am inspired by the artists, queers, activists, and rebels who challenge our expectations every day. I look towards the past for its brave fighters who have battled for what freedoms we have today. I admire the people around me who work to make our future better, even by just living their lives against the pressure of our society’s norms. People have inspired me to live my life as I choose, and hope for a better future.”

Per this model’s request, you can find her at:

 

https://www.fansly.com/r/littlefenne

"My biggest passion is for serving others.

I want everyone to have a great time. To look and feel their best. And to share in the joy that life has to offer. As a caregiver, or a best friend, my passion feels it’s fullest when I can provide for somebody I care about."

"From as early on as I could express an opinion on it, I’ve thought of myself as an artist. Over time, that word has slowly changed meaning for me. For a long time, I thought it meant that I was supposed to be a commercial illustrator. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life pursuing that dream, arguably quite successfully, although not really successful in any commercial sense. At some point a few years ago, I realized that commercial success wasn’t all that fulfilling anyway, and that what I really wanted to do with my life is to make things that matter to people.

My fulfillment comes in creating things that improve people’s lives and bring them joy. I used to say that my goal in life was to create something every day that made others happy, whether that something was a website, a painting, or a hot meal. These days, as much as I still feel fueled every time that something I’ve made touches someone else, I also try to think hard about the impact I can have on the larger world around me. Art can save the world. If I call myself an artist, then it is my ongoing responsibility to keep trying to do just that."

“Being transgender is not something I ever asked for, wanted, or chose. It is a part of who I am and I love it for all its ups and downs (there are lots of both). Right now, I am being told by the government that I should not be allowed to exist for who I am, that gender is the same as sex and that I should not be. This stuns, shocks, and appalls me. I am an incredible human. I am strong and powerful and some damn hot stuff. I am alive and I plan to live a long life to its fullest. No one should be allowed to stop me from doing that. No one. And I don’t intend to let them.”

“I can’t count how many times I’ve almost given up on myself. I’ve come close to ending everything when I hit rock bottom. But I don’t. I never give in, even when it seems like the easy thing to do. There are a lot of things about myself that need mending; I’m one of those people that knows I’m not perfect, but I only see my flaws and wrongdoings. I’m trying to learn how to forgive myself, and in that process how to love myself. One thing I can say is, I’m proud of me for not having given up on myself yet. My perseverance will always hold me up when I need it to, and I’m thankful for that.”