My name is Aspen Blain and I am a photographer. Recently, I took a photography class that was trying to re-invent the female nude in fine art. We had an emphasis on body acceptance. This class taught me more than any class I had ever taken.
I had a talk from Melissa McEwen, we looked at work from Women en Large and The Full Body Project, and my life changed in front of my eyes. What I was looking at were fat women who looked beautiful and who, as far as I could see, felt beautiful. Unfortunately, every time I saw these fat beautiful women I could make an excuse why I was not. Her fat is more evenly distributed while mine is a pouch around my tummy, she has more of an hourglass shape and I don’t, her body just looks better proportionately than mine does.
This is where one of our assignments came in. We had to take a nude self-portrait, both at the beginning and end of the semester, and reflect on how we felt about them during both times. When I took my first nude portrait I found out one thing: I looked a lot like the fat women who I felt were beautiful. Most of us have a pouch on our tummies, and not everyone is bottom heavy, some people are top heavy like me. My fat rolled softly in a beautiful way just like theirs. I cried, and decided to be my own model for the whole class. I took some beautiful snapshot looking photos of myself for my final series and loved them, but was still too scared to show them to people.
After this class, I started following blogs and Facebook pages that focused on body acceptance, and I became more and more inspired and happy. I wanted to passively support this movement, until recently. I’m in an advanced photo class now where we are working on a series of our choice and trying to get out work as a show in a gallery. I’ve never thought of myself as an artistic photographer and nothing really moved me, until I thought about this movement. I realized, I could use my own beautiful body to inspire and motivate women the same way I was a few months ago. This photo is my art now, where I’m starting with it.
My name is Aspen, and I am a fat, happy, beautiful, love-deserving woman. There’s no reason you can’t be too.