Posted at 21:56 on 1 Dec 2011 by Pandora / Blake
I recently travelled up to Manchester to shoot with the lovely Phil Mairs in a fantastic studio located in an old industrial mill building. We had great fun exploring some evocative art nude (he wanted a sort of "abandoned" feel to them - oh no! As I'm sure you can imagine, I didn't like that idea one bit) and even some spanking-themed photos.
I'm still a bit shy about doing this sort of photographic modelling at the moment. Although I'm a bit happier with my body now than I was earlier this year since I started working out a bit more intensely and improving my strength, my body seems determined to stay a size 12-14 without resorting to unhealthy starvation tactics - which, sorry, no - and I do still struggle with the idea that I should be more slender than that.¹ My current plan is simply to carry on getting fitter and trust that as long as I'm healthy and strong, over time I'll learn to accept whatever shape I end up. Improving my upper body strength is proving very satisfying in itself, so it's not all foolish vanity!
Anyway, Phil was great to work with and very affirming, and although I felt a bit nervous and out of practice I really enjoyed the shoot. The resulting photos included some beautifully atmospheric images which I liked very much, and with his permission I wanted to share some of them with you:
1. I confide this sort of thing because I think it's important to talk about it. This stuff affects everyone. Porn performers can have poor body image; thin people struggle with this. People you think are attractive can still have poor body image. Please be gentle with me about this topic. Several people have left well-meaning comments telling me effectively to shut up and stop fussing. If it were that easy, if there were a switch I could flick, I promise you I would have by now. I know you mean well but the result is that I'm feeling told off, dismissed, and it's making me very reluctant to talk about this in future. I know I'm being irrational; in many ways I have great self-image and a lot of self-love, and it varies from day to day. But my ongoing struggles, where they exist, are real and it's not possible for me to just turn them off because you tell me to.
I try to be upfront about body image issues because I think it's a systemic problem and it's worth talking about. If you want to help, don't tell me to shut up and stop whining: fight body fascism where you encounter it. Buy porn starring fat performers. Complain to advertisers, TV and film producers who only use skinny models and actors. Support people fighting for body diversity in our media.
Okay, rant over. Thanks for the compliments. I know you mean well.