Pain and Loneliness

Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Female Photographer of the Year, 2014 for this series.

I am an extremely private, concealed person, and I never allowed myself to be vulnerable. My whole life I have played the tough girl: for twenty-five years I earned my living as a Hollywood stuntwoman. In relationships I mastered the sweep-you-off-your-feet, typically male role of the pursuer, and in my family there was so much dysfunction that I learned how to bury my feelings. Expressing tender emotions or being vulnerable was never an option in any part of my life… until I fell in love.

It wasn’t the “being in love” that softened my hard exterior, it was when my love was no longer reciprocated. Being rejected re-opened my childhood wound of abandonment and threw me into an emotional tailspin. From there it was a short trip to shattered self-worth, obsession and then depression. At these times, at my deepest, darkest lows, when I was most vulnerable, I reached for the camera. These images are not about sexuality but vulnerability.

Rather than run from the depths of my loneliness, or revert to obsessive, compulsive or self-abusive behaviors, I chose to turn into the pain, let my guard down and surrender in front of the camera lens. My hope is these photos withhold as much information as they give. These un-retouched photos remind me how brave it is to be revealing, honest, and raw while showing my soft, feminine, vulnerable side. Instead of focusing on being naked, which is accidental, I like to think of the portraits as nudes which are purposeful, powerful and intentional. Exposing myself with such truth and authenticity is empowering and it is my way of telling my psyche that I am okay.