Entry Title: "Imperfection as Reality"
Name: Keirston Goforth , United States
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective, Non-Professional
Entry Description: A series of self portrait nudes dealing with the impact media has on women and body image. These images highlight the most imperfect parts of my own body in an attempt to gain my own acceptance of imperfection as reality.
Story: I’m fat. I used to say it to myself every day, multiple times per day. I don’t look like Miss America, Barbie, or the countless models and actresses I see in magazines. I have wrinkles, cellulite, scars, and excess fat.
The reality is that I weigh 130 pounds and I’m healthy. I started working on this series so that I could really see myself and grow to love my body even though it is imperfect, because, as a photographer, I know that no body is perfect. Photoshop is perfect.
Even knowing the tricks available in Photoshop that make people look more perfect than they already do, I still cringe when I pass by a mirror. When someone wants to take a spontaneous photograph I try to run and hide. I don’t want to look fat or ugly. And I’m not either of those things. I just feel that way when I see myself in the resulting photograph or reflection. However as I started my self-portraits I would look at them and think, “I don’t look as bad as I thought I did”. While that still isn’t as healthy as thinking, “damn, I look good,” it’s a step in the right direction.
It was a hard process because I instinctually started posing myself in ways that were more flattering- body turned slightly to the side, stomach sucked in, butt out, arm away from body. That still isn’t real. Not one of my images has had any retouching; no imperfections were removed, not fat was puckered.
Lately advertisers and magazines have been bringing attention to body image, and I’m glad for that. However, after looking at images of women who are size 20, I still feel inadequate because they are retouched to look like perfect versions of a size 20. There is no cellulite or sagging skin or stretch marks in sight. Plus size retouched to be perfect still isn’t reality. It doesn’t make women feel better about themselves. Most of the publications that are now showcasing models that aren’t the typical 100 pounds overlook the majority of the population. There are few models in the “average” size range. It’s either very skinny or plus size. Those of us who are in between are left feeling inadequate still.
This series was my way of helping myself. I was ruining my own happiness because I didn’t look like what magazines tell me I should look like. I tried looking like that, and to do so I didn’t eat, worked out all the time, and was so very miserable. I love to cook and eat. I’ve gained about 7 pounds and none of my pants fit anymore. I’ve even outgrown my “fat” pants. And you know what? I think I look better than I’ve looked in a long time.