Freedom & Duality | NSFW

Hello Snap Readers,

Freedom is a regular model of mine. I appreciate the confidence she carries around. She is a dancer in the art form of Breaking and Wacking (Street Dances), a hairstylist for Men & Women, and an individual who absolutely will not conform to the norm. On a night out at my favorite restaurant in North Park, I asked her to do a different kind of shoot. I was aiming for something, truly sensual. Bare. I wanted to go beyond the physical layers and see what we can do when I shoot her in a vulnerable manner. Freedom was so down to do so. In fact, she's been wanting to express something about her self in regards to her internal dialogue with sexuality, beauty, and acceptance.

For the creative - I shot in an awesome apartment, with big windows and natural light seeping through. It was a two-story apartment so I had a lot to work with. We wanted this to be in black and white as to not distract the viewer from anything but her facial and bodily expression. It was an interesting kind of boudoir shoot, but one that I knew I would be comfortable shooting with. One thing I wanted to really play with, was the cross between light and shadow as both made their way inside the apartment in various ways. It works well with her vision of duality.

For the technical stuff:
- Canon 6D + Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4
- Canon 5DSR + Zeiss APO Sonnar 135mm f/2

The 6D + 85mm was go-to combo for this shoot. I'm so much more used to shooting with the 6D. That, and the fact that I switched out the focusing screen so I can manually focus better. I was able to fix some mistakes from a shoot the day before, concerning 5DSR menu options; needed to practice more with it that's why. Love both cameras by the way. The 135mm was used more either body or close up shots when I needed it. 

Freedom wanted to explain herself and her purpose on this shoot. Below is how she felt and her concept of duality in reference to her identity:

I think I've had a secret crush on myself for a long time. Ever since I was a kid, I've appreciated my body for many reasons. I've always liked my long, slender legs that run and kick well, been proud of my strong arms that lift me up, and appreciated my height because I can see above many, yet I'm not too much of an obstruction to other people. I even liked my crooked teeth before I got braces. It wasn't until somebody introduced me to the idea that it was not ok to like myself that I started second-guessing my crush. Maybe I didn't pick the cutest person, the strongest person, the best person... 

Maybe my legs were twiggy and in need of a butt. Maybe my abs were not defined enough, and are those love handles? Maybe my arms were too muscular, my shoulders too broad. Maybe my teeth were not cute after all, but an eyesore in need of straightening out.

I've allowed many people to influence my opinion of myself, more than my own thoughts. I'd love to say that everything has changed now and that I am proudly proclaiming my love for my body, but that's not entirely true. It's going to take some time, but I know what this machine can do. I'm so grateful and I will gladly tell anyone nowadays that, "Yes, these are my legs, they can dance after working on an 8 hour haircolor correction. These are my arms, they can lift heavy things  and hug many friends. 

This is my smile, it's not perfectly white, but can brighten someone's day. 

Yes, this is my body, and it doesn't look like what you might have thought, but now I'm beginning to be ok with that." This shoot, for me, is letting the secret out: I think I like how I look...I think...I

I am not her. I am not that. I am not whatever standard there is for beauty or femininity. I'm myself and I'm learning to love the idea.

You can find more of Freedom's work and journey on Instagram: @twegitoki

See ya!

~Snap Pilot #17