Female, 30, San Francisco (from Vancouver, Canada)
1: I drunkenly internet stumbled across the ad for this project in a list of free things to do in San Francisco. I was on the tail end of a vacation in the city at the time and it immediately struck a chord with me. Considering all the other things I had got up to in San Fran, the nudity element just went the “vibe” of my vacation. During my week in the city I had been to the strippers a few nights, a burlesque show, a peep show, a live sex show, and then also a tour of the world’s porn studio kink.com.
2: Nudity is a non-issue for me. While I am not a nude model by any stretch, there are naked pictures of me all over my blog, as well as other friends websites. I guess I would be classified as an exhibitionist, though I wouldn’t particularly identify as one. I am admittedly the sort of person who unabashedly opens her front door naked, or takes her top off at a party for cheap kicks which points to highly “exhibitionist” behaviour though.
For the most part I believe that I use nudity in my own art as a way to be confrontational or engaging or challenging.
I don’t even really think about it. It’s just one of my mediums.
3: I was day drinking at the time. Not for courage, but because I was on vacation, and I was enjoying myself and the cheap American liquor. The whole outing was very much just part of an adventure for me.
As I said before, I take alot of self portraits, and also I write alot. Not stories. More like- Words, sentiments, statements. On myself, on other people, on the streets, or the world around me. When I called back home to my best friend giving a rough explanation of what I was up to for the day and the project as I understood it to be, I said to him, “I wonder whether I will write something on myself, and if so, what?”
He made a joke about, “Ha ha “IF you write something…” knowing me well enough to know I would get inspired to scrawl something down myself last minute.
After registering and being given a number, I found myself sitting in a large white studio space getting to know some very nice strangers who were all attending for their own reasons It was here I decided on the word SELF and choppily scrawled it down myself in sharpie the bathroom.
I decided on this word for obvious reasons. It would be just myself in the room (I was previously of the wrong impression that the artist would be taking a picture of me).
I take alot of self portraits usually, and this seemed to not be very different. Even though it wasn’t my own personal setting, or a place that meant something to me in any way- it was still going to be a self portrait (I had been under the impression when reading the ad that someone would be taking the photo), so I was personalizing it I guess.
When it came to taking the actual pictures, I wanted to elevate the mask as high as possible.
I wasn’t sure what the mask represented, and I am not sure if I do now still, I just know that I wanted it to be elevated and above me.
I like that the mask probably represents something different to all the different people who have (or will) participate in this. I like that each pictures will mean a different things to each individual who volunteered, or who is viewing it.
I felt that by putting my hair over my face I was able to take my identity and ego out of it and was presenting only my ‘Self’ to the artist and audience (whoever they may be).
I was trying to jump high and snap the picture mid jump. It was hard to cordinate and it didn’t quite work out, but it was still a fun idea.
I believe afterwards I felt a little exposed, but this had nothing to do with the nudity element. I felt exposed because of the camera which was not mine, and the setting which was not one I had a previous emotional connection with.
It was a bit challenging in this respect, but also very fun.
I wonder if other people who were not as comfortable with the nudity element felt the same sort of way I did because of the camera which wasn’t mine.
For them, and for me, I think it’s important to test your boundaries sometimes. I personally thing it’s one of the only ways to grow as a person.
Overall I would classify the whole experience as inspiring.
When I left the studio that day I sent my friend home a text message which stated simply, “I have nothing but envy for a man who can get 1000 strangers to take their clothes off in the name of art”