Step out of the shower, get dry, lean over to pick up your clothes, cry as your stomach folds over. A day like any other.
To some people this may sound like a bit of an extreme reaction. Sadly, for many, it is a chronic reality. It was one morning like this that inspired me to change things. Instead of feeling sorry about my own body, I would help other people see the beauty in theirs. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I would take those feelings and do something productive with them.
Though it began as a knee-jerk idea caused by my own insecurities, the Dig Deeper campaign has since developed into much more. There has been such a positive reaction to it that it really has begun to give me hope.
Initially it was intended just to be a poster campaign promoting positive body image and self-love; a reminder to everyone that you are beautiful. I planned to put the posters up around campus, since body dissatisfaction is very high amongst our age group. Despite my initial plans, the campaign has since evolved substantially; I now plan to cover as much of Fredericton as possible, as well as hopefully spreading out to other campuses in the country. There will also be a website where people can share their stories and struggles.
Sadly, I can’t devote nearly enough time to this campaign. So far I’ve only managed to get the photos done for the posters. I’ve had about 25 men and women model in their underwear. As a photographer, this was an amazing part of the process. Some models were concerned that they were too big for my posters, while others were worried they were too thin. The point of the campaign has never been to shame people who are thin; it has always been to remind everyone that every single human being is beautiful in their own way, and that the size and shape of our body plays no part in that.
Money is also a serious barrier; I contacted over fifty local businesses as well as some campus organisations trying to get some form of financial support for the campaign. Not only have I received no help, but also not a single one even took the time to answer me.
Not one to be so easily discouraged, I am now planning to fund the campaign on my own. Ideally the posters will come to be available to download from the website so that anyone anywhere can print the campaign ads and put them up, but until that time I’m on my own! Some of the models have expressed an interest in donating money to the cause, or volunteering their time to help me with the website or putting up posters. This is awesome, and I hope we get many more people interested in helping out. It is truly an important cause, and one that I am whole-heartedly committed to working at. If anyone is interested in getting involved, then I encourage them to send me a message at my Facebook page, Film Grain Photography. Though this is a campaign that I personally am very invested in, I am treating it as an extension of my photography business, and possibly the most meaningful thing I will have accomplished with my art.
Step out of the shower, get dry, lean over to pick up your clothes, stay strong as your stomach folds over. A day like any other, except this time you remember that you are beautiful, because you are. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. As for anyone who does try, well, you remind them that they need to dig deeper.