Are you cool enough to do this?
Deciding to make a book of vagina portraits was one thing. It wasn’t until I went out and bought my first digital SLR (2.5 megapixels! which was a big deal in 2000) and some lights (that I still don’t understand) that I was, in fact, all in.
That took a month of vacillating between worrying about whether this was what I should be doing with my life, and whether I was actually capable of doing this thing, which so needed to be done, before I was ready. ish.
Actually making personal images like these was something else entirely. For one thing, there is no good way to ask a woman if you can make a portrait of her vagina.
This was a sensitive subject, and (it can’t be said often enough) a different set of experiences for each woman. The way I saw it, asking a woman to pose for a v-portrait came out like a dare. Are you cool enough to do this? The opposite of my intention with this work, which was to create a comfortable space where we could see ourselves for ourselves. Where we could see, and talk, and think for ourselves. This space didn’t exist. I’d have to create a forum for the conversation first. I took a step back and got to work on the website. If this was something women wanted to see, then the v-portraits would follow.
The original vaginaverite.com helped to create the space for vagina conversations. Along with my talking about it, endlessly. I didn’t ask anyone to pose. Bit by bit, we began making vagina portraits.