Welcome to vagina vérité, a space for conversations that women don’t usually get to have.
I’m Alexandra Jacoby, vagina portrait photographer, artist and holder of space for conversations that women don’t usually get to have.
I am very glad that you are here.
Over the course of ten years, I made more than 100 vagina portraits, documentary-style photographs, so we could see ourselves for ourselves. Each one strikingly unique. Completely interesting and beautiful, like landscape.
Together, they form a collective mirror of our individuality and activate reflection on what we were and were not told, or did not feel we could ask — not just about our vaginas, but about what it takes to live a female bodylife.
While we are living the lives of more than half the world, finding information and support for the range of bodylife experiences that make up a woman’s life is not easy.
Much of female bodylife experience is routinely hidden, smacked with stigma and shame, marginalized, outright disrespected, mis-informed, mis-represented, under-researched, sanity-undermining, dangerous and life-threatening.
More so if you’re a woman of color, non-binary, or noticeably non-conforming.
Too often, our bodylife stories are told by someone else. As if we are not qualified to speak for ourselves about ourselves.
When it comes to women’s bodies, not just how they look, but our bodylife experiences, there’s a lot more noise than information, conversation, or care.
I want to fix that.
You can follow along, support and participate.
It’s only going to happen if we do it together.
The Overall Project Vision
The vision is big. I want to reframe reality and redesign the world to reflect, support and respect female bodylife as an intrinsic foundation in the design of our everyday lives. Not an add-on. Not at an extra cost. A normal mode of human being.
I will need your help.
It begins with us telling our own stories, speaking for ourselves as individual women, living diverse bodylives. For that, I am creating zones of safety and freedom in art & conversation experiences. It continues with collecting our experiences, the truth and history held in our bodies, indexing them, and making them safely and universally available. For that, I am building a Bodylife Library.
I believe that open conversation and accessible information are the way. And after that, well, we’ll see…
ART & CONVERSATION EXPERIENCES — These are gatherings where we can view vagina portraits in a zone of safety and freedom, see ourselves for ourselves, and engage in conversations that amplify, witness, include and connect us.
It’s different every time, as unique as the women who attend. I didn’t know this before I began making vagina portraits, but it turns out that vaginas are possibly the most interesting subject there is to photograph, view and to discuss together. vagina vérité art & conversation experiences began as salons held in the living room of my apartment, where I had installed sixty vagina portraits on the wall above my couch. Wherever they take place now, I do my best to generate the same quality of comfort and openness as we would have in my home.
BODYLIFE LIBRARY PROJECT — Of the many things I’ve discovered while having conversations about female bodylife experiences, I’d say the most universal throughline is that it is hard to understand, live through, or get support for even routine female bodylife events. Harder than it should be.
Beginning with a broad inquiry into our individual needs, situations and interests when it comes to female bodylife, the Bodylife Library project seeks to develop tools for safe and universal access to the information, support and services we need to live fully-empowered lives on our own terms. Basically, I want to connect with a lot of women (in person, remotely and online), and build a cataloging system to establish and support an endlessly growing and improving source of knowledge, wisdom and know-how in the service of individual and collective quality of life. We could be learning from each other vs going through things alone or as an undocumented one-off.
REFRAMING REALITY — Well, you tell me: What would be different in your life if you lived in a world that reflected, supported and respected female bodylife experiences? We don’t have to continue doing things the way we have been. I invite you to actively participate in creating a world of our mutual-making. I believe that if we design for self-expression, with the understanding that normal is diverse (because it is), that we can reframe reality to serve, sustain and celebrate humanity and our home.
You can be a part of the revolution.
The Origin Story
It began when a friend of mine asked me if I liked the way my vagina looked. Out of the blue, we were meeting for drinks and before my butt hit the bar stool, she said: Do you like the way your vagina looks?
As I answered, I realized that I had never really taken a good look at it, and that other than a bit of porn —retouched images, which don’t count— I hadn’t actually seen any other women’s vaginas.
Now, I was sure that they were all different, (as we are different in every other way), but I had nothing to point to, nothing I could show my friend, who clearly thought there was something wrong with how hers looked. I got really mad. There should be a book! A visual reference for women. And if there wasn’t one, then I would shoot one. Close-up documentary photographs: vagina portraits.
And, so it began: vagina vérité: an unabashed exploration of the plain, ordinary, mysterious matter of our vaginas.
THIS IS A HOME FOR WOMEN
All kinds of women…
Women who worry about being normal.
Women who are curious about other women.
Women who celebrate:
- personal power
- and women’s bodies just as they are.
Women who wish they did.
This is a space for everyone who believes that female bodies are entitled to equal respect, care, safety and self-determination,
and, of course, for my friend, and every other woman who, at one time or another, doesn’t like the way her vagina looks.
By women, I mean to include women who are biologically female and who self-identify as female.
The purpose of this site is to:
- encourage conversations about vaginas,
- advocate care and respect for women’s bodies of all kinds,
- celebrate individual expression of bodylife,
- amplify what connects us
- empower individuals through community.