Comfortable in his Own Skin

In 2008 Angus had  life changing bariatric surgery, resulting in the loss of over 300 pounds. Despite the dramatic improvement to his health and overall appearance, Angus was unable to truly see and accept his body: excess skin and a cosmetic surgical procedure left Angus with curves that he saw as feminine. Body dysmorphia and gender dysmorphia complicated his life as a  man in a culture that values and sometimes fetishizes physical appearance and masculinity. Attraction, acceptance and connection within the gay community were compromised, in Angus’ view, by the appearance of his body making it difficult for him to fully embrace the gains he had made from the weight loss.

I first met Angus in the summer of 2018. After seeing the sensitive work I had done with other sitters who felt challenged by their bodies, Angus asked me to photograph him so that he could see his body objectively, and without the distortion of his dysmorphia. We began gently, and over the course of many weeks Angus revealed himself and his perceived flaws for the camera. Over time, he became more comfortable in his nudity, and developed a greater equanimity with his body. The experience for me, as the photographer, was profound and humbling, and I am grateful for his trust and the opportunity to journey with him on his voyage of self-regard.

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