INVOCATION

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I love photographing all ages. 9 months to 90 years. After seeing so many people and hearing their stories, you start to see the dominant themes that are present for most of us at certain points in our lives.

Women in their 20s are just so lovely to photograph because they are so often aware of how little they know and how wide open their future is. For many, it's the first stage in life when they'll start making real choices about the life they will live. Experiencing a bit of freedom, they begin to have the space to understand what has shaped them up until this point, the good and the bad. 

When I photographed Renata we talked about Hindu goddesses and invocation. Where do you find your worth and meaning in this world? How do you choose your path? So much uncertainty can be difficult to navigate, but so necessary.

I love documenting these moments. These women ultimately move through their uncertainty, moving forward as life demands from us. Later, they look back, and their portraits almost magically transport them back to that moment in time. A haircut resulting from an impulsive decision reminds them of the need they felt to feel in control of their own path. Bare skin is a reminder of the first steps taken in defying expectations and defining their sensuality on their own terms. 

Openness, introspection and vulnerability to be commemorated.

INVINCIBLE BEAUTY

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INVINCIBLE BEAUTY.

I made this portrait of Vaneza when I was still living in Brazil. She arrived and said, I really want to shave my head. So before we started shooting, we went to the closest hairstylist, and she buzzed it all off. The whole portrait session just had this incredible vitality. Vaneza was there to shine, no artifice needed. And she owned it. 

P.S. This beauty has gone so far. She is now the star of Netfilx's series, 3%. It's so inspiring to see this strong women living her dream.  

Trailer for 3%: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yyzNQfaQR8

It's happening!

This has been in the works for quite a while, and I'm so happy to share that I'm finally opening up Art + Agnes - a full-service portrait studio in Detroit. The focus will be on providing empowering portrait experiences for women.

While working on personal projects over the past few years, it's become clear to me just how much women can become disconnected from everything that is so beautiful about them.

Portraits are wonderful tools in times of celebration, transition and exploration, and I'm just happy beyond words to be dedicating 100% of my work to offering these services to women.

I'll be continuing with FEMALE with some exciting updates about that project coming soon!

Portrait: Juliette

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I originally met Juliette when I photographed her for my project, FEMALE. As she told me about her recent travels and her search for something that feels like home, I could remember such a similar experience in my own life a few years ago. She reminded me of doing your best to be at peace while also longing to see more. I was so happy to document this moment in her journey. 

I fell in love with 100 Brazilian women

It's true. I fell in love with 100 Brazilian women. 

One of them was 93 years old.

One is proudly polyamorous and staunchly defends each women’s right to love and make love however and with whomever she wants. 

One very directly told me that she’s fat, not curvy or big, just fat. She hasn’t always felt comfortable with it, but at this point in her life, she just loves being in her body and no longer wastes energy worrying about how others feel about how she looks. 

One taught me that the way that the world sexualizes and fetishizes Brazilian women is just an illusion, and that illusion can make life very difficult for Brazilian women trying to understand their own identity. 

 

One blew me away with her courage. Very well-known living as a man in socially-conservative Brazil, she had the strength to transition to living as a woman with the whole country watching and has become a leader for so many in the LGBTQI community.

One taught me about samba and how it’s not just the drums that I hear every Sunday evening from the Samba club a couple blocks away, but it’s her roots, an energy that she carries on her skin and that transports her back to where she is from in Africa, a place that she has never met in person but knows very well in her soul.

One took me along with her sometimes when she was working in the slums, and she showed me that valuing someone’s existence enough to just be present is an enormous and life-changing gift.

These women were not romantic loves. They were far more significant than most of my romantic relationships have been. These were women who bared their skin, and their souls, to be photographed by me, a stranger.

I wanted to photograph 100 Brazilian women. Just their skin, in natural light. Nothing fake or staged or artificial, not like the way that we’ve become accustomed to seeing women represented. Just bodies and light. I began the journey thinking that I wanted to learn about Brazil, but now I see that I wanted to learn about femininity, about bodies, about intimacy, about myself. 

In a particularly difficult moment in my life, when I was living as a foreigner, heartbroken in a relationship that couldn’t work and doubtful of myself and the decisions that I make in my own life, each of these women met me on my journey and helped to show that there is beauty in the way I see the world, and that this beauty mattered to other people as well. 

Thank you lovely Brazilian women for showing me that to be in love is much more than just being in a romantic relationship. It is revealing yourself to another person, and witnessing without judgement. It is a state of being open and being connected, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and be truly seen. 

 

My journey in Brazil was just the beginning. I’ll be continuing the photo series that I began in Brazil, now in San Francisco, and then hopefully in various countries around the world. See more photos from Corium here: www.kacyjohnson.com/corium