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