Editors Note: Recently I’ve been feeling unlike myself. I feel selfish making art, it feels wrong to worry about minuscule aspects of life, like my photograph I was *super* proud of only got this many likes on Instagram.  However, I’ve been going back to Our Bodies Our Art. I’ve been admiring the way that we all tell a similar story, in so many unique ways. I’ve been humbled when I look back and remember being afraid to even introduce this hashtag, and have so happily proven my initial feelings wrong.
Revolutions begin in many ways, revolutions start in many places. This is a self revolution, this is a peace treaty between our bodies and ourselves. This is art, art is revolution, art will change the world.
Read their stories, admire their photographs, support your fellow artists.

Photographer- Jess Hays

I asked each photographer to describe their photographs and the meaning behind them. Here’s what Jess wrote:

The first 6 images are from a body of work I did called Generic For Wellbeing, which examines the treating mental illness with medication from the perspective of the patients experiences, fears, and apprehensions. This body of work is entirely self portraits, photographed on 35mm black and white film, and printed analog in the darkroom. The work has traveled to exhibitions all over Montana, and to Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and soon Philadelphia. My hope is that this work serves to help people who may be experiencing things similar to what I felt while taking antidepressants. 

The next 6 images are from a body of work that explores the effects people feel from their medications used to treat mental illness. I transfer printed documents and scans from each models medications and info packets that come with them onto their bodies, making visible an ‘invisible’ illness and the side effects that may accompany treatment. This work was don digitally, and has been shown in Montana.“Not My Last Time” is an ongoing body of work that documents the physical marks my mental illness has left on my body, such as residue from stickers from an ER visit.

I have also been making work that explores the human body nude in nature, and how vulnerability and expression might coexist in this setting. That work is not quite ready yet, but I have posted one on instagram so far that’s in the finished product stage. 

Outside of these bodies of, I have been making an alternative process body of work that deals with disconnect in a relationship. 

Generic For Wellbeing

“My hope is that this work serves to help people who may be experiencing things similar to what I felt while taking antidepressants.”

Not My Last Time

Follow Jess!

Miri Interview

Photographer and Model: Amber Lawson

Q. How do you as a photographer, create a safe and enjoyable environment for your models?

A. As an amateur photographer, I really haven’t had much experience shooting with people I don’t know or haven’t seen before. Usually, the portraits that I’ve taken have been with acquaintances, close friends or family. Regardless, I always make sure to ask what their boundaries are. I believe that boundaries are a measure of your own self esteem, and I think that when you set these boundaries before a shoot with ANY and ALL photographers, it’ll give them an idea of what you think is acceptable behavior. Who knows, your model’s boundary could be as simple as not wanting to go in the water if you’re shooting on the beach or at a pool. For me, it comes down to taking the time to build some trust between myself and the model, and just having common respect for that person regardless of who they are. Which is key to having any sort of decent relationship with anyone really! Personally, my favorite icebreaker is to find something you have in common. Most of the time it’s something simple, like, a common interest whether that’d be a band or a movie.

Q. How do your photographs empower models rather than exploit their bodies

A. I think every photo a photographer takes has a message or mood that is being communicated, even if it isn’t intended; and I think that as long as that message is pure and genuine, then that alone is an empowering thing. A model should never have to worry about or doubt their photographer’s intentions. Whether you’re a male or a female photographer, it’s never okay to persuade or lie your way into tricking your model to strip themselves because “sexy and seductive” is the message you want to portray and get across to others in the image.

Unfortunately, a woman’s body will always be sexualized no matter how much we want to change other’s perspectives. I think if nudity is something you want to capture through an artistic point of view, then there are ways to go about it professionally. As far as my photographs go, it’s always important to give your model genuine compliments here and there. Compliments aren’t just something you throw around, make sure you really do mean them. Personally, I think that giving compliments is such a simple yet powerful act, and it’s always a positive experience for both the photographer and the model. Most importantly, is making sure the model is happy with the results, and that they feel even better about themselves at the end of the shoot. It’s a great feeling to make someone else feel great!

Q. What does our bodies our art mean to you?

Our Bodies Our Art is a movement with such an important message that STILL hasn’t gotten through to some human beings. As someone who’s been taken advantage of throughout their whole childhood, this is something that I felt that l I need to be apart of. Of course Our Bodies Our Art does does have a variety of significant messages, some being of acceptance, freedom, and identity. However, I decided to take part in this movement as a voice for those who have gone through traumatic sexual assault. Both men and women are being taken advantage everyday by strangers, family members, partners, and it’s sickening. It isn’t necessarily something that’s gotten much attention either due to other global issues. However, I do believe sexual assault is one of the biggest and most important issues there are. Rape itself derives from hurt, and it only causes more hurt, which breeds further hurt. It’s this vicious cycle of suffering for both the victim and the predator. Being a part of this movement is being the voice for all victims who’ve been taken advantaged of, and we all deserve to be acknowledged.

Q. How do you plan to continue empowering models through your work?

A. I’ve committed to continue giving that common respect, it’s as simple as that. My work is often a team effort between myself and the model, and we’re on the same team. Listening to their ideas, giving them tips, getting to know them is all so important.

Follow Amber!

Photo: @ambershoots
Modeling etc: @adetmongkhonh

Q. How do you, as a model know you are in a safe work environment?

As a model, you never really know whether or not you are in a safe work environment. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the person you’re working with is safe, they could be really good at masking their harmful intentions, whether they’re a man or a woman. Something I always do to try and avoid an unsafe working environment is to message some of the models they’ve worked with and ask what they were like. It’s always a good idea to stay in open areas and or public places when you’re shooting. Personally, I prefer shooting with one photographer that I trust and am comfortable with for awhile. It’s always nice to be able to go to that one photographer that you know you’re safe working with.

Photographer: @bhindthelens_

Q. What is your worst story about working with a photographer?

Fortunately, I don’t have any terrible stories working with a photographer, but I’ve spoken to another model that has been asked out to dinner by a male photographer after a shoot, which is unprofessional in my opinion.

Photographer: svbside.co

Q. What is your best / most empowering story about working with a photographer. How did you feel after the shoot?

Generally speaking, I believe that it all depends on how comfortable you are and how well you know your photographer. I remember my first shoot was with this woman named Bri, and she made me feel great. She’s such a strong woman. She has stuck up for myself and another model when we were being harassed by a car full of men. She’s definitely someone you feel safe around and she’s really fun to work with! I guess shooting with someone who is positive, strong, and hardworking is an empowering thing itself because in the end it all shows in the pictures.

Photographer: delinquist
Photographer: @abused_and_amused


Model: Kaylee Lindquist

Q. How do you, as a model know you are in a safe work environment?

A. Safety is always a big concern of mine. I always try to get an idea of who I’ll be meeting. I look at the work they have done see if I have friends who know them. It’s scary trying to work with someone you’re not entirely familiar with. Comfortability is a huge part of feeling safe in any situation. Knowing that my opinions and words matter and that the people I’m working with share a common goal makes me feel more confident in the outcome and let’s me be more productive and focused on what I need to do. Without this key detail my work can really suffer.

Q. What is your worst story about working with a photographer?

A. I’ve never really had a bad experience with a photographer. Everyone i’ve met has put their effort into making me happy and content. Although I have heard some weird stories from friends about working with photographers.

Q. What is your best/ most empowering story about working with a photographer. How did you feel after the shoot?

A. One of my most empowering moments was with my photographer Amber. I had a blue table cloth behind my head outside, i’ve included some pictures from it. Seeing her smile from behind the camera as she took the shots made me feel brave and confident and it’s definitely a moment I’ll always remember. After the shoot I felt euphoric. The pictures came out amazing!

Q. What does our bodies our art mean to you?

A. This movement has helped me remember that every person I meet can reflect and create art in their own way. That captured moments of ourselves can tell stories and disclose feelings out into the open, just like any painting or song. expression and art should not be devalued because of how it’s shown whether through painting, music, or photography. To me, this movement means a new vast area to explore in the art universe, it means new beautiful and brilliant people making unique statements and expressions through their own bodies and their own art. It means empowering people and encouraging a more welcoming society.

All images taken by: @ambershoots

Follow Kaylee!

Instagram: @delinquist

P.S. Kaylee’s also a super cool musician, check it out!

Thank you to all who participated, your work, stories, and dedication to spreading this message allows Our Bodies Our Art to continue and grow!


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August 18, 2017


Aw, this was an extremely good post. In concept I have to devote writing this way additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a good article… but what / things I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means often get something accomplished.

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