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‘What I Be Project’ Exposes People’s Insecurities for the Camera

By Jules Ebe on October 19th 2013

"I am not my gender."

“I am not my gender.”

Photographers are many times referred to as voyeurs. We watch and capture snippets of time and space. In a moment, everything seems to congeal to convey a message … but what message does our personal projects say?

It is this question that led us to California-based photographer Steve Rosenfield’s series ‘What I Be Project’. It goes beyond the portrait of the person’s physical appearance and delves into their emotional and psychological state.

“The ‘What I Be Project’ is all about honesty,” Rosenfield explains. “In today’s society, we are told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these “standards,” we are often judged, ridiculed, and sometimes even killed over them.”

I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart.

" I am not my body image."

” I am not my body image.”

In this riveting and thought provoking project, as the viewer we become the participant. It is not a passive action as each photo and its story pulls us in. These are real people with real issues, just like the rest of us. It is okay to not be okay and that’s encouraging.

The tagline for the project is ‘building security through insecurities’. As brave individuals expose their raw emotions and fears for the camera, something that sounds contradictory at the beginning makes perfect sense.

I encourage every viewer to look at each image and put yourself in the individuals shoes. By allowing yourself to feel what they feel, you might realize something you’ve never noticed before . . . Some of the faces you may recognize, some you may not. Take the time to connect with each one. You may see yourself within one of the photos. ~ Steve Rosenfield

What I Be Project by Steve Rosenfield

"I am not my weight."

“I am not my weight.”

"I am not my femininity."

“I am not my femininity.”

"I am not my number."

“I am not my number.”

"I am not my void."

“I am not my void.”

"I am not my vision."

“I am not my vision.”

"I am not my size."

“I am not my size.”

"I am not my self indulgence."

“I am not my self indulgence.”

"I am not my rape."

“I am not my rape.”

"I am not my parenting."

“I am not my parenting.”

"I am not my hoarding."

“I am not my hoarding.”

"I am not my foster care."

“I am not my foster care.”

"I am not my failures."

“I am not my failures.”

"I am not my eating disorder."

“I am not my eating disorder.”

"I am not my body image."

“I am not my body image.”

"I am not my amputation."

“I am not my amputation.”

Moving forward, Rosenfield will be adding statements from his subjects to explain further their experience and the meaning behind their insecurities. They have also added a YouTube channel where small interviews can be seen.

What I Be Project – Amanda “I am not my body image” (Anorexia)

Be sure to check out the website and YouTube channel for more information on this inspiring, on-going project.

In the end, does insecurity define other people’s perception of who you are?

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules

[via What I Be Project, Beauty Exists]

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is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Justin

    Jules, great work! I hate that someone has posted something negative about this when they obviously didn’t even read it all. I think exposing ones insecurities is a great way to find strength! Plus, its not like you made them pose for you.

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  2. Jenny

    I have to ask, why expose peoples insecurities. Surely that is using people in a way to highlight nothing. So we are insecure, so what, why not call it exposing peoples strengths then I might have even bothered to read it – as it is – very disappointed at the lazy GCSE project. Really???

    Lazy lazy lazy

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    • Chelsea

      Not reading something and taking the time to leave a snide remark is “lazy” by my standards. This is why maybe you should have read it:

      “It is okay to not be okay and that’s encouraging. ” Through exposing their insecurities, they are finding their strength. This is someone’s personal project… you are free to create your own if you don’t like the way it’s done. Or you can continue bashing work that doesn’t meet your personal vision.

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  3. Jimbo31

    Very inspiring! I especially enjoy the Hitler one

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