First, a presentation is essential. I am 46 years old, I’m a father of a 14 year old boy and freshly divorced at the time of my participation in the project. I live in Seine et Marne and I work in mass distribution, as an administrative framework. Physically, I think I look like everyone else. Finally, that’s what I think, because the reality is totally different. I don’t like my body. I am tall, round with shapes, especially in the abdomen. In fact, I don’t like my body from the shoulders to the thighs. Apart from this part, it’s okay !!! Sexually, I have long considered myself straight. In fact, I wanted to be straight to set up a mold and do like everyone else. And then, during my marriage, I realized that my universe was rather turned towards the man and the masculine. I lied to myself thinking that I had better accept myself surrounded by men. As if being in the company of men could reassure me about my own body. Because the problem came from my body. My personal life at the time was punctuated by heterosexual pretenses and a gay reality. I would have liked to be gaunt like all these stadium gods and at the same time, I tried to reassure myself on my own body by dating men. I am quite modest in front of women, and paradoxically I can be completely liberated in the presence of one or more men, when there is a sexual objective at the end. All this was before my divorce (which I did not provoke, but which imposed itself on me)
For 3 or 4 years, in light of what I have just said, I began to look for a photographer who will agree to take my naked photo and especially someone who would manage to sublimate this body that I did not like. To try to make something of it !!! Either artistic nude, or close-ups of my body, but always with the idea that: YES, even I have a body that can make you dream or fantasize.
One day, hanging out on facebook, I came across Idan’s publication about his project “nude in my living room”.
It was a real eye opener for me. Idan’s project is really what I was looking for. Highlight strangers, “normal” people, with faces, physics of everyone. I found the “purity” project, very pretty and some photos really touched me. The overexposure of the bodies makes the contours soft and the vision of the naked body is totally different from what I could imagine from a nude photo. There were men like me, and they were handsome. It was magic for me, and I had never seen such a project. The more I looked at the photos, the more I told myself that I was going to be able to realize my dream. But suddenly, reality came back to me. It was going to be necessary that, me Fabien, I put myself naked in front of a stranger for something other than sex. It was a real problem for me. How was I going to react? In the end, why do it? I’m ugly, so no interest for Idan. I don’t like myself, so the rendering will be like me: ugly.
And yet, I did violence to myself. I signed up saying it was now. I hesitated, but not long: 1 hour maximum. It was for me. I made an appointment very far back in time (again, we don’t change either). One day when I knew I would be alone, without excuse to cancel or postpone. It was a Saturday afternoon in August 2019. I remember very well the weather outside (it was very hot) and the state of mind in which I was: a mixture of excitement and anxiety , but with a touch of envy. I had absolutely no idea how the session was going to go, I imagined a huge white studio everywhere. I didn’t know it yet, but this session was going to be a real therapy for me.
I arrive in front of this big white building, full of accommodation. I tell myself, like this quickly, this thing is shady. How can there be in this building, THE studio that I imagined? I ring, the doors open and Idan comes to greet me in his studio which looks strangely like an apartment in fact. I wait a few minutes while waiting for Idan to come get me. Pictures from the “Purity” collection are hung on the wall. Curiously, I no longer have any apprehension about the place, when it does not at all resemble my imagination. Idan picks me up and invites me into HIS studio. And there it is a little shock: a dark, intimate room, with a sofa, a desk, a fitting room, 2 huge photographer’s spots in front of a white wall. Wall made of a large roll of paper unrolled from ceiling to floor. I find the space between the wall and the spots quite small. This is the place.
Idan invites me to sit in front of his desk and offers me a drink. I accept, because my throat is very dry. And as indicated on his website, Idan begins explaining the session, asking me questions about my motivations, what I am, who I am. I answer all his questions, without evasion. No intimate questions, it’s rather me who addresses these questions: my private life, my relationship to my body. Then comes the fateful moment when Idan invites me to go behind the fitting room where I have to undress.
In fact, by removing my clothes one by one, I do not ask myself too many questions, except technical questions: how I put my stuff: on the floor, on the hook on the wall ??? Frivolous questions, but questions nonetheless. On the other hand, once naked, the question of death: what am I doing now. So I come out of the screen, I’m afraid, I go ahead and try to hide my privacy with my hand.
Idan invites me to position myself on the white wall, he begins his instructions on the poses, and from this precise moment, my body no longer matters to me. I’m focused on his instructions and nothing else. I don’t ask myself any questions about, how I am, is my sex visible or not, what I look like there, naked in front of a stranger in sometimes improbable positions. NO nothing, no more discomfort. It’s like I’m dressed, like I’m not naked. Upon reflection, I am quite surprised at myself by this lightness and the way I had to pose.
I have no idea how long the session will be. At no time did I think of the poses taken. At no time did I say to Idan: No, really not like that, it’s too much. He is professional and knew perfectly what I was physically able to do, without having to worry about my appearance.
Session ended: Already !!!!
Passing behind the fitting room, I sit in front of the desk and the sequence of the choice of photo begins. Idan explains to me how to do it and we start the choice. The photos are scrolling, and I see myself naked for the first time on a computer screen. There were no less than 200 photos I think. I feel good. Do I look beautiful? Yes on some yes. Because the angle is better, because the overexposure is better. I manage to make a positive judgment on photos showing this body, my body, which I do not like. I even manage to make a choice by saying: this one is better than this one. Exit the sentence: “this one is less worse than the other”. I can find something positive in Idan’s work. I have no further questions at this time. I am driven by the madness of the choice of the photo. We agreed on the photo which will be put online. It was only then that I realized that anyone would be able to see me physically naked. Of course I knew that when I came, and Idan explained it to me. But until now, I was thinking about myself, my body, my nudity. At the time of the final choice, I realized that my naked body was going to be exposed.
Friends, my family, my co-workers, could see me naked. But it was a nude that I had chosen. An artistic nude. Not a twitter nude…. No, a handsome thing, a pretty good guy in fact. ME.
I was on a cloud, I was well and reassured. I was especially proud of myself and also of Idan’s work !!!
I have kept this experience for me for a long time. No one around me knows. Except one: my new companion. I showed her the photos I had acquired. We discussed it together and she found the project very interesting. Because yes, this project has largely contributed to the fact that I assume what I am.
I changed how I see myself, so I changed what other people’s minds could imagine. It’s complicated as a sentence… !!!! I am no longer afraid of my body. I don’t necessarily like it anymore, but I accept it as it is. The next step will be for me to talk about it freely to my friends and colleagues. It’s possible in the very near future…
I regularly follow Idan’s work and project, and I really want to reschedule a session on a “free” or “paid” project. I want to enjoy and see myself differently, and I’m ready to show more. I am delighted with this experience.
This photo session fulfilled its primary mission: to make me accept my body.