“I’ve always liked my vagina and its ability to bring me pleasure, but I haven’t always embraced it. In my first years of sexual activity, I was embarrassed by its smell and would lather it in perfumed moisturiser before getting into bed with my boyfriend. Eventually, he asked me why I did this. When I explained my self-consciousness, he in turn explained that he liked the smell; it turned him on, big time. This was a revelation to me. Lesson: my vagina smells good.
Another revelation came on the big screen, thanks to an on camera tour by a gynaecologist. He was performing a colposcopy (removal of abnormal cells from the cervix) and offered to “give me a tour.” I agreed. He used the colposcope (a camera), to magnify my vagina and project it like a strange pink flower onto the television screen overhead. He did close-ups on the hood of my clitoris, my clitoris, my labia majora and minor, the vulva and the vagina itself. I was mortified – my vagina, blown up on TV! – but the two female nurses just looked bored. Lesson: my vagina is no big deal.”
“It was synchronistic that Philip should invite me to be a part of his project a week after being inspired myself to start creating large mobile “Blooming Vulva Birds”, after a friend told me a story about her friend who had to have labioplasty surgery performed due to extraordinarily long labia lips which got caught in her underwear elastic and caused great discomfort.
I had the idea to create these flying vaginas, with the labia lips as wings, and wanted to promote the beauty of the vagina as it is in response to the disturbing number of young girls choosing to have labioplasty surgery done to them due to distorted perceptions about their own vaginal lips. I find this horrifying and strange that girls with normal looking vaginas are thinking like anorexics do about their labia.
So, it was certainly good timing that Philip called on me to participate in this project, and I am happy to contribute my own vagina as it is, if it will help to promote healthy perceptions of this part of womens self-image.”
The 10% milestone is past :)
I’m loving the fact that it’s now spreading to friends of friends ! If you know someone who might be up for it shoot them an invite.
Also, I’m still keen to get some stories up on the site blog, so if you have an inspirational, traumatic, interesting, funny, strange, serious, etc. etc, vagina story that would would like to share with the world then mail it through. They will be anonymous also unless you tell me otherwise.
You’re all awesome !
As I’m making these posts, and reading about and seeing more work which is similar from links people are sharing, I’m becoming clearer on the similarities and differences of this project.
One thing for example is that many of the other work out there are a more detailed, close up look at the vagina, and mainly in colour, whereas this project is black and white and photos are taken front on in standing pose.
I was quite clear from the outset that I wanted to create a book that challenged the status quo on one hand but was not too confronting (to the mainstream) on the other. A one step at a time kind of approach.
I am also aware that I am wanting to create a book which is beautiful, and beauty is a fraught subject when it comes to sexual politics. It seems impossible not to confront these ideas when working on a project like this as much as I want to keep things simple.
Can I create a beautiful book without projecting my idea of beauty on the subject of the images?
As a result of doing this project I have been hearing interesting vagina stories and always encourage people to share their story if they feel up to it.
Perhaps I can add some kind of “vagina stories” section to this site, or add them to the shoot blog posts. Let’s see what comes of this.
If you have a vagina story you would like to share, shoot me an email :) Same goes with cool vagina related links you come across.
Yes, I was nervous and excited when I clicked “send invitations” on the Facebook event I created, a couple of days after getting this site up and running.
This was effectively the first time I have gone “public” with this project. Not completely public really since I sent the invite only to Facebook friends, and only women at that. But it basically meant putting myself out there along with the project.
Initially, perhaps cautiously, the event was invite only, but now attendees can invite others they think might be interested.
Fortunately a very positive response popped up on the event wall within a few minutes and more have been coming every day :)
One question that arose out of a recent shoot was whether to keep the photos completely plain or also include props that might happen to be around, like flowers etc. Well, no final decision is made, but I’m inclining away from props to keep the aesthetic and focus uniform.