Arts & Culture / Mosaic / February 6, 2013

Record-breaking number of models love their bodies

Visual artThis year, over 90 students are models in the Love Your Body photography exhibit, more than ever before.

Of the students modeling this year, many are upperclassmen who are experiencing Love Your Body for the first time.

“I guess it’s taken the self confidence and a little maturity to wait until my junior year,” junior Dani Hill said.

She credits a lot of her maturity to her time spent during Green Oaks Term. “That’s when I felt like I really settled into my personality … There’s a big connection between how you’re comfortable with your personality and with your body,” Hill said.

Several upperclassmen who are modeling for the first time found themselves inspired by previous Love Your Body models.

“I saw how people had their photos last year and said, ‘That’s nice and a good way to reinforce the way that people are beautiful,’” sophomore Michael Cooke said. This is his first year participating.

Students agree that partaking in Love Your Body takes a level of confidence.

“It was kind of on my Knox bucket list of things to do before I graduate,” senior model Justin Steele said.  “I just was sort of intimidated by it previously, but I just wanted to step out of my skin.”

Though each person has a different interpretation of what it means to love their bodies, most students agree that the photography represents a level of comfort and happiness with oneself.

“Love Your Body, to me, means being comfortable with oneself in your skin, and showing that to other people. As a means of making other people feel good about themselves … It means confidence and overall being comfortable with yourself,” Cooke said.

Though many students agree that Love Your Body represents acceptance, confidence and loving oneself, students choose to evoke that in different ways.

“It’s going to be something very physical and strength-related. We’re going to do different poses and acrobatic stuff,” Steele said. He is taking his photographs with a close friend. “It’s very personal … it’s really cool to be comfortable in my own skin.”

Many models will be posing nude for their photos.

“I’m really big about the body being a beautiful thing — not just a sexual thing, and I feel like the opportunity to give [students] the opportunity to take pictures nude or semi-nude gives them confidence and freedom, and it shows people that it can be a beautiful thing, and it is a beautiful thing,” freshman Kathryn Lanute said.

She will be taking semi-nude photographs and plans to show off her legs, torso, and belly button ring, all of which she is especially proud of.

“I’m not daunted by it,” she said. “Your body’s your body. It is what it is.”

With nudity comes a level of vulnerability, and many students are excited to show that off.

“I feel like I wouldn’t have the same effect if I did it clothed,” Cooke said. “I just wanted to do something that was different for me and I knew I would feel better about myself …  It’s a vulnerability that I wanted to show to people, which is very important because in that state you’re allowed to grow and be more comfortable with yourself.”

Though the photographs will be on display for the Knox community at the culmination of the week, students agree that the project is solely for themselves.

“It’s for myself, but the photo itself sort of goes along with the overall message. Through my self-confidence, I want you to feel the same way. Through it being for myself, I want it to be … something that goes along with the way that other people feel,” Cooke said.

Ultimately, all students involved have the same goal: to love their bodies.

“Love Your Body is a personal relationship that each individual has to form with not only their physical body, but also their personality and emotions and mental state,” Hill said. “All of those things together make you who you are, and you have to accept that nobody’s perfect, and everyone makes mistakes, and everybody says socially awkward things, and you have to just embrace it and love what makes you who you are.”

Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KateMishkin

Tags:  Dani Hill Justin Steele Kathryn Lanute Love Your Body Michael Cooke Model Nude

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