For several years now I’ve been working on a project I call “The Goddess Next Door.” The initial intent was to take photos of the sensual side of various female volunteers, either nude or in some kind of sexy clothing. It was a simple concept meant to show that any woman can have a sensual side, not just those who are professional models. It was meant to humanize sexuality and sexiness, to show that a sensual photo of a woman doesn’t have to make her an object, that she can be self-possessed.
Though I’ve long finished shooting for the project, many blockages to my path have presented themselves. The first of those was my photography style and how it evolved. I thought that if I were going to present a professional book with a certain goal then the photography style ought to be consistent.
This created a self-imposed roadblock to my project. Then my life and artistic focus turned elsewhere for a while. With no clear direction on the project and uncertain of how to present the work, I put it on a back burner for a while. In some ways I felt like I was really letting the models down for doing this, but I also wanted it to be well presented work.
A couple of months ago I was looking over the shoots for the project and it occurred to me that the book could be more than a set of photos about various women. It could be about how they feel, as well. About their bodies and sensuality. And since it has been a few years since I took their photos, maybe it would be good to check in with them and see how their feelings about their bodies has changed or evolved.
Additionally, the book could be about how I have changed and how my photography has evolved.
Between then (the summer of 2011) and now I had a job as a craft designer at a large craft store chain. I was excited and fascinated by the variety of art papers and scrapbooking supplies. Not being much of a scrapbooker I got heavily into visual journaling. I designed journaling styles and taught some journaling classes. It occurred to me just recently that I could do my Goddess Next Door project in that style. Even though it would be much more difficult to lay out and plan than just organizing photos onto a page, it would really add layers. Literally and figuratively.
Above is an example of visual journaling. Combining photos and aspects of journaling may be a good way to organize “The Goddess Next Door.”