I met Shelly in August 2016 after she accepted my invitation to participate in a photo shoot separate from this project. Since then, her and I collaborated a second time and she’s helped me produce what I believe are some of my strongest photographs. Considering our working relationship, I was eager to have Shelly involved in this project, and it didn’t take much to convince her after explaining the concept.
To discuss the topic of physical insecurities, Shelly and I planted ourselves outdoors at a great people-watching spot near Yonge-Dundas Square during a break in her day’s classes. We reached the topic of skin where she admitted to having a long-standing issue.
Shelly struggles with constant bouts of picking her skin. The areas of her body routinely affected are her face and lower-torso, and she said she can sometimes spend literal hours picking. Her phases will persist until scabbing occurs, at which point she will become insecure about the appearance. When affecting her torso, she will avoid wearing clothing that reveals this area of her body.
Another issue we covered was concerning breast size. Shelly revealed she has one breast that is smaller than the other. We didn’t specifically address whether her variance is any greater than average – since it is my understanding that many women face this type of discrepancy to some degree – but the fact remains it’s discernible to Shelly and it causes her to feel insecure. She reflected on instances when she has felt very self-conscious undressing in a women’s change-room, to the point where she would seek the privacy of a stall whenever possible. This insecurity has also carried into intimate situations, with a similar logic being applied when the time comes to undress in front of another person.