The Internet has become a collective confessional, in which people share their deepest secrets, desires, and sometimes, their regrets. One artist, who we first discovered on Lost at E Minor, hopes to use it as a platform for social change. “In today’s society, we are often told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these ‘standards,’ we are often judged, ridiculed, bullied and sometimes even killed over them,” photographer Steve Rosenfield wrote of his What I Be photo series. “I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart and empower those who feel they suffer for something they may see as a flaw.” The series makes people’s insecurities visible, as each individual has written them across their own bodies. The photos are raw, heartfelt visual diaries that are profoundly emotional, but also inspiring. Some participants included a personal essay to accompany their image, which we’ve featured in our gallery where applicable. The ones that don’t are still powerful reminders of the shared anxieties we face as fragile human beings and the hope that can heal us.
“At 21 years old and 5 feet tall, I weighed a whopping 85 pounds. And when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was disgusting fat on my thighs and stomach that needed to be removed.”
“The thing is, I did struggle with mental health issues, namely anxiety and depression. But those were issues that truly had nothing to do with the fact that he wasn’t faithful in our relationship and unable to take any responsibility for it.”
“I am told a lot that I couldn’t or can’t do this or that simply because I have one arm. So for a while in my life I accepted that I would never be able to do certain things.”