When I work with a person, I work with them for three hours. Nobody can perform for three hours. I have stamina, and I will wear them out, and that’s pretty much how I work. Every time I work with somebody, they say, “What do you want me to look like? How do you want me to be?” And I say, “Sit where you are and do whatever you want.” I’m refusing to tell them what to do.
There is nothing to hide behind, so a person is folding and folding and folding, and I think that’s why, almost every time, the person ends up looking like a child. They look like they are toddlers. I’ve been using the hashtag #TheBodyIsInnocent because when you strip it down, there’s a little kid in every single human, and that is something I saw afterwards. That was not my initial idea. Whatever my initial idea was, my discovery was a child. I was like, “Everybody’s just a baby.”
It seems like consent was important every step along the way, which I found interesting because we rarely talk about consent in non-sexual contexts. Why did you choose to do it that way?
When I tell other photographers [about my process], they react like, “That is crazy. You cannot do that. You’re just wasting your resources.” Because I’m expending my resources and my money to do this, and when I photograph someone who then changes their mind, that’s time that I didn’t photograph someone else. People say, “No, don’t use this.” What people don’t like is often the best picture in my eyes; they’re vulnerable in [those pictures], and that’s why they don’t like them.
But I feel like that’s the only way [this project would be] possible. If you always had that door open behind you and you knew you could walk away at any moment, would that change the way you were in the photo session?
From Suzannah Weiss’s “The photographer fighting against’body positivity'”, an interview with Anastasia Kuba in Broadly via Clem Bastow.