Every once in awhile we encounter a body of art that moves us to tears. And that’s exactly what happened when we saw this touching video by Erica Mueller, photographer and creator of The Embody Project.
Throughout much of art history, presentations of the human body have offered us idealized representations of the human form. Countless sculptures and paintings have lifted the human form onto a pedestal of perfection for us to appreciate the artistry and miracle of our own humanity.
But in today’s world of coercive advertising messages, idealized images of the human form are no longer simply opportunities for us to appreciate. Often – for the sake of commercial agendas – they are used to manipulate. And that’s why The Embody Project is so important. In this stunning body of work, Erica offers us a touchingly respectful reflection of our shared humanity. Through these naked and honest images, she helps us see ourselves, with all of our perceived imperfections, as perfectly normal … and amazing.
While some argue that artists should do away with the pedestal of idealized humanity entirely, at Model Society, we see things a little differently. To us, the true beauty of this work is that it makes the pedestal of idealized humanity much larger and more inclusive. The Embody Project shows us a pedestal that’s large enough for every single one of us to climb upon, so that every human being can see themselves as miraculous and beautiful.
We are proud to welcome Erica and The Embody Project to the Model Society community. And we are excited to be working on a very special issue of Model Society Magazine that celebrates this important body of work. We look forward to bringing you the stories and the images at the heart of this wonderful project. You’ll hear from Erica and participants, as you get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be truly naked and revealed as a work of art.
Stay tuned! We’ll have more from The Embody Project soon. For now we invite you to take a look at this beautiful video and take a moment to reconsider yourself … as a spirited work of art.
Founder: Model Society
P.S. – Your opinion matters! So what do you think? How are you impacted by the video? Could you imagine seeing yourself through the honest eyes of art? Please share your thoughts and leave a comment below.
Creator of The Embody Project
“The Embody Project journey began with me, struggling to love my body. My teens, 20s, and early 30s were spent in various stages of eating disorders, depression, suffering and spiritual seeking, all attempts to find a deeper meaning in life, beyond my culture’s ideals of beauty and power. Being a photographer, I made several attempts at healing through self-portrait projects, which were useful but ultimately failed to provide me with a real sense of how I fit into the greater whole of humanity.”
Whenever I begin to feel self conscious or worry about the way others are viewing my body, I think back on my experience with the Embody Project and immediately begin to feel comfort and confidence. I’m reminded of the unbelievable amount of love that I have for myself and for my body. The Embody Project has had an extremely positive impact on my life and for that I’m forever grateful.
Participating in the Embody Project forced me to put to words the confusing relationships I’ve had with exercise, my body, and cultural expectations. Both the experience of writing the essay and seeing my photograph gave me the opportunity to explicitly define, for myself, my ideas about strength and femininity. Beyond that, it was incredibly fun to strip down with some dear friends and lift heavy weights! Erica was a complete joy to work with, and I felt supported, loved, and respected every step of the way. I am proud to be a part of the Embody Project.
As an already open person who has become fairly comfortable with nudity in my recent years, this project seemed ideal for me. There was some discomfort, but the whole experience was phenomenal. Erica is wonderful to work with, and she really allows freedom in the shoot, which makes it feel completely natural. I think the most difficult part was digging into my psyche for the essay, knowing that I’d already come out victorious for having shared in a sort of universally encompassing realm of vulnerability and expressing that everyone really is beautiful.
The Embody Project was a lens into the vulnerable me, the authentic, fierce and blossoming me. The one I have been reluctant to show, perhaps even see for myself. Working with Erica was a balm on my heart, a gesture, a huge bouquet of self-acceptance and care for the divinity and perfection in each of us. I offer deep gratitude for your work, your artistic eye, and loving presence where all is illuminated.
What stuck with me the most from my experience with the Embody Project didn’t have anything to do with me being naked and photographed. It had to do with my realization of how women are storied in our culture. As a male in our western society, I had never been invited to dance with the fear, judgement and objectification that women feel, like I was through my participation in this project.
My Embody Project experience was a way for me to recognize the support from the Universe that my story, expression and body is influential on international levels and is powerfully needed during these times on the planet! Truly, life enhancing and magical!