One night at 3am I got out of bed, dumped a bag of flour over my head and poured soot on me. I ended up taking the photo “Rage On.” I was going through a heartbreak and saw it in pictures in my mind. I found I couldn’t get it out of my head until I made the photo. Once I did, I was able to let it go and get more sleep :-). Sometimes the story is obvious and other times I am still hiding.
I didn’t realize just how many women and men could relate to the emotions I was having. I started my project Women of Strength, where I photograph women I think are real-life warriors and I post my journal of self-portraits. I call it “Jodi’s Journal.” I tend to believe it is not just my journal, but also the journal of many. To me, the stories and tears people post under the photos is what is most impactful. For that reason, I have to share it because seeing others share the same feelings makes lonely feel a little less lonely…for everyone.
She no longer had the energy to keep fighting, let alone leave. Every piece of her had been taken and there was no energy to plan or even know where to begin. There was nothing left of her and yet that is when the time came to do what had to be done. ~ “Rage On”
I free you from the burden of beating yourself up. You’ve done it long enough. For trusting when your gut told you not to, for those words that should have never left your lips or that person you wish you would have never loved. It’s your turn to be forgiven. ~ “I Forgive Myself”
You hid behind a mask she couldn’t see through, because she was blinded by what she wanted to believe. Why, oh why did that mask have to be so beautiful? Then, one day, she saw your truth and realized all this time her eyes had been telling her lies. ~ “Blink”
She felt the darkness closing in on her and had to remind herself she was capable of living the life she deserved. ~ “Need to Live” Artwork by IN_ZO
You found a way through her outer layer and touched the surface of her soul she kept covered. It’s her most gentle piece, guarded with her strongest wall. Yet once again, she’s reminded of why she built that wall so high. So she escapes to a place of safety, where it cannot be chiseled down. ~ “Beneath the Surface”
When he said he wanted her to shine, he failed to mention that he just didn’t want it to be brighter than him. ~ “Shadowed”
She realized she was nothing more than a left over agenda item for a short meeting. Every action of absence erased every word of promises. So instead of being on standby for a plane at the wrong airport, she bought a new ticket for a different destination. ~ “Self-Prioritization”
A closet full of outfits, just waiting for the invite. The invite to a play, nights out on the town or a midnight kiss. She wanted to wear them for someone, but “someone” never came knocking. ~ “Dressed up for no one”
She never understood why the night you brought her those beautiful flowers it ripped her heart out. They were the same flowers she had desperately wanted for so long and now those flowers shred her soul. It was then she realized the flowers were a reminder of all the ways she was hurt by you. They accentuated everything never done and were a glaring reminder, that until she used her voice she was never worth the beauty of them in your eyes. ~ “The Beautiful Flower”
She wanted to be more than a photo and a late night text message. She wanted someone to search for the intricacies of her soul and get lost in the unobvious spaces of her. To somehow make her feel beautiful in the midst of her own insecurities. ~ “Layers”
She didn’t plan on climbing hills and tearing down walls, because it wasn’t a matter of being strong, it was a matter of not having a choice. ~ “The Wonder of a Woman”
About Jodi Swanson
At what age does a person realize they were born and raised in a box? More importantly, at what age does a person decide to break out of that and become their own beautiful self. I was born and raised in the “boondocks” the so-called “box” (AKA: minister’s daughter/Footloose).
Now I live in the city. These photos are a small piece of my journey in breaking out of that box. I get bored with “we do it cause it is tradition” thinking. So that’s why I invent my own holidays and I never seem to be popular. I’ve never wanted to be a photographer, I only wanted to get as good as I could in order to journal my story. To sort through the deck life hands you. What I didn’t expect, is the camera has the power to make people feel beautiful, even in those moments when one is not feeling so.
So when I take a photo it is for one of three reasons: to journal my story, make a beautiful soul see themselves the way I do or to show the people living in the box how beautiful the world can be outside of it.
You can find Jodi Swanson on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Jodi Swanson. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.