Every so often, sometimes way too often, I look in the mirror and what I see just doesn’t match the image that I have in my head. I find the strangest things to critique, unconsciously comparing myself to the women that I see on the cover of magazines or on social media. I feel bloated or unattractive, my skin is too oily or too dry… There is always something to pick apart. I pride myself of being a kind person but my internal voice can be utterly cruel and self deprecating.
As a photographer I have attempted, and often failed, to tackle the these issues, so when I came across Gracie Hagen’s series, Illusions of the Body, I was in awe. The concept seems so simple, almost obvious, but the impact of seeing these women’s bodies change so drastically with slight body adjustments is profound.
Her nude photographs show the same model posing two different ways, one displays her body in a flattering light, while the other distorts the body. The series reminds me that neither mirrors nor photographs are an accurate reflection of reality. Changes in positioning or lighting drastically change our perceptions of ourselves. Illusions of the Body serves as a reminder not to compare yourself to a made-up and perfectly lit model on the cover of a magazine. When I look in the mirror I think of this series and remind myself that self-confidence is the only real barometer for beauty.
See more of Gracie Hagen’s work and her full series here