Too fat. Too dark. Too thin. Too foolish. Too much.
There is always the majority of society reminding us of what they perceive to be our inadequacies. Put in your honest labor all day — someone will tell you that you don’t earn enough. Research diligently and write a thoughtful piece — someone will tell you that you are not smart enough. Fight against injustice with all your heart — someone will call you a coward. These ‘someones’ in society will always exist, trying to pull you down. What can we do to shield ourselves from such negative influence? The answer lies in self-acceptance, which leads to self-love.
Most of us live our entire lifetimes crippled by our insecurities. Insecurities are born out of looking at perfect lingerie models on billboards, rich car owners on social media, twenty-year-old boys enjoying their Europe vacation, and many such capitalist dreams. One feels inadequate as one tries to reach these unassailable goals. Society feeds on it and the cycle of shame grows. The moment we start accepting ourselves for who or what we are is the first chapter in our entirely altered lives, seen from a different lens of perception. Farheen’s photoseries ‘I don’t like being photographed’ addresses the issues of body shaming and reflects on how society perpetrates it. One faces body shaming not just from outsiders but from people close to them — friends, family, and relatives, whose insensitivity can scar the person to the point that they do not like the feel of their own body.
To be photographed is to be seen. Years of feeling uncomfortable in our own skin make us so insecure about our body image that we do not wish to be photographed. They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but that’s not true. Beauty lies in our own eyes and until we see it for ourselves, we do not wish to be photographed. This is the concept behind Farheen’s photograph, featuring Prachi as the model.
There are some beautiful lines accompanied by the photograph, written by Ama Codjoe.
“I don't like being photographed.
When I want to remember something beautiful, instead of taking a photograph,
I close my eyes.
I am alone in my tenderness.
My body is a lens I can look through with my mind.”
Farheen Fatima is a self-taught photographer and visual artist. She engages in narratives themed around nature and human relationships. She explores these themes through her photographic practice as well as rhythmic illustrations.
You can find more about her works here.