Can Life Be New

MODEL / Hannah
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE
INTERVIEW – CHAPTER I

It’s just like the most powerful thing to do.” – Hannah

Hannah is a treasure. We have worked together on several occasions and on the drive out to our most recent shoot, I got to ask her a few questions and she agreed to allow me to record our conversation and share it. She wanted to share with me about how the experience of shooting nude with Genesis Modeling and Photography has helped her overcome personal battles following sexual abuse. It was a long conversation and so we’ll break it up into a few chapters. We talk about some heavy topics, so if that triggers you, be forewarned.

Here are some excerpts from our interview:

Jason: Can you describe how shooting nude helped you after being assaulted? You called it something like “taking back who you are?

Hannah: I think after [the assault] happens you kind of lose a sense of yourself, and you just kind of think like, okay, well if that’s all I’m really going to be used for, then maybe that’s all I’m only meant for…. It sounds kind of pitiful I guess, but at the same time, it’s like I went through something and came out basically feeling broken.

And so to be able to gain that confidence and vulnerability back in a good way, it’s just, it’s such a relief-feeling to know that you can still love yourself after that happened to you. That it was not your fault. And I think a lot of people that are victims of those things blame themselves, or they’re like, well, what if I just didn’t go to that party? Or what if I just didn’t have that drink? You know what I mean? And it’s being comfortable again with your body. Like literally, I could just never look at myself naked. It took so long for me to be to do that.

J: Why do you think that was?

H: I felt like it was my fault and I was stressing: how did I let that happen to me? And then I had to realize like a lot of things are out of my control and that I didn’t choose to have that happen. I needed to let it “break you or make you.” I told myself that it’s fine to have the grieving process, but you have to get on your feet sooner or later.

One of my friends is a rape victim as well. And it’s just crazy to think like how often it happens. And then when it happens to you, you reach out to other people and you find out that’s happening a lot more. It changes your perspective, I guess a little bit. So you don’t feel so alone.

J: So by sharing your story, embracing community, it gives you power over…

H: Yeah. It’s basically like, OK, you took that part away from me, but you’re not going to take away the rest. Like you’re not going to take me away from myself. Yeah, for a moment, you tore my identity apart, but now that I found out who I am, again, it’s like, you can’t touch me anymore.

If I can embrace nudity in a non-sexual way, then it’s like, what else is there to see? I think it’s very empowering for us to embrace being comfortable naked.

I think a lot of people are very immature and I admit that I also struggled with insecurity for sure, especially after what happened. I thought no one would ever look at me the same way if I told them what had happened. But being able to look at yourself in a better way – being able to see yourself naked pushes you to realize that it doesn’t really matter how the other people think. It’s how you feel about yourself.

J: Do you think that rape is more about the physical or about the emotional?

H: I think it’s definitely both. Personally, I feel like every rapist, even if they don’t want to extend it, they definitely feel remorse for what they did. Although there are some people that don’t feel that emotion like that, but I think the majority of people do understand that their actions cause pain. My rapist – He tried reaching out afterwards, like after a month and apologizing, but honestly, I just didn’t really want to hear it. I appreciate him understanding that what he did was wrong, but I don’t want any communication of that because it was his choice to do it.

I think people that feel the need to do that didn’t get the love that they needed growing up and they searched for it in the wrong way. They don’t get it from the ways that they’re searching either, because they go out and hurt someone and take away their happiness.

J: How do you think that society contributes to the environment of allowing or promoting rape?

H: I think it should be harder [on rapists]. So I think there’s the legal part where a lot of people that rape don’t get in trouble. It’s very rare for a rapist to go to jail, or anyway for a long time, or a real reprimand or consequence for their actions — whether it’s a female or male, you know, it can come from both ways.  So I think that because of the way you view community and sex and stuff like that, like if you go onto like porn sites, a lot of it — it’s very rough — like not what real sex is. And I think people that don’t experience healthy ways of experiencing sexuality and nudity and being subjected to nudity very often have a difficult time distinguishing what’s right and wrong when it comes to sex. I think society play a huge part in that though. Especially now, if you go on social media, it’s all about girls’ bodies. Like it’s never about like personality or who they are, which might sound cheesy. But like, I feel like nowadays people shop for girls — or men as well — like it’s very subjective.

And I think society needs to do a better job at allowing helpful nudity. So I feel like if we subject everyone to more nudity, I don’t think [sexualizing] nudity would be a huge thing anymore. Like rape would still happen obviously, but I don’t think it would be as severe as it is now.

J: That brings up an interesting question to me: Does sharing nude photographs on social media help people see more normalcy of nudity to you? Or does it add into that shopping culture?

H: I think it definitely depends on how the nudity is being portrayed because you can take two different types of nude photos. You can make sexual nudes, or you can take artistic nudes. Like a girl eating a banana while wearing lingerie is likely insinuating something there. But like, for example, your photo of me, nude near a waterfall, definitely not sexual, it’s just nude.

You know what I mean? Like there’s a difference between sex and nude. And I think we have a hard time distinguishing that in society. And as soon as they see a naked person, they’re like, Oh my gosh, sex, that’s the first thing we are taught to think about. But instead, why, like, why do we think that way?  Why can’t we think of it as just like an art form? And I mean, that’s what it is. We’re all born naked.

J: How did seeing yourself in the photos adjust your outlook?

H: I think a lot of what follows after sexual assault, is a lot of shame. And guilt. And I just wonder, like, why me? To get over that, you just really have to be vulnerable again with yourself. Like I literally never thought I’d be able to look at myself naked again, after the whole thing happened. And then like doing that shoot, I was like, why am I so scared? Like, I’m not going to die if I’m naked. Like nothing bad’s gonna happen!

J: What do you think the mental switch was?

H: I think I just stopped. Like I just stopped allowing my past to determine who I am as a person and as my future. I just allowed myself to embrace who I was and it just felt so good to just be who I was again. And being naked at our shoot was kind of like a turning point for me. I don’t know if it’s the vulnerability aspect or like having the ability to be in a safe place and feel that emotion as well and not be scared. It’s just a really great feeling.

J: Any closing thoughts?

H: I want more people to shoot nude! I don’t know why people don’t just go for it when considering a nude shoot. You know? Honestly, like it’s scary at first, and then when you do it, it’s just like the most powerful thing to do. And it’s just, why was I scared in the first place? It’s like not even worth being afraid about. It’s like everything worked out great. And you learn to love yourself again. 100%.

Stay Tuned for Chapter II.

24 Skies

MODEL / Joy S
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

PART 1: Some of the most beautiful places in the world are right here in Idaho. Shh! Don’t tell! Joy and I hit the road for these shots near the Sawtooth Mountains. Here was Joy’s reaction to the photos:

“I just looked at them and omg 🥺 they are beautiful! I love then so much and they made me smile so much!!!”

We Are Fire

MODEL / Hannah G
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

PART 1: The backdrop: A fascinatingly unique water-and-wind-carved canyon that can only be accessed in the wintertime. Even though it was 22 degrees Fahrenheit, Hannah braved the weather, climbing rocks and bracing through the cold as we worked quickly through the area. Here are her thoughts, after seeing the results:

“Sooo those pictures turned out absolutely amazing!!! I think a couple of my favorites would be of me on that rock that I was terrified of climbing! They look so good. Thank you for giving me the confidence to do it! I can’t get over how amazing they are! I love how the shapes just flow so well and there are a couple of other ones where I blend in with the rocks and it’s beautiful. I love sharing this art with people and creating it with people like you. I honestly never thought of nudism the way I do now and I’m so happy to be apart of the movement!”

Where’s My Soul?

MODEL / Janna G
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

On a cold, windy morning, Janna and I drove out through the fog to North America’s largest sand dune. The wind was biting and made your eyes water. Working through the emotions brought by the environment, Janna brought this truly heart-touching performance to this portion of our shoot. Janna’s response to our shoot? “They turned out AMAZING!”

With the Sunshine

MODEL / Jessie Jane
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

In the second half of our shoot, we changed locations to a dry waterfall and a its surroundings perched on a cliff overlooking a beautiful gorge. Here’s what Jessie Jane had to say:

Legit, when I went out in these rocks near a cliff, it was pretty scare. I was definitely collecting my courage on this part of the rocks. My hands tingle as i remember it. As I relaxed and knew I would never be put in any real danger, I formed with the rock around me. Working in the tunnel made me want to reach high in all things. What will your history be? Of inspiration and beauty or opposite? I very much enjoy being a canvas for art. So fun and it sets my heart free. I want to take a moment and thank Jason for this shoot. It’s done nothing but bring me out.

Back to How It Was

MODEL / Hannah G
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

This was Hannah’s first shoot. We found an amazing old dairy barn to shoot in as well as some sweet meadows and waterfalls. As you probably know, I LOVE waterfalls! We even managed to find a hot spring.

Coming in Clear

MODEL / Jessie Jane
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Jesse Jane wanted an opportunity to to reclaim what was hers, that is, her femininity — her rights to herself — and she thought shooting with Genesis Modeling and Photography was just the ticket to freedom. I couldn’t agree more. Here’s what she had to say about our shoot:

Sometimes you need to take a break from the world. Be yourself. Love yourself. Accept yourself, your natural beauty, go back to the basics.

On that day it was as if these rocks were perfectly molded for me, the water was beautiful (and chilly but hey), but on that day I was more than just a model. I am someone who finally loves and accepts herself. I cannot go on in life without positivity.

No words can explain how amazing the view was where Jason took me to shoot. Oh the nature around me ❤ I can look over this beautiful world and know that my artistic ways don’t stop here.

One funny thing I was thinking after seeing the results was, ‘I’m proud of my athletic bootay!’ 😉 and I can always work hard and always improve.

I became one with nature that day, I accepted myself and had to face the truth that I am who I am. Wanting to be like anyone else just made me sad. I am of worth, and made with beauty and I couldn’t be happier ❤.

So feel the beauty, be the beauty, become the beauty. This is where I let my heart free, and allowed my soul to fly. I know my worth and it has never gone away.

The More We Learn the Less We Know

MODEL / ASHLEY ROSE
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Ashley is an overcomer who isn’t afraid to face her challenges, organize them and tackle each one until she is victorious. We shot in an abandoned rock quarry in January — just the place for sunny, snowy, fur-lined fun photos. And she rocked it.

You Are Golden

MODEL / BRIAHNA
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Briahna and I explored the Boise River to get these epic body paint shots. Here’s her thoughts, post-shoot: “Thank you. It was super fun. Took Forever to wash the paint out of my hair but it was worth it!”

Out of Mysteries

MODEL / RAVEN
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Every person has a different personality! Raven has a tough exterior, piercing eyes and a softness of heart. She’s got a great sense of humor, too! Here are some of our shots at the Classic Junkyard.

Tomorrow Knows What Tomorrow Knows

MODEL / RILEY
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

There’s a classic junk yard with vehicles ranging from the 20s to the 70s and I’ve wanted to shoot there for years! Finally got my opportunity with a couple of great ladies. This is Riley. She’s a dancer, an artist and she loves caring for animals. I love how she jumped into this shoot with such enthusiasm.

Redemption’s Side

MODEL / LINDSEY K
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

This was my second shoot with Lindsey. She’s a survivor, a warrior who has overcome much and wanted to celebrate some major life victories with another shoot. I think she’s a rockstar.

Cause We Know Life is Short

MODEL / ELLIE & MEGAN
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Sometimes a model’s friend will decide to tag along on a shoot. This was one of those occasions and, as often happens, both girls end up in front of the camera. Ellie and Megan and I had such fun on this shoot. It’s just great to experience nudity in nature, just as God intended. 

Where’s Your Heart At Now?

MODEL / KC HEART
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

This is a shoot I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but it takes the right kind of adventurer to pull it off!

Busy library? Check. Potential to get busted? Check. Ready to do it? Check!  KC and I hit the library stacks to get these classic and beautiful juxtapositions of the human form contrasted with tomes of literature and science. Enjoy!

Grow Where You Are

MODEL / NICOLE
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Nicole agreed to hit up the Camas Prairie Nature Preserve with me to see if we could find some of their famous purple flowers for our backdrop. What we found is that we were too late for flowers, but it was windy and we took advantage of the plentiful swaying grasses for our bodypaint shoot.

Dreaming Out Loud

MODEL / E B
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

It was 15 degrees. The streets were frozen solid and we fishtailed around every turn, but we made it to this magical parkland and knocked out some stunning shots in the snow. Even saw a deer!

 

Til I Read Your Lips

MODEL / DINEKA
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Dineka made a quick trip down to Boise and we got this shoot in the snow! Can you say epic?

Sing This to Me Slow

MODEL / ALLY
PHOTOGRAPHY / JASON LEE

Ally asked for experimental body paint and hot springs. In this post, I’ll share the body paint section. It turned out really cool!