In the beginning I always hated my body, as I was very awkward looking growing up. Mainly because I had a massive growth spurt one summer after sixth grade, and ended up being 11 inches taller when I started the next school year. I was 11, being forced to deal with an almost brand new body which made me uncomfortable, because I was already skinny, and with the majority of my body being legs I felt like I didn’t fit in with the standard jock type guys I was surrounded by at school. I had to learn to love myself all over again at a very young age, and being raised conservatively with my father and mother both being religious figureheads didn’t really allow me the space to experiment with viewing my body in a public space or as anything other than something to be hidden.
After years of hiding myself literally and figuratively, I can finally say that I definitely see my body in a positive light. I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that I had to find myself and learn who I was in order to form a better relationship with my body and how I wanted it to be seen. A huge part of my attitude over the years has changed from only caring what other people saw and thought of me, to something along the lines of "let them think what they want" because it shouldn’t affect my life and my expression of myself. Why should the thoughts of other irrelevant people dictate the way I live my life?
For me its extremely important to express my sexuality because growing up there was such a stigma around the nude body and showing yourself to the world. There was no option for the body to be considered as art, or nudity being perceived in a non-sexual manner. So me being able to express myself and my sexuality is something I consider to be a huge privilege, and showing more people that the naked body can be beautiful and artistic without being inherently sexual is also important to me.
Nowadays nudity is very casual for me, because when you get out of the mindset that everything needs to be hidden it’s so easy to just be free and not make a big deal out of it. I definitely wish people would realize that our bodies shouldn’t be such a taboo subject. We all have them, and it would be much easier to just accept that we’re all different and beautiful and celebrate that. But of course in our society that’s easier said than done.
At times I’m definitely still censoring myself because of certain situations that have happened in the past. For example people taking what I post on Instagram and posting it on other apps where my parents could see it, and then dealing with not only the backlash I would personally experience, but the backlash my parents would feel from their friends, family, or community.
Social media definitely influenced my journey to being more liberal with how I present myself. It has shown me that I should love and accept myself and stop worrying about the opinions of others. It also has given me a platform to easily show my art to the world, and that’s the most important thing to me.
In A Risk Self Study, Jozef Wright talks about insecurities, percieving the body as a tool of art and exploring freedom of expression.
Model & Photographs Jozef Wright