‘Eleven Years’: Photographer’s Personal Journey on Body Image & Beauty

Curators’ Corner

‘Eleven Years’: Photographer’s Personal Journey on Body Image & Beauty

Since 2000, ClampArt in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood has developed a reputation as one of the premier contemporary photography galleries in the Big Apple.

From May 22nd to July 3rd, ClampArt will host photographer Jen Davis’ “Eleven Years” exhibition, which studies Davis’ and society’s perception of her body image over eleven years of her life.

Davis began taking self-portraits in 2002 in an effort to challenge traditional views of feminine beauty.  Overweight for most of her life, Davis’ exhibition showcases her battle with loneliness, as well as her desire for love, intimacy and acceptance.

The powerful set of photographs emanate raw beauty from every perspective, but Davis says the allure of the experience was ‘contradictory.’

“The beauty of the picture was in the light and in the use of color—it was beauty that I could control, a world of beauty that I myself created and inhabited. In a way what I was doing was seducing myself. I couldn’t necessarily identify with the idea of someone seeing me as ‘beautiful,’ but I could accept that the pictures that I created and inhabited were. It was a very contradictory experience,” she said.

“At home with mundane surroundings, I treated the camera as if it were my lover—the camera desiring me, providing me the glimpse of what was missing in my life.”

Davis has since undergone lap-band surgery and is thrilled to be in a new phase of her life.  Her exhibition is a stark reminder of the everyday emotions, longings and insecurities we face as human beings.

The ClampArt gallery is located on 521-531 W 25th street and is open from 10AM – 6PM Tuesday through Saturday.