"Why are you really naked on the internet all of a sudden?"

"Hey Taylor, how are you going to manage to up your narcissism this time?"

With a promise to [attempt to] continually update this stream of consciousness that flows from my brain, through the computer and into your parietal lobe....

A blog...I'm starting a blog. 

"Do you really have enough to say or do to start a blog?"

In my personal opinion, absolutely not. But based on how many non-verbal disabled dogs now provide the internet with a running commentary of their lives, maybe I'm being too hard on myself.

Nonetheless, it begins! And it begins with the most obvious question:

"Why are you really naked on the internet all of a sudden?"

Remember that almost-weird girl in high school that was too quiet to be popular, but not quiet enough to go unnoticed? I'm what happens when you afford her power over her own decisions and enough free time to really delve into the crevices of the internet. We're way beyond the dark corners. Seriously...don't look around in my closet (and that's for your safety, not mine).

I've noticed many names and a few familiar faces attempt to re-appear in my life after my clothes began disappearing. While I can understand that female nudity may seem like a mating call, heed this as a general warning & allow me to be frank at the commencement: you will not like me. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. And if the Johnny Depp reference is lost on you, you're going to think I'm a douchebag regardless of what I wear. 

"I'm just scrolling for the tits, where are they?"

Literally almost anywhere else I appear on the internet. You know what else is on the internet? Almost an infinite amount of other peoples tits too! Seriously - brush up on your Googling skills and peruse the rest of the interwebs. But do so quietly, the grownups are talking.

As I was saying...boobs and stuff. 

It was recently brought to my attention that my Instagram feed can be described as "a lot". That's not to say I was unaware of that fact up until this point, but as someone with intense short man syndrome, I feel the need to justify my choices. And as someone with mild OCD, I feel the need to do so in a numbered list:

1) Education

And not in a "But professor, I really need an A to pass the class" way. Learning about photography involves so much more than learning about a camera; it's lighting, it's clothing, it's styling and posing, it's composition and math and marketing and SEO and a whole host of other bullshit that will make your head spin before you can even ask how wide open you should be (it's a term, not an entendre. Look it up.)

Because of my willingness to step up and strip down, I've been afforded opportunities to shoot with, talk with and learn from some of my favourite photographers. Most of whom I am fortunate enough to now call my friends.

Now, first and foremost, before I become entirely absorbed in my own sense of self, I must offer my most sincere and humbled thanks to these individuals. Each and every one of you, listed or not, has been and continues to be instrumental in my shaping as a creative, as a business person and as a not-entirely-piece-of-shit human being. You are some of the most amazing, dedicated, naturally talented and beautifully blunt people I have ever met and it brings such a smile to my face to think about how this level of sappiness is equally making all of your skin crawl. I have bared, bent, bled, crawled, climbed, burned, froze, been bug bitten, blacked out and filled every swear jar in North America in hopes of absorbing 1/100th of your awesomeness and I'd do it all again. Y'know...for arts sake. 

 

2) Physical Size

Unless you're Edith Werbel or Deanna DiCarlo, I haven't met too many people who can buy and wear just about anything.

Side note: I love you both. But as always, fuck you both.

 Abs and height belonging to  Edith

Abs and height belonging to Edith

 

If you've never had the unfortunate luck to have to deal with me in person, it may surprise you that I am inhumanly small. For example, this is my shoe:

 Lighter for scale

Lighter for scale

And while I'm sized like a 12-year-old, the things that fly out of my mouth would offend most sailors/truckers/stereotypically vulgar occupations. So, appearing like a child but acting like a childish grown up can give a very jail bait-y vibe. And nobody wants that...

But there are very few things I can wear in photographs (or daily life) without appearing like I'm playing dress up.

"Such problems. You're 100lbs soaking wet. Eat a sandwich."

I can't, the bread will kill me. But I will gladly shovel all the salty snacks at an uncomfortably fast pace. Lets remember, my weight effects my apparent size but does not affect it.

And to defuse this potential body-shaming trigger before it even ignites, here I am in the smallest pair of fishnets you can buy at Shoppers:

 If the camel toe hadn't been so unreasonably aggressive, they would be able to go straight over my head. 

If the camel toe hadn't been so unreasonably aggressive, they would be able to go straight over my head. 

And this belt is from kindergarten:

And while I've made conscious efforts to personally shift things towards the last victim in a horror movie and not the first...

My love of chips and all things disgusting creates a weird boob/butt/bag of bones ratio that still makes my general existence in a v-neck marginally offensive. 

If you've read this far, chances are you've seen me like I am in most of those photos. 

And while I do have a [bad] habit of flooding the phones of my friends with pro-level n00dz, usually they are forced to see me like this:

Or finding me in the kitchen in some horror movie crip-walk combo pose trying to eradicate any semblance of body hair in preparation for said photos. Which brings me to the last item on my list:

3) Empowerment

"Seriously? Is this chick going to justify showing her ass on Instagram as empowering? Is she also verbalizing her own insecurities through an anonymous, judgemental, inner dialogue?"

For those asking that question/probably here just for the tits, has it clicked yet that you may or may not have lusted over a girl that not only has a habit of speaking about herself in the third person, but is doing it in this very sentence? Read the writing on the walls - BECAUSE I MAY HAVE WRITTEN ON THE ACTUAL WALLS. Crazy is only hot until you come home and it's cousin, social anxiety, has been wearing YOUR t-shirt for 3 days and has categorized your 300+ DVD collection both alphabetically and by genre.  

Please note, I did not write on the walls in the above photo. Someone else did. Actually. 

This item is a two-parter, so lets stick with the OCD theme:

3A) BodyRock

I have spent a significant amount of time over the last few years with people that are in, and remain in, almost impossibly good shape. This is largely due to the fact that I used to work for BodyRock - an online fitness community where I shot and filmed content for our advertising and paid content. In the beginning, I was more focused on Facebook trends and how much cheese one person can eat before it's lethal. Once I began shooting more and spending more one-on-one time with these anomalies, it became harder to continue dismissing my own fitness level (or lack there of).

I've got my own shit, just like everyone. Mine happens to be a twisty spine and the digestive tract of an 80-year-old man

 I've been told the black clouds are farts. Also, I did not know boobs would appear on an x-ray...

I've been told the black clouds are farts. Also, I did not know boobs would appear on an x-ray...

Watching people, specifically women, rise to any and all challenges over and over again may seem like it would bring you down, but I've never felt more empowered in my life. I looked around me and saw women that took charge of their lives, their bodies and their abilities and pushed them to the absolute max. And for the large part, I saw women that were living more of their lives than I was. Not because of what they did or how they looked, but because they had found something that was worth struggling for. I was surrounded by women thriving off challenge and change and I wanted that for myself. I fell in love with shooting fitness because it was the most exciting game of chess I've never played; I would set the bar of where we would go and what we would shoot and they would match it and raise it - pulling out shit I didn't even know people could do. I have never played chess in my life and hold no responsibility for the validity of that analogy. 

But even these near-perfect bodies don't always translate perfectly in photos. It's so easy to forget that Photoshop isn't the only manipulation tool of photography. The way someone is lit and posed and dressed can do more than liquify ever could. And I wanted to go places and shoot things with these women that showcased just how strong and amazing they really could be - which means I had to rise to the occasion too. 

For some, being in front of the camera was just another day. For others, it was a whole new challenge. And when you take someone that has always felt especially capable and in control and you make them feel vulnerable, something interesting happens. They need you - as their mirror, as their safety net and as their confidence. 

How can you ask someone to do something you can barely describe? How can you throw someone into the middle of a freezing lake and ask them to "act natural" without having any idea of what they're going through physically and mentally?

Gotta put your money where your mouth is...

Being able to speak to the sensations of the poses and the elements and the movements began to take things to a whole new level. And when you're trying to show off muscle tone, the clothes tend to come off too. So, also gotta put your bra where your camera is (or whatever...it's getting late and I'm less funny when I'm hungry).

From there, it snowballed. And I began trying to apply those same principals to other shoots and other subjects. I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I finally feel like I'm on my way. And through all this, my absolute favourite feeling is to turn over a finished product and see their reaction when they surprise themselves. I don't want to push people places they don't want to go, I want to push them towards the people they never thought they could be. 

3B) Do More

But above all, I have to make special mention to the people of Do More Photographers and specifically Ewan & Brianna Phelan

Being a part of a community that is simultaneously open to embracing and challenging our ideas of beauty and strength and sex and gender and eroticism has never made me feel more like myself. I've always been the one to inspire the record scratch moment at a dinner party (which is probably why I don't go to them anymore). I haven't stopped being that person, I've just stopped caring. And that's the most empowering thing I think any of us can do. 

So yeah, welcome to my blog. It's gonna be a shit show. And if you read this far and still want to make something together, get in touch. Especially if you like freezer chips, because we'll probably be friends forever.