Photographer Steve Rosenfield recently asked subjects to complete the following statement: "I am not my ___ ". From their responses, he created a photography series titled the "What I Be Project," an intimate examination of the anxieties and inhibitions that plague men and women of all ages. Rosenfield posed his volunteers in simple positions, adorning the subjects with bold black phrases of their choosing, written on their arms, chests and faces.
This project is the reminder that ALL of us need. We are not defined by one trait, occurrence or obstacle in our lives. We are not bound and chained by it - though sometimes we act as though we are. Overcoming mental and physical hurdles is not easy, but it's not impossible.
"I am not my gender.""The 'What I Be Project' is all about honesty," Rosenfield writes on his site.
"I am not my amputation."The project -- started in September of 2010 -- covers a broad population of people dealing with career obstacles, eating disorders, chronic illness, self-harm and disabilities, etc.
"I am not my turban."
"I am not my bulimia."
"I am not my molestation."We need to look forward and move forward. Standing still helps no one. We make excuses for our health and our fitness, saying it's just "who we are". But it isn't. It's who you choose to be. Being over weight or under weight does not define you - you can change that. Being unfit and unhealthy does not define you - you can change that too.
But it requires a conscious decision. It requires effort and dedication. Just like these individuals, overcoming your obstacles means letting go of the excuses not to. Don't let your flaws & struggles and shortcomings define you - but don't let excuses hold you back from your potential either.
"I am not my number."
"I am not my abortion."
"I am not my adoption."
"I am not my character."
"I am not my thoughts."
"I am not my body image."
"I am not my guilt."
"In today’s society, we are told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these 'standards,' we are often judged, ridiculed, and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind and heart."