Exposing 40 is a photography project and the images we take and have taken of ourselves will always be the primary focus, whether they’re images that celebrate what we love, confront what challenges us, or reveal what excites us.
But stories and anecdotes that provide the backdrop to the project will emerge.
Last Saturday I spent the afternoon with one of my oldest friends. We met more than 21 years ago on our first day at university. Over the following three years we spent many hours together in the dark room, ‘dodging and burning’ to manipulate our images, long before the days of digital. We hopped on trains to London to visit the Photographer’s Gallery. Hours were spent poring over the work of Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Man Ray, and many more, seeking inspiration…
Guy Bourdin at Somerset House was our destination last weekend. Sexy, provocative, beautiful, funny photography. Walking around I shared the idea for Exposing 40. Her excitement was immediate. Back at her house books were dragged down from the shelf and once again our heads were together, talking through ideas. By celebrating 40 we’d become 18 again.
Later in the week I texted her with an idea for a photo:
‘Does the corset you wore to the first year May Ball still fit you?’
‘It does. Fab idea!’
‘I’ve been thinking about how to photograph my caesarean scar. It’s ugly but it’s now part of the rich tapestry of my life.’
And that’s really the essence of this. Friends coming together, celebrating beauty and reinterpreting bruises.