My name is Anastasia Kuba.
I am a photographer of this project. People who participate in the project can photograph me too on my/their camera or phone. These are selected photos that were taken by my subjects.
As a person who’s lived through a childhood trauma, I’ve struggled to define my boundaries and to understand my value. I was getting a lot of attention because I was conventionally attractive and naturally, I assigned my value to my body. In my early twenties I worked as a dancer in a topless clubs. Surprisingly, through this job I developed better boundaries. “No. You can’t. This is not allowed.” - I had to repeat those words over and over again until they became natural.
As I grew able to advocate for myself in most situations, defining my boundaries with people closest to me still remained a challenge. As I learned to act certain, my internal sense of value was still caught in a web.
In 2008 I quit dancing and became a professional portrait photographer. I photographed 100s of people of all genders, background and ages who are learning to recognize the beauty of their bodies unapologetically. To my subjects this photo sessions are a radical act of self acceptance.
I’ve been helping people to feel comfortable in their body for the past 9 years and I understand how important it is, but I also know that beauty and integrity are not connected. I love my body, but I am still struggling to unlink my sense of worth from people’s perceptions. I have already learned that no amount of approval of any kind can help one to love oneself.
That self love lies elsewhere, in a deep understanding that respect is a human right, not something one needs to “deserve”, because person’s life and integrity are sacred.