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. My work has been published and exhibited internationally. I was the original photographer for the international “Bare” campaign by Woman Enough that went viral in 2014 and was published all over the world, in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post and Shape.
I’ve been helping people to feel comfortable in their body for the past 7 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.