Photographer Steve Rosenfield recently asked subjects far and wide to complete the following statement: "I am not my ___ " He prompted individuals to fill in the blank with their deepest and darkest insecurities, moving people to bring issues regarding body image, substance abuse, mental illness, race and sexuality to the forefront.
The results of the social experiment of sorts is 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.
"I am not my gender."
"I am not my PTSD," states one woman, decorated with the words "It wasn't my fault." "I am not my sexuality," a young man declares," shown with the word "faggot" written diagonally across his face.
"The 'What I Be Project' is all about honesty," Rosenfield writes on his site. "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."
"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, among many, many other things. With over 1,100 images under his belt, Rosenfield began asking his volunteers to write essays to accompany their images to provide more context for an upcoming book.
"I encourage every viewer to look at each image and put yourself in the individuals shoes," the photographer adds. "By allowing yourself to feel what they feel, you might realize something you’ve never noticed before."
"I am not my turban."
"I am not my bulimia."
See a preview of the project here and let us know your thoughts in the comments. To get involved in the series, check out the link here and the Facebook page here.
"I am not my molestation."
"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."