“No One Had A Voice Until You Came Along”
There was a time in my life, when I truly didn't believe in the person that I am.
I wanted to give up... On everything.
I found a way to encourage myself through documenting my insecurities. I have Vitiligo, and because of that, I battle through depression, anxiety and trusting others.
I learned to accept sadness through photography, enabled a sense of acceptance by documenting my struggles... Finally, able to share my true self with others, I began to embrace what I have to offer to those that surround me.
'A breath of fresh air,' so I was recently told – most people I have ever encountered, feel confident in approaching me for advice or support. I have connected through social media and found people who seek emotional support for Vitiligo... internationally.
In 2016, I created a Photographic Project; a rather large engagement that includes Travel to experience Culture, Exposure of Documentation in 'Unique' Beauty and Expressing the pain or love that each person holds within themselves – Tough Skin.
Within six months, Tough Skin has enabled me to bond with several outstanding individuals throughout the United States, including: Colorado, New York, Nebraska, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Wyoming. Persevering an expansion of education towards cultural differences in people living with Vitiligo - Tough Skin is a Project that is intended to expand globally, broadening a list varying from; California to Florida and France to Ghana.
I feel euphoric and inspired. People contact and follow me, “@the.spotted.zelephant” through instagram. Asking for a visit, as they expose their skin covered in art... opening to someone they met through social media. It is a personally developed and tested technique to help heal others.
I use a 50-mm lens in order to expose raw beauty from the perspective of the human eye. When these strong people reveal themselves, a collaged body form is designed in ... As I photograph these people, they see their beauty from someone else’s lens; a confidence radiates off their skin that they have so long felt imprisoned them. Each person receives a mala bracelet, the energy of the stones provides a sense of support and comfort in their own skin.
Tough Skin strives to engage people and raise awareness in outer differences. A glimpse of strength that some don’t see within themselves is revealed through the process. As I am living with Tough Skin I am able to build a pure and genuine bond with someone who was a stranger. People feel a sense of ease, knowing that someone is listening to their struggles as their vitiligo passes through stages. Tough Skin has potential to mold a support team, A World of Spots.
Tough Skin has been created to portray art through photography. Vitiligo captured in a style that encourages awareness: Opening soft-hearted people with organic tattoos to finally have a voice,
“It's alright to look at me. I have Tough Skin.”