Artist's Statement

Victoria Ridgway

Be - Loved investigates photography as an expression of fat sexual desire, frustration and validation. The size of the images are around 4” X 3” and 5” X 7” and incorporate mixed media with digital printing. In American culture, which is driven by patriarchal ideals, the large obese body is stereotyped as unworthy, shameful, and represents a person’s moral corruption. This bias against fat bodies creates problems in accessibility to basic needs such as health care, clothing, and even comfortable seating in public. The fat body becomes invisible except to be criticized and is often referred to as a joke. Dehumanizing these bodies solidifies the idea that fat bodies are never the ideal and therefore should not be taken care of or revered in America’s strive for body perfection. In this series of images, self-portraiture and performance converge to express my sexual frustrations as an obese woman. More often than not, I am told that my fat body is a symbol of my failure to be feminine enough and therefore I do not deserve to receive intimacy or romantic touch. When the viewer holds these photographs in their hands, they are becoming my lover. Their caress becomes a validation and release of the frustrations that have formed from my experiences. Each image implements vernacular or old fashioned photographic languages to signify the presence of fat bodies in the greater world and throughout time. This presence has been almost erased because of photographic and social privilege. Aging, distressing and folding the photographic surface implicates the vulnerability of photographs and becomes a stand in for both the body in the photograph and the body of the viewer.