Photo taken by contributor Samantha Pugsley, a 24-year-old conceptual fine art photographer from Charlotte, North Carolina. She first picked up a camera during her junior year of college. This was right around the time when she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Things that were once easy became impossible for her. Getting dressed in the morning, shopping at the grocery story, driving her car…just living, was a panic attack waiting to happen. Photography helped her heal. With her camera she could start a conversation about what was going on in her head. She could say things with her images that she didn’t know how to say out loud. She still struggles with anxiety but making art helps her talk about it and manage it. She started a 365 photography project to ensure that she’d be doing what brings her joy every single day. She has noticed that her anxiety level is much lower if she spends time with her camera every day.
About this photo: “This photograph was very emotional for me. I suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. I’ve always seen my body as something to hate. Since I started taking self portraits, I’ve been learning to see my body as art instead of as my enemy. Shooting this image wasn’t as difficult as I expected, but when I opened it up on my computer to edit it, I felt compelled to alter my body and make it look thinner. I scrapped the first edited version because looking at the final product felt wrong. This concept demanded honesty and bravery. I overcame my body dysmorphia and left my body alone.”