Artist & Advocate. ~ Sarit Rogers

Via Sarit Rogers
on Feb 28, 2014
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“Woman has been the target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of woman, has been my mission.”

~ Ruth Bernhard

When I was studying my craft, I was shown what successful images looked like and what I often saw were hyper-sexualized images of women and some men—along with oodles of objectification. I saw naked women with handbags draped over glistening, oiled curves, bones protruding like arrows pointed toward their internal lust. I saw men, buffed and groomed, typically in positions of power. Our nude assignment came with the instruction to look for small-breasted women because their breasts photographed better. Yeah, whatever.

I learned many ways in which we could change and “perfect” images, mostly images of women. One video in particular stood out and has stuck with me; it featured a balding, obese man demonstrating a tutorial on the best ways in which to “fix” a beauty shot. As he broke down the image, his critiques flowed effortlessly: Her nose was too long, her legs were too short, the freckles near her eyes bothered him, her eyes were too small, and her lips were too thin. Thus, his digital tweaking began. He stretched and smoothed, and puckered and erased: Oh the process! It’s definitely not easy work. I sat there, looking at this beautiful woman on the screen, dumbstruck and infuriated by the deconstruction and judgment thrust upon a naturally beautiful being. My notes looked like a bunch of scribbled what the fucks instead of a detailed how-to. I also felt entirely alone in my reaction and response. I found myself speaking out against the norms in an industry that makes its money “perfecting” beauty. Not a popular move on my part.

I was told I would never succeed if I didn’t just accept that “this is the way” of photography. It’s not the way. At least, it’s not my way.

It wasn’t then and it isn’t now.

I have photographed everything from landscapes to pinup to weddings—to what feeds my soul now: Musicians and yogis. Photographing people is something I find particularly special. It’s an opportunity to be curious, to have a conversation, and to be completely present in the moment. Still, with most people I photograph, there always comes a moment where I am asked if I can “fix” some part of them. Sure, if you have a pimple, I’ll remove it. It’s not permanent anyway. But that beautiful mole on your face?  Sorry. It’s part of you and it is part of what makes you beautifully unique.

Those beautiful, thick thighs? Yep, those too. They are phenomenal and strong.

Same goes for the petite person whose bones might stick out because they are simply tiny. No, I won’t add weight to you. You are beautiful just the way you are.

I don’t go out and intentionally seek round or small, tall, or skinny people. I photograph whoever crosses my path because they are inspiring and beautiful in their individuality. At the same time, I often find myself photographing those who are often mis-understood or under-represented. And that really makes my heart sing.

I am glad that I never gave in to the mass-marketed norms that prevail in the photography world. I do have my moments, however, where I wonder if I have to start shooting over-exposed, heavily photoshopped nudes or partial nudes just to get recognized. Then I laugh at myself. I am an artist. And a body image advocate. And some things just aren’t negotiable.

“Light is my inspiration, my paint and brush. It is as vital as the model herself. Profoundly significant, it caresses the essential superlative curves and lines. Light I acknowledge as the energy upon which all life on this planet depends.” ~ Ruth Bernhard

 

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Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: © Sarit Z Rogers/Sarit photography


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About Sarit Rogers

Sarit Rogers is a Los Angeles based photographerwriterNew Media Manager, yogi and founder of the LoveMore Movement. She has photographed the covers of 21st Century YogaYoga PhD, and the forthcoming anthology, Yoga and Body Image. She is the Los Angeles photographer for the documentary…but can she play? Her images from this project were featured in Sweden’s Lira Magazine, including the cover image. Sarit regularly writes about mental health, addiction and recovery for Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers.

Sarit completed The Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind 200-hour yoga teacher training withJulian Walker and Hala Khouri as well as Street Yoga Teacher Training. Sarit is currently teaching the yoga elective to 6-8th graders at the City Charter School, and occasionally teaches yoga at Against the Stream‘s Young People’s Meditation Group, where she is also an active member of the sangha.

You can follow Sarit on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, where you will inevitably see photos of her sonhubby, beloved Pitbull mix, Lulu, and images from her 365 Project.

Comments

4 Responses to “Artist & Advocate. ~ Sarit Rogers”

  1. Arielle Miller says:

    This article is something else, period. It literally moved me to tears and took me to that special place where it has been echoing with me since reading it, truly the mark of great writing and evoking raw emotion. Sarit's vivid and concise imagery with respects to women, how we are viewed, and our bodies that are made to become our prisons versus a paradise spoke directly to my heart and personal experience. THANK YOU Sarit for being a beacon of light and allowing our true beauty to be illuminated and personified through your art.

    Nam-freakin'-ste!

  2. Thank you so much, Arielle! I am deeply moved and grateful for your words. "our bodies that are made to become our prisons versus a paradise" YES!

  3. Jessica says:

    YES!!! prison vs paradise – dead on Arielle. Sarit you are bringing paradise to prison and I am so grateful to call you my friend, photographer and paradise promoter:) It scares me what is happening to bodies in the media (particularly women's, but men too). I look forward to the day I can pick up a magazine and see a natural photograph – flaws and all. Flaws make us human and beautiful. Who decided they were flaws anyway?

  4. Thank you, Jess!!!! I am honored to be in a community that supports breaking the limiting rules of beauty and breaking the chains that bind us and keep us beholden to the false idea of perfection. Thank you for being my friend! Those magazines will come. I am on a mission. 🙂

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