Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

The Beholder of Beauty

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm


I found God in myself/ and I loved her/ I loved her fiercely ~Ntozake Shange

Learning to love myself has become a peculiar movement, a long work in progress, and this thing that I am not certain I can embrace or escape.  Sometimes it feels as though something that should be natural is all but so. Along this journey, I collect myself, literally- I collect photos showcasing my evolution.  It is therapy, self-help, and a display of love, which I’ve decided I need and deserve.  In preparing myself for an upcoming photo shoot, I had a conversation with a male friend, who believes that my desire to have photographs taken- for no particular reason- is both narcissistic and a sign of insecurity. Hmph.  I sat quietly pondering how one could be both narcissistic and insecure, and ended up feeling both offended, reflective, and apparently blogging. I have no doubt that I am nothing if not awesomely dynamic, but how could I encompass such a dichtomy- just from desiring to be photographed?  More importantly, why is a woman who desires to love and heal herself labeled as wither being too much or too little.

Truth be told I am certainly more insecure than narcissistic.  I would argue that most women are. I would add to that argument the idea that society as a whole and many men and women in particular thrive on these insecurities. Women hating ourselves, and subsequently each other, has become quite a thriving market; and generally the same institutions we expect to uphold us, end up beating us down like those slave masters we read of and abhor.  It is a vicious and relentless cycle- this desire to collectively steal the joy from us.  Some, however, and through God’s grace and compassion, lend women lenses through which we can see ourselves as beautiful, amazing, and angelic. Saddi Khali, I believe, belongs to this lot.

locs saddi

I first came across Saddi’s photography after being invited to his  exhibition ‘Remember Peace/ Remember Pleasure” while visiting New York.  I was immediately mesmerized by him- his art, his vision, his desire to present Black women as tender constellations. As I perused his photographs I saw myself, gently placed in each photo. Some of them reflected my strengths- my warrior stance, the fullness of my breast, the sturdiness of my legs.  Others reflected my weaknesses- the vulnerability that, though I try to mask, shines through, and possibly the uneasiness that I have with the parts of me I consider flaws.  Yet in all of the photos, me and the women who posed as me, glowed unimaginably bright.

I imagine that every woman needs to be photographed, bare and beautiful, through the lens of someone who desires to break the chains that prevent her from realizing her greatest self- even if only to privately flip through on low or lonely days.  I sympathize with the person, male or female, who can not recognize the emancipation which comes through such a happening.  Through Saddi, and other lovers of women, we may somehow recapture what should naturally and rightfully be ours; true comfort in our skin.

white cloth

Wish me luck on my journey towards inner peace, self-love, and unconditional acceptance. I wish you the same. In the spirit of the Hindu definition of Namaste let us recognize through the light of others the light within ourselves, and hope that there are spirits like  Saddi in place, waiting to capture those gargantuan glimpses on film. Ase…

Fall in love with Saddi’s images here:

Read and listen to him describe his art here: