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Jocelyn Lee

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

For over 35 years I have made portraits of women and girls, using the camera to explore psychological states of being like children’s games, puberty, pregnancy, sexuality, aging, illness and death. My photographs emphasize the tactile and sensual nature of the world and our place, as embodied beings, within this material continuum.

My new work Bountiful focuses primarily on portraits of women in dramatic natural landscapes, always naked. The women in this project represent all ages and body types and are framed, submerged and entangled with the natural world in a way that emphasizes their truly sensual and ephemeral selves.

Like all living things, the human body passes through the same stages of early youth (bloom), young adulthood (blossoming), maturity (peak fertility), decline, and eventual death. It is neither a good nor bad, but is simply true. By placing my subjects alongside and within nature in such an intimate way, I am calling attention to our essential corporeal selves, and our co-dependent place among all living things on earth.

As I age, I am increasingly passionate about making portraits of women and girls that do not fit traditional stereotypes of beauty. I am committed to making portraits of women living in real bodies in a culture that is obsessed with vanity and a narrow vision of what is beautiful—including imperatives suggesting plastic surgery to deny gravity and ruthless exercise and diet regimes to control curves and weight gain post menopause or childbirth.

All my portrait work aims to expand our understanding of sensual beauty by contributing a broader view to our image world (via exhibition, publication and social media platforms like Instagram). Through this work, I hope to create a radical empathy for all beings and bodies that encourages the deeper realization that all physical beings are at their core sensual beings: aging is not antithetical to sexuality, and physical disability should never be equated with ugliness or undesirability. No body is deserving of cultural invisibility.

The frank and sensual portraits in Bountiful aim to celebrate real women and correct our limited cultural view of what is beautiful and sensual. All of these images are made with a medium format film camera and are the result of a contemplative, slow relationship between myself, my models, and the landscapes within which they are created


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