Women asked to bare it all for health

Amanda Koster in Vancouver Island women are being asked to bare it all for a multimedia documentary that celebrates the female form in all its shapes, sizes, colours and abilities. Koster’s photography will be in Victoria Aug. 21 and 22 to make a photo shoot and interview subjects who’re willing to pose nude for her project, This is Beautiful.

Amanda Koster, Working with The Cedric Centre

“I work in the media and wanted to contribute with images that I think are beautiful, in addition to those that are already out there,” said Koster, who’ll be working with The Cedric Centre, an eating disorder counselling program based in Victoria. “I want people to look at these photographs and accept who we really are, feel comfortable with these women and their bodies and respect them.” Koster first began working on This is Beautiful in 2001 in collaboration with fellow artist Sandra Marchese. The pair issued a call to women across Seattle to be photographed nude and then write about their bodies. One of the people who took part was a Seattle Times reporter, who agreed to publish her experience for the newspaper. The piece garnered such an “electric response” from women across the United States that This is Beautiful gained momentum for a second chapter in 2002. Amanda Koster stop in Victoria will mark the third installment, after staff at The Cedric Centre saw a televised news item about her work on Q13 Fox and encouraged her to visit Canada. “Women of all ages are under incredible pressure to strive towards an arbitrary physical ideal, and it’s up to all of us to counter those messages with positive images that celebrate all women as beautiful,” said Michelle Morand, Cedric Centre founder and counsellor. Anyone interested in the August photo shoot can get more information at http://www.thisisbeautiful.org. “I don’t pose anyone. I don’t tell them what to do. I’m looking for the natural interaction of different bodies, what they look like when they come together, and the beauty of that diversity,” said Koster, who’s struggled with her own body issues and eating disorders. “For some reason, every day we don’t see that diversity, or accept it. If you go to my website, and you don’t see yourself there, then please consider coming out” Koster – who has worked for several national U.S. magazines including Newsweek – will return to Victoria in the New Year for an exhibit of her photos and a book that chronicles the project. Her other multi-media works include AIDS Is Knocking, a still and video documentary of AIDS orphans and widows in Kenya. Reprinted from the Saanich News  

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