Everytime I scroll a newsfeed I have a feeling everybody in this life is happy and confident except of course me. An assumption that a picture doesn’t reflect the real state of affairs is too weak as it exists only in my head. Can you relate? Evidently, a person without any “flaws” doesn’t exist, but we never know about them. Steve Rosenfield’s project “What I Be” opens our eyes to this social phenomenon. 

Began as a social experiment it turned into a global movement about honesty and empowerment. The idea is simple and fair: people write their insecurities right on their skin to show the world their real face and personality; Steve captures them to make you realise the thing. People should accept the diversity with an open mind and heart and show others that they are not alone. Besides, they should stop having “standard” expectations of how others have to look like or act. If a person doesn’t hurt anybody he can do anything he wants. It is indeed a widespread problem that many people are waiting for other people’s “stamp of approval” nowadays. Steve wants you to understand you don’t need one.

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

 

About 12 years ago an assertive and materialistic Rosenfield had a 9 to 5 and thought money and reputation were the whole point. He didn’t have heart-to heart talks with people and was always reserved. His reticence happened to repel people — how would they ever have guessed he was simply afraid of being judged? He read and journaled a lot before he saw he needed to be open and honest to people. Close and fair relations make people happy. Steve quitted his job and started travelling, meeting people and regarding all of them as normal. People do have incertitudes they struggle with and they need some support. The photographer began to promote the “change” in people’s perception of others and themselves.

In 2010 he finally formulated the message he wanted to share with public and started shooting.“I wrote “thunder thighs” on Amanda’s hand, alongside the photograph she came up with the statement, “I am not my body image.” And thus, the “What I Be” project was made,” Steve recalls. He borrowed the name for the project from his friend Michael Franti’s song “What I Be”,  which exactly is about being who you are.

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

The way to acceptance

Individuals contributing to the project vary from high school students to renowned people and even the President of the University of San Diego. These courageous people while disclosing their stress don’t expect the viewer to try to convince them they don’t have some kind of “flaws”. The contributors just admit their torment in public. “By stating “I am not my_____,” they are claiming that they do in fact struggle with these issues, but it does not define who they are as a person. They are not denying their insecurity, they are owning it,” Steve says. Looking at these photos helps to realise that, first of all, your biggest worries about yourself may have absolutely no reflection from society. As people simply don’t see a problem you concern with. Secondly, the feeling of solidarity greatly simplifies life.

The project includes thousand of photos arranged into categories on the site. Each participant accompanied his loud coming out with a short clarification in order not to be misunderstood. They all share their view of a problem and their feelings connected with it teaching the viewer to be kind. Steve started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication.

You may look at a person and think he just can’t be unconfident while he is. You may likewise envy the figure of a woman who hates her hips.  Somebody’s appealing for you smile may be a cover for his deep sadness inside. The series shows that every person in the world keeps something disturbing in his mind. Try to feel it. Try to learn the experience and accept yourself.

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

“What I Be”: Thank You Steve Rosenfiel I Am Not Alone

 

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