A STORY OF MY PERSONAL GROWTH
"I was intrigued by the release of the masked performance and what was revealed in the concealment."
Model, Conceptual Direction, and Edit: Sondra Sorenson.
Photographed by Ian McEwen
"Almost bare, I sat on the stool waiting. My nipples pursed, as my rear grew wary of the heat growing from the floor light placed close behind. A halo of white wrapped my shoulders as it reflected from a screen placed a couple feet behind. Evening was beginning to set in, my dad's colorful collection of world masks were nothing but shallow impressions on the perimeter walls. A blue shadow moved across the speckles of gold that hung from the saree draped in front of me. "I continued twisting and contorting my body, letting my imagination take command as I found comfort between the layers." “I'm ready when you are!” he called across the screen. The initial angst hit and I attempted some earlier contrived potions. “You're leg is getting cut off, maybe turn a little.” After a couple awkward adjustments, I abandoned the poses for motion that felt more natural. His voice silenced. “Could you give me some direction, I don't know if I'm covered in the right places,” I asked aimlessly searching for his figure. “I will. It's good, just keep doing what you're doing.” I continued twisting and contorting my body, letting my imagination take command as I found comfort between the layers."
"In the weeks following, a story of a lady (see Lilith's Lullaby) was returned in a strew of mismatched pages. I was drawn to a complexity within her gaze. She tickled the hairs backing my neck, a reminder of the presence sitting on my shoulders that I could not directly see. "I was intrigued by the release of the masked performance and what was revealed in the concealment." As the summer heat hit, I put the project to rest to catch up on some personal reading. Looking through my shelf, my eye caught the title of a small black book "The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation" by Wendy Doniger. I bought the book a few years back upon my return from India, but had hardly given it a glance. I scanned the opening page. “Many people must put on masks to discover who they are under the covert masks they usually wear, so that the covert mask reveals rather than conceals the truth, reveals the self beneath the self....although such masquerades cannot change people into other people, they may change them into others among their many selves.” Doniger's analysis of self-imitated identity through revealing masks reminded me of the photo shoot that spring. Indeed, there was an honesty exposed behind the saree that screened me. I was intrigued by the release of the masked performance and what was revealed in the concealment."