The Honesty Experiment: Steve (ii) Gallery

Originally written April 19, 2015

I hate being called on my shit. Zoë does it all the time.

She knows me well. And she knows to push me. This is my second attempt at this blog post. She read over my first and disappointedly told me she learned nothing new. She’s right. If you know me even a little bit, you know I just retold you my story and did it as a fancy lecture, but nothing was new and nothing was raw. If you don’t know me…well, now you know my usual story. Yes, I have lots of issues with my body. It cripples me mentally daily. But none of that was a risk.

In truth, the photoshoot was for Zoë. She was going to miss the gallery space so much. I was there to support and to flesh out the shoot. I helped her where she needed, I took the opportunity to contrive the visuals I needed for my usual story. I did the thing no actor should ever do: I acted. fuck.

I will miss the space. Do you know how lovely it is to sit in that gallery looking out from a wall of glass to the trees and fountains and cafe tables of a buzzing plaza? But the shoot wasn’t for me. This one shot was, though. It really, truly was.

My favourite space in the gallery is hidden and secret and grungy. It’s high. You need to balance. It’s quiet and dirty. It’s untouched in the middle of the City. It feels unspoiled.

I don’t feel good about my body. I’m nearing on 200 lbs. – the heaviest I have ever been. I feel like the physical result of too many surgeries and bad decisions from not ever stopping to admit something will actually hurt me. This photo was a risk. Posting this feels like a huge risk. But I’ve been talking with Zoë about me doing something like this for a long time. I wanted to make something I don’t get to fully control.

This was the end of the day. This was the last shot. Kelly Hofer (our photog) was just about to pack up when I asked him to stop. I wanted one more. And I trust him entirely. I wanted it raw. I wanted it to be free of context. I think we did that. I still don’t know if I should post this.

You get to make your own decisions. I don’t have a story to thrust on you in that photo. I don’t mind being naked, but I feel defenceless without words.

This shoot was what Zoë wanted it to be. She had the opportunity to explore depths of emotion she rarely, if ever, exposes. (Make sure you read her story here.) For me, it was a meaningful goodbye to a space I loved. Thankfully we also had scotch. Scotch and that space went together marvellously.