Feb. 25 2015 12:00 AM

Panel discusses the messages found in ‘The Women We Are’

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AA Creative Corridor was full of friends of the artist as well as complete strangers for an intimate discussion of body image in relation to Amanda Grieshop’s “The Women We Are” exhibit. The event featured Grieshop and Tara Scott of 3 Jewels Yoga, as well as Kristina Keller, Brittany Laidlaw and Julie Brewer — three of the subjects photographed for the project. The goal was to provide a safe space for intelligent and constructive conversations about the touchy subjects of body image and nudity.

Scott started the evening’s proceedings by guiding the crowd to “check in” with themselves. As she lead attendees through simple breathing and mindfulness techniques, she encouraged the crowd members to be present and fully aware of themselves.

Scott led a conversation about using mindfulness as a means to achieve wholeness with body image, relating it to “The Women We Are.” Women can start thinking and feeling more positively about their appearances, she said, by simply changing the way they describe unfavorable parts of their bodies. For example, she reframes bodily flaws as “the realities of our bodies.”

The subjects described their experiences posing naked in front of the camera for the year-long documentary project. Grieshop also posed for the project as a way to explore her own body and self-image and to help the other subjects feel comfortable doing the same. Grieshop asked Brewer and Keller to model for her, while Laidlaw asked if she could be featured in the project.

The models talked about their individual experiences with motherhood, self harm, trauma, surgery, weight gain and weight loss, and the impact it all has on their body images. Keller’s story included her time as an exotic dancer and Brewer told of her breast augmentation surgery. Laidlaw mentioned scars that were a result of selfinjury. They spoke passionately about how the project helped them view themselves as beautiful and accept the realities of their bodies, scars and all.

Grieshop hopes that discussions from “The Women We Are” continue beyond the confines of the exhibit dates and wants to expand on the idea with a project exploring body image in males.

“Women We Are”

Documentary Portrait Project Through March 6 FREE AA Creative Corridor 1133 S. Washington Ave., Lansing magpieimagery.com