“Nothing But Light” by Anastasia Kuba

Text and artworks by Anastasia Kuba

Nothing But Light by Anastasia Kuba
Photograph from the series ‘Nothing But Light’ by Anastasia Kuba, 2015

Artist Statement by Anastasia Kuba

Anastasia Kuba: ‘“Nothing But Light” explores concepts of boundaries,vulnerability, and consent. We all experience the world through our bodies. The body is the easiest target for disrespect, worship, objectification, shame, neglect, control, and attachment. The violation of a person’s dignity often begins with disrespect of their body, and restoration of control begins with the acknowledgment that a person’s body matters and inherently deserves respect.

We crave to be seen and accepted, but opening up, we lose control over the consequences. We have no guarantee that our trust will not be violated and boundaries will not be crossed, we risk rejection and abandonment. To protect ourselves, we hide our truth. But the more walls we build, the more isolated we feel.

Allowing someone to see your body is a form of surrender.

The task of the project is to create an empathic and respectful space for people to surrender within the boundaries of consent, so they can see themselves, and be seen as they are.’

Nothing But Light by Anastasia Kuba
Photograph from the series ‘Nothing But Light’ by Anastasia Kuba, 2015

Nothing But Light by Anastasia Kuba
Photograph from the series ‘Nothing But Light’ by Anastasia Kuba, 2015

Nothing But Light – Project Description

To create a consistent, minimalistic body of work that represents people without social implications of interiors and clothes, subjects are photographed nude in a studio: natural lighting, no make up, no Photoshop.

Participants have an option to photograph the artist nude in the same setting on their camera/phone. Both parties have to fully rely on mutual respect and communication to create collaborative art. Only images that are approved by both the artist and the subject are published or displayed. After the photographs are selected, subjects are asked to submit a statement and record an interview. Photographs and statements are only used in the context of this project.

Approved images and statements are shared on the artist’s website. Photos for the blogs and social media, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are selected separately and require a separate consent. Subjects can refuse to have their photo posted on social media.

All participants, except the artist, may use their real names or stay anonymous. The artist is keeping a journal and a video blog to document her process. The artist will ask for permission to share any information she was trusted with during personal or online communications.

Throughout the process of the collaboration, no consent is implied or assumed, everything is discussed individually with each participant. Negotiation is always open, both parties keep the right to have a change of heart at any point.

Subjects can withdraw their photographs from the project by email. In the case of cancelation, their images will be replaced with an image of the wall they were photographed against, and their cancelation email will be quoted alongside their original statement.

The artist intends to photograph and be photographed by 100 people. Anyone over the age of 18 may apply to become a subject. The artist maintains the right to refuse participation to anyone. Participation in a project is free. Photographs are not sold individually, however they might be sold as a collection.

Nothing But Light by Anastasia Kuba
Photograph from the series ‘Nothing But Light’ by Anastasia Kuba, 2015

Nothing But Light by Anastasia Kuba
Photograph from the series ‘Nothing But Light’ by Anastasia Kuba, 2015

About Anastasia Kuba

Anastasia Kuba: ‘As a person who’s lived through a childhood trauma, I’ve struggled to define my boundaries and to understand my value. I was getting a lot of attention because I was conventionally attractive and, naturally, I assigned my worth to my body.

In my early twenties I worked as a dancer in a topless clubs; surprisingly, through this job I developed better boundaries. “No. You can’t. This is not allowed.” — I had to repeat those words over and over again until they became natural.

As I became able to advocate for myself, defining my boundaries with people closest to me still remained a challenge. As I learned to appear confident, my sense of self was still caught in a web.’

Anastasia Kuba 2015In 2008 I quit dancing and became a professional portrait photographer. I photographed hundreds of people of all genders, background and ages. My subjects are learning to recognize the beauty of their bodies unapologetically and these photo sessions, for them, continue to be a radical act of self acceptance.

My work has been published and exhibited internationally. I was the original photographer for the international “Bare” campaign by Woman Enough that went viral in 2014 and was published all over the world, in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Shape.

I’ve been helping people to feel comfortable in their body for the past seven years, but I also know that beauty and integrity are not connected. I love my body, yet I am still struggling to unlink my sense of worth from other people’s opinions. I have already learned — no amount of approval from outside can help one to love oneself. Dignity lies elsewhere: in a deep understanding that respect is a human right, not something one needs to “deserve” because a person’s life and integrity are sacred.’


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