“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
– Beverly Clark (played by Susan Sarandon) in Shall We Dance
There something about seeing you see me and seeing me as you see me and seeing a thing together that makes life feel more real. More substantial. More like it all matters.
Some call it intimacy. I’m calling it witness- to engage in the business of seeing, being seen, completely – and loved because of and in spite of what has been seen.
That is the pinnacle of the human experience.
It is the mark of a life untainted by shame, the great ball and chain that fouls our most noble of ambitions.
This is a story about porn, photography, love, heartbreak, art, religion, being slave to fear and rising above it. And on some level, it’s a story about what it’s like to get paid to take pictures of naked ladies.
Ultimately, this is a story about witness: Witness is one of the chief gifts of photography. My photography career (thus far), has proven to be a tapestry of witnessing others and myself. It is my hope that this story helps bring the gift of witness into your life.
This book is dedicated to the young lady who bravely told me that she wants to become a sex worker.
May my experiences help guide your future choices.