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BOPO Badass Photoshoot Recap

Hi, I’m Caitlin, and I am a runner. A fat runner, a slow runner, and a sometimes infrequent runner -- but I’m a runner. When Jen first mentioned a body positivity photo project, I was excited to be involved. After a lifetime of body shame and low self-esteem, I am finally in a place where I can catch those negative self-talk thoughts and correct myself.

Instead of “I hate my lumpy thighs,” I correct to “My thighs are so strong and they have helped me run a half marathon.” Instead of “My arms are flabby,” I correct to “I can lift and carry things that weigh as much as I’ve lost off my body.” Instead of “I wish I didn’t have this melting snowman of belly fat,” I correct to, “My body takes good care of me and I take good care of it, and one day I hope to grow a baby in here!”

There is always going to be something you don’t like about your body (like… my pinky toes are really weird shaped, and I don’t like the mole on the back of my head), but that doesn’t mean you can’t also love the work in progress. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture in this shoot with Jen. I wanted to wear workout clothes without a shirt hiding my belly, I wanted to run and jump around, I wanted to unapologetically wear a bikini. I didn’t want my fat rolls photoshopped out. Those are part of me and they’re part of this body I am learning to love and have compassion for.

Every shoot I’ve ever had with Jen has been fun from start to finish. She has yet to get me to put on a rubber fish mask, but she is always genuinely and authentically excited to take someone’s photograph, and you can tell her love of the craft for the entire shoot. I feel that Jen really helped capture the happiness and confidence I feel about my body. My perfectly imperfect “work in progress” body.

Jen's thoughts? Caitlin was the first women who really got me thinking about body positivity and feminism. I thought being "ok" with my body wasn't the same thing as being positive about it.

So I started working on accepting my body, and even loving it. I learned to love my fat body with all of it's scars and stretch marks and it's stupid chronic pain. Fibromyalgia is a pain in the ass, but it could be worse!

I've always considered myself a feminist, but hadn't used that word since college. Because so many people don't understand it. It simply means I want women to have equality, to make as much money as men and to not be raped. Who wouldn't want those things?

I am a feminist and I love men. I shouldn't have to even say that, but here we are. My hope is that someday soon, people will understand and embrace feminism.

Caitlin was my first portrait for this project. We focused on her running and then she put on an amazing bikini. I was so appreciative that she trusted me to take these images. And that helped me going forward with each woman, to appreciate their trust.

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