This is the tenth installment of the Body Diversity Stories from the models who participated in the Social Outreach Seattle Body Diversity Project. Meet David Hammerberg.
When I was told about the project, I contacted Richard after a period of consideration. Although I usually don’t mind being on either side of the camera, having the chance to have someone else take pictures for a change is kind of nice. It also gives me a chance to see how others look at my body.
I packed some clothes to choose from, mostly fetish and some street clothes, and showed up at his door. After a little conversation, I opened my bag, stripped down, and offered to dress as he liked. He looked at the things in my bag and smiled, and pointed out my vest and cap, along with my other leathers.
As we started, I first found myself turning and posing in ways that didn’t show my belly or avoided certain angles or shadows, but eventually I relaxed. I found that place within me that wasn’t so worried about whether or not I looked fit, or if I might look silly or cliché. I smiled, and connected with the things that made me happy, confident and sexy: my hat, the leather vest, my cigar, my dog tag.
I became very playful, and found humor and a casualness in being naked. I found a certain power in being dressed in so little, but letting my body language tell my story. I felt very strong and secure, and none of it had to do with what I looked like, but how I felt about myself. It was around that time that we caught the image you see now: confident, masculine, dominant, and sexually charged.
The project helped remind me that people still judge based on body types and appearances, and that we still sometimes judge ourselves harshly because of what we are told by others. But we are our own invention – our own depiction of who we are, reflecting the paths we have traveled, and our lifetimes of experiences.
There are broader representations of body types other than the limited ones presented or accepted by our culture. Bodies are actually quite diverse, genuine and different. They can be realistic and accessible, and express a person in the truest sense.
I know that without diversity, I can sometimes feel self conscious and ashamed, feeling like I don’t fit in, or that I am somehow ugly or invalid. But just because someone is physically more attractive doesn’t mean that they are smarter, stronger, or have more value.
Being within a diverse community, I am more of an individual with stories to tell, something unique to contribute, and posses a better sense of self.
I am not my body, but my body is a reflection of my journey and what I have experienced. Every scar and mark makes me unique, and they are symbols of every battle and every triumph. Through these battles and triumphs I learn how to bravely face the world around me, and in turn, I find strength and confidence within myself.