DC-based photographer Alyscia Cunningham shoots women in the raw: no makeup, no styling, just real. For her documentary photo book project Feminine Transitions, she recruited women of all ages — from infancy to seniority — to pose for her in her effort to capture the physical changes of females over time. The result is a series of clean, honest images that speak to the au-natural strength, beauty, and vulnerability we all share.
What inspired this project?
The idea of Feminine Transitions came to me about five years ago, and was inspired by natural experiences of transformations. Aging, and the changes that go along with it, are beautiful to me! I made a point to photograph all the models in my book organically, in order to truly show the natural physical changes that accompany aging.
At first I thought of Feminine Transitions was only a personal project. After seeing the final product (a book I designed and printed with Blurb) I decided to publish it. I believe it’s important to show positive images of our physical changes and embrace it.
Has this photography series in particular taught you something new, either about photos or about people, or both?
Yes, I learned something that I never knew before. Many, I mean many, women we not comfortable about the idea of being photographed organically, without make-up, and choose not to participate only because of this. However, the little girls were very excited about being a part of my project. I observed that many ladies (some of those that actually saw my final project — the book) really enjoyed seeing everyone else but themselves. This brought me to the realization that we, as women, sometimes pick at what we consider to be our flaws while others are only seeing our beauty. The transitions are beautiful!
You’re from New York and moved to Washington, DC. How would you describe the art scene in DC? How has it changed over the years?
There are many talented artist in the DC metro area. However, there is lack for true appreciation for the arts, as this is more of a political area. New York on the other hand, has a rich diversity of cultures, neighborhoods, schools, etc. With that I believe comes a greater acknowledgement of others. Either way, in the DC area, I am able to connect with a few great creative organizations, such as Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD. A basic understanding of support for one another is vital in the art scene as well as with life in general. Once that’s achieved, I think there can be a greater connection with the art scene.
What other projects on Kickstarter are you excited about?
I like quite a few photography projects on Kickstarter. To name a few, Too Young To Die by Carlos Javier Ortiz, Al Campo by Ernesto Bazan, and Wahpepah Connection by Sarah Cross. And a film that comes to mind is When I Die, Please Send Me Home by Joshua Rofé. Overall, I wish everyone success with their funding.