Nude Self-Portraits Challenge What It Means To “Fit In” (NSFW)

Some keep journals to capture their responses to life events. Photographer Polly Penrose takes nude self-portraits. The monotony of entry-level work, the excitement of a marriage proposal, the grief of watching a loved one lose a mother — all of these and more, she writes, are enfolded in the self-portraits that she has taken over the past seven years. These portraits explore and critique the interaction of Penrose's body with its surroundings over time.
"These self-portraits are my body’s response to a space and its contents," Penrose writes. "They are never pre-meditated... The final image is entirely dictated by the location and how my body can fit within it. It’s often a fight to 'fit in' — to become a part of that space."
To "fit" into the settings in which Polly photographs herself, she curls into a ball on a table, aligns her back with the underside of a staircase, splays her limbs over a dresser. She never shows her face, instead directing the viewer's attention to her body as it evolves through marriage, pregnancy, and aging. The uncomfortable, even awkward poses hint at the difficult dialogue between an individual and the external forces that shape her life experience. "As well as showing the physical journey of my body over time," Penrose states, her portraits "also reveal an emotional one. Each picture candidly portrays a moment, like marks in the calendar of my life." Click through for the 21 striking portraits from "A body of work."

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