Samantha Geballe wrote the following about her black and white series of self-portraits titled “Self-Untitled, Phase 2”.
(Dec. 1, 2014 - Present)
A shift happened. I wasn’t expecting it and then I saw it start to happen. I tried to stop it and I couldn’t… and then it was just here. And that is when my feelings about the work changed.
Here’s how it happened: When I began my self-portrait series, it was an expression of my pain and anger, a journey through self-acceptance, and a way to bridge the gap between myself and others. Now that I feel like less of a target, I can see that I photographed myself to cope. It made me feel better.
I am realizing that this series helped me process my own denial about my eating disorder. I had once again lost control of my weight/eating and unknowingly, my dysfunction became my muse. This insight is what I initially resisted. I didn’t know if I was ready to move away from feeling angry. It felt good to scream as loud as I could in a silent photograph. I am upset about that phase ending, but it is over. I try to go back and can’t. It doesn’t feel real anymore.
I don’t want it to seem like my “shift” happened because I had gastric bypass. It honestly just materialized that way. My life looks radically different now than it did before surgery and I’m realizing it will look radically different again soon. A new chapter is beginning in my life and I have to embrace it whether I like it or not. This is the direction of my work.
There is absolutely no denying the fact that life is easier at a smaller, healthier size. I feel privileged to be able to cross my legs. And not worry so much about seating situations, fitting in chairs, and fitting in general. The world felt unmanageable at that size. If only I had known then that it would all change and I would still be myself.
This phase of self-portrait work is about embracing change. It’s about learning to navigate life without the dysfunction and defense of excess weight. It’s about learning to live in a new body. It’s about awareness of time and what changes time will bring. The weight has been a distraction from life. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities when size monopolizes your daily living. As this series has started to develop, so has my clarity.
After surgery, everyone thought I would just be happy and all my problems would disappear. The odd thing is that I feel left with myself now more than ever. There’s no fantasy or smoke and mirrors. It’s just real.
Self-Untitled, Phase 2
You can see more of Samantha’s work here.
All photos: © Samantha Geballe
All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.