The juxtaposition of confessional mini essays with seemingly disconnected boudoir photography evokes a jarring aesthetic. Rae’s words and images exist separately, and offer arresting context when gathered together, as when she recounts the stress of trying to make ends meet in New York City, to the point of becoming so physically ill she was bleeding internally, immediately followed by an image of a sultry-eyed woman clad in delicate white underwear, caressing her own face. This constant push and pull of a weighty, memoirist tale with gauzy, ethereal photography underlines the paradoxes of these stories. Rae is, for instance, both a body-positivity activist yet still at times mired in her own fears and insecurities about her figure: “Nothing about a journey to self love is linear” she writes.
Though Rae does not shy away from revealing all—in both writing and photography—there are moments of fragmented, stray thoughts that will leave readers wishing for more detail, such as how Rae’s mother went from helping her through the traumatic birth of Rae’s child to relinquishing a relationship with her grandchild. Still, these powerful narratives are a testament to the need for women to “[turn] off the record of putdowns, insults, and general feelings of unworthiness” for the chance to live “fully and completely.”
Takeaway: Powerful, confessional memoir embracing body positivity in all its forms.
Comparable Titles: Sally Mann's Hold Still, Janet Malcolm’s Still Pictures.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-