Bricks and Sticks

Tertia Van Rensburg – Photographer talks body positivity

I stumbled across an Instagram page called Volition, a print and digital magazine based in LA California, they do high-end fashion photography, not something I do, but I am in the photography world and love highly creative visuals.

Their editor-in-chief saw an image of mine on Facebook (below). She asked if I would be interested in submitting an image for their theme. My starting point, research.

I started by looking at what this topic means visually. I then decided to ask Facebook friends, privately, what body positivity means to them and how they would rate themselves out of ten. I was completely surprised by the responses of both men and woman.

If I am going to ask others, to be honest, it is only fair I offer my thoughts and feelings on my own body. I would rate my body positivity at a 5. But it definitely fluctuates depending on where I am and who I am with. Am I comfortable in own my skin? Yes, even though there are things I have to work on. What would change to get to a 10? I need to work on my self-confidence, self-acceptance. as well as learn to love myself.

I would love to do an honest series of women portraying themselves in their most vulnerable moments. I am honoured and grateful to everyone for helping me by sharing their thoughts and feelings.


Model: Portia


4 thoughts

  1. Mahmood Sanglay Author

    You’re a beautiful woman Tertia, physically. But that’s the least important thing I could say to you. You photograph beautiful women. That’s a window to significance.

    To me body positivity means two things. First, finding the comfort for your physical self [1] in the mirror and [2] in social interaction. Looking at the self’s physique is a unique life journey for every human being.

    Looking after that physique is one dimension of that journey, no matter what subjective scores we exchange. Affirming positivity of self and of others’ physical appearance is another dimension. We need to be positive (as apposed to proud) about our own physical selves, and affirm the same for others.

    This is important for our lives on earth and with other humans. At this level scores out of ten are irrelevant. The essence of life transcends scores of physical appearance. The real deal in life is about the scores in relationships with oneself and others. The lesser deal is scores about physical appearance. Pity the one who cannot rise above that shallowness.

    Now for the biggest deal of all in life, nay existence. See, now we’re getting deep, much more than skin deep. Any deep appreciation of any goodness of the human body should lead to another, most wondrous journey. It’s a journey of many things.

    It’s of great paradoxes. Like our infinitely insignificant presence in the infinite vastness of the cosmos, juxtaposed with the preciousness of human life in a cosmos where evidence of the existence of other intelligent life constantly eludes us.

    It’s possible to get an inkling of this on a clear South African summer’s night lying on the lawn looking at the stars. I feel the contours of the stinging pimple on my cheek, as the crook of my index finger occludes my view of the southern star in the southern cross. When will this darned blemish begone? Can anyone on that distant star hear me? Anyone?

    It’s a journey about realisation that this wondrous body, in any shape or colour or size, has its unique mark of individuality, uniquely for every single human being from DNA to the morphology of the face.

    It’s about the realisation that this wondrous body is subject to the laws of birth, ageing, illness and death. And it’s, ultimately about the realisation that this brief existence in this world has meaning beyond our full comprehension…

    … but enough meaning to startle us out of traps that confine us to scoring body images out of ten.

    Ah, how wonderful the human body is. Just to touch and use every other sense to deeply appreciate, and not just to enjoy. To traverse beyond sense perception to the true beauty within us and others…

    You’re a beautiful woman Tertia. Do beautiful things.

  2. Mahmood Sanglay Author

    A bit late to insert a vital disclosure, but necessary nevertheless: I’m evidently not a woman.

  3. Tertia van Rensburg Author

    Mahmood, thank you so much for your kind words and for your incredible insight. I posted this question to men too and it seems men have more confidence than women. I would love to hear more from you! Thanks again and do great things too!

  4. Alan Baxter Author

    Great artical Tertia coupled with a dash of brutal honesty thrown in. Strong! Big up on the recognition you’ve received and wishing you all the best going forward. Deserved

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