The Women We Are
Exhibitions and Press
“As a child I hated how I was incapable of climbing trees as well as my male cousins whom I grew up with, then as I grew to adolescence I hated how slowly my body grew into womanhood. It was a continual process of disappointment.”
Close high school friends gave Jillian some confidence as she developed into a young woman. She wanted to wear clothes that would accentuate her new feminine body, but her mother wouldn’t allow her to do so.
“I’m sure she only wanted to teach me that I didn’t need to dress like a slut to feel confident, but in reality it resulted in me feeling like my body wasn’t worth showing off. “
After the sudden death of her father during her freshman year of college, Jillian saw her life, and the choices within her life, under a new light.
“[His death] caused a shift in my attitude. I chose to do what made me happy and I took a photography class. I realized that I was absolutely in love with the female form.”
During her first few years in college, Jillian gained a noticeable amount of weight, giving her a curvy figure not unlike the ones she was studying. Upon graduation, losing her job and falling into a depression, Jillian then lost 50 pounds. She wasn’t healthy.
“I resented my skinny body, I missed my curves and I hated that everyone thought that this was better than where I was before.”
Over time, Jillian grew out of her depression. She gained back some of the weight she’d lost and began to feel herself return.
”In this body I gained a new kind of confidence and new appreciation for bodies of ALL sizes. Big isn’t the only beautiful just as much as skinny isn’t. I focus on how beautiful everyone is, no matter what their size.”
During the very early stages of this project, Jillian became pregnant and her rapidly swelling body, was documented throughout.
“Pregnancy kind of disappointed me over all. I had these high expectations of being this glowing, gorgeous pregnant woman, loving every aspect of growing this life inside of me and really it was just kind of unpleasant. I think being in front of a camera actually allowed me to enjoy it. It was my favorite part of being pregnant because it made me feel beautiful and even sexy.”