Deborah Hanson

Web design and Art by Deborah Hanson

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1998 - 2000



This project started out as a photographic exploration of healing my own body image. Ever since I can remember I have had an exaggerated view of what my body really looked like. The envisioned distortion was a direct reflection of society drumming into our heads that to be thin is the best way to be, along with my low self esteem due to suffered childhood traumas. In short I always thought I was FAT! But years later when I would see snapshots of myself I would think that I looked just fine, and better than I looked at present. So my low self body image continued.

In 1998 I set off on a quest to try to heal my damaged way of thinking. I started by taking photographs of the parts of my body that I liked and putting them up on the wall so I could see them every day. After I got used to seeing them day in and day out, I took photographs of the parts of my body that I was not comfortable with and put them up on the wall. After a time I was able to shoot and display the parts of my body that I did not like at all. I left no body part out in this last phase. The healing that took place was slow, a bit torturous, but good. And I discovered that all parts of the body are beautiful in their own right.

Since the healing went so well I thought that I would take this whole process one step further and show the photographs in an upcoming art exhibit I was to have on Fire Island. I worked on the concept of building self portraits from the fragmented parts. (I did all of the shooting of me by myself, so I often kept missing the parts I wanted to have in the frame. I ended up shooting many versions in an attempt to get the right alignment for each part, thus I ended up with many, many parts to choose from.) I cut them all out of the proof sheets and started to arrange them a few at a time. I felt that they were not lining up the way I wanted them to so I threw them all out on the table in disgust. To my amazement I saw both the logical and abstract possibilities! With so many images to choose from I could now arrange the body parts in many different ways, this was exciting!

I decided to abstract the possibilities even more by photographing body parts from many different women of all shapes and sizes. I had so much fun arranging them and rearranging them in different combinations that I wanted to enable the viewers at the art exhibition to have that same experience. Thus there ended up being 75 photographs of various sizes in magnetic casings on three large steel panels that everyone could play with.

Since "art" is not only never touched and usually only available to the folks with the big bucks, I wanted my art to be more accessible to everyone. Therefore, I developed a small take-home version that most everyone could afford. The concept was met with such success that it was suggested that I market them and really "go global." Thus the products of "MAGNETIC WOMEN" were born.

MAGNETIC WOMEN continues to be a journey of self-acceptance that I want to share with everyone. The human body is beautiful, no matter what the shape or size. I want everyone to enjoy the beauty of these images, and in the meantime to honor their own physical reality. Being able to touch art in it's usual context is a rare possibility, so let your inner kid come out to play...and enjoy!

These photographs were not created using a computer, they were made entirely in a traditional archival darkroom.

To purchase Magnetic Women magnet sets.