20 courageous individuals etched their personal struggle(s) onto their skin to show that nearly everyone suffers from some type of insecurity.
Thanks to the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to imagine that other humans live perfect lives, free of hardship and struggle. The truth, though? Life is tough – for everyone. And no matter how confident or ‘together’ a friend, colleague, acquaintance, or even an enemy might seem, they have their struggles.
To reflect on this truth, photographer Steve Rosenfield captured a diverse group of individuals revealing their innermost insecurities. The series, What I Be, features portraits of men and women with the doubts, fears, and needs that plague them etched onto their skin.
According to Design You Trust, the series seeks to highlight how nearly everyone struggles to some extent with low self-esteem, anxiety, and other afflictions. Some people admit that they are forever waiting on other peoples’ “stamp of approval,” while others lay bare the overwhelming loneliness they suffer from. The raw portraits are awe-inspiring, as they inspire those who view them to cultivate more empathy for others.
The artist began the series in 2010 and has taken thousands of photos for this moving series which he has posted on his website. Rosenfield wants the What I Be project to uplift and empower people because one’s happiness shouldn’t rely on other peoples’ opinions or the standards outlined by society. The photographer explains:
“In today’s society, we are often told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these ‘standards,’ we are often judged, ridiculed, bullied and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind and heart and empower those who feel they suffer for something they may see as a flaw.”
This world is a difficult place to navigate. If you suffer from insecurities and/or mental afflictions like some of the courageous people below, consider extending the type of kindness you would hope to receive from others. In other words, “be the change” you desire to see, and expect miracles to occur.
Following are 20 portraits of individuals wearing their insecurities on their skin: