I’ve had mixed feelings about posting the topless pictures for a few years now. The thing was, for all the sensible reasons I could think of not to take them or post them, underneath it all was a burning want–if not need–pose and post those photos. (see photos here: https://barefootjustine.com/pics/barefoot-justine-4/) Deep down, I needed to document my body now while it still looks good, so I had them taken.
The photos are raw, totally honest, right out of the camera, no adjustments, no touch-ups, no Photoshop… they are simply pictures of me, in the real world, no tricks, no bullshit. Hot or not, they are all me. That’s my body, that’s my face… and I’m not doing so badly, after all. No, I’m not Bardot, I’m no Soledad Miranda, but I am Justine. I can accept this, at last. All of them were taken by another woman, Haley Stracher, who is doing a story about the way life changes for a cancer survivor… I am her subject. But cancer isn’t the point, I am, Haley is. I trust her implicitly, there is nothing tricky nor any artifice in the pictures, she just knows how to keep me and catch me at my very best… and she has captured on film what I always hoped might be the truth.
I don’t even care that the topless photos aren’t perfect, I don’t like the belly in this shot, I hate my face in those shots, what the hell face am I making? in that shot… and on and on and on. I’m no model… but those pictures, they are ALL ME! Totally honest, and yes, I could look at them and see the ugliness, the awkwardness, or I can look at them and see the beauty, the journey, the healing, the woman. That’s the thing, what you see, it’s a choice. As Nilsson’s Rock Man from “The Point” said, “You ever see a Pterodactyl… You ever want to see a Pterodactyl? That’s it man, you see what you want to see, you hear what you want to hear.” What a person sees in these pictures will say a lot more about them than it will about me. It’s about how you choose to see, it’s about whether or not a viewer has a shard of the Devil’s mirror in his eye or not. It’s about which of the wolves my viewers are feeding. It’s about which story you prefer, which I think we all learned from “Life Of Pi,” it’s about deciding whether or not to believe in God… which story do you prefer?
And me, which story do I prefer? Well, I’m forever plucking bits of the Devil’s mirror out of my eye, but now I know when they are in there, and I know it’s up to me whether or not I pluck the bits out, whether or not I feed that wolf. I prefer to pluck those bits out of my eye and side with the Romantics, the beautifiers, the dreamers. And now, I look at those photos, those terribly honest photos, and I see an amazing journey, a lot of healing, a hopeful smile, fresh skin, a woman with a ton of character, something to look back on with pride and a smile when I’m older, and a body that’s fucking good enough… and maybe even… dare I dream it… pretty hot! Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?