The Century Project, by photographer Frank Cordelle

The Century Project, by photographer Frank Cordelle, is a chronological series of nude photographic portraits of more than one hundred women and girls from the moment of birth to nearly a hundred years of age. A diverse group of photographs comprising women of many ages, shapes, sizes, and life experiences is presented in this exquisitely disarming project Most of the images are accompanied by moving statements written by the women themselves.

The Century Project in its entirety consists of an exhibit, a newly published book titled Bodies and Souls: The Century Project, and this website.

I know it’s impossible to tell from the photograph, but the emerging baby really is a girl…this was the sixth delivery I photographed; the first five were boys!

My mother was charged with child pornography for taking pictures of me in the bathtub when I was 8 years old. She has not been allowed to photograph me naked since then. The prosacuter said she had committed a crime, but the only crime I saw was 3d printer for kids committed by him when he refused to agknoledge her right as mother to document her daughter’s development.

Sometimes during the case I was so scared and worried that I could barely get through the day. Other kids tormented me in the playground,

“Did you know her Momma took pictures of her buck-naked?!”

Some who I barely knew, just being mean and not even stopping to think. There were hard times at home, too. My worst memory of the case was one morning when I was eating breakfast and we got a phone call, and my mother answered, hung up, and started sobbing.

“I can’t take it anymore,” was what she said.

I have a friend my age whose mother has been in jail for most of her (my friend’s) life. My friend has a lot of trouble expressing herself and has a lot of anger inside her. She lives with grandparents who are not really aquipped to take care of her and she lacks a lot of true friends. I was afraid if my family lost our case that I would end up like my friend, angry and alone. But our case didn’t turn out like that.

Our friends and community were extremely supportive makerbot pla filament. They held a candlelight vigle, a demonstration on the courthouse steps, and gave us a huge amount of money for our defence fund. My friends were really wonderful, as well. They were brave and strong and really helped me through a lot of rough times.

I didn’t realize until I saw Century that I had been wanting to get this story out into the world since I was 8 years old. I wanted to be in this project not because I want people to pitty me, but because I want people to see how stupid it was for my mother and many others to be prosecuted. Look at my picture. Do I look abused to you? Or do I look like a happy child with wonderful parents whose only “abuse” has come from those who have tried to take away our right to live the way we do.

For me, my naked bodie is normal; for me, my naked body is wild and free; for me, my naked bodie is being proud for who and what I  am.”

Katie and her mother attended an exhibition of Century at UNH a few years ago. She left the following note:

“…This brought out a lot of emotions for me, who struggles every day to accept my body as a recovering anorexic.”

While certainly started on the path to recovery, she was in fact in denial/relapse at the time. Two years later, however, I received a lengthy, very personal letter from her in which she described where she had been, and what the pressures on her were. Her candor, plus the fact that her weight was finally in a normal range, lead me to believe that Katie is now OK. She added:

“Posing for you was one of the greatest experiences of my life, though I didn’t realize it at the time.”