by David Mendez
Earlier this year, local photographer Liora Kuttler became fed up with the way our country has treated womens' reproductive rights; the groups she joined, petitions she signed and the money she donated helped, but didn't make her feel as if she was making a difference.
So she put down the pens and picked up her camera.
"I got this image in my head, called two of my friends and said, 'Hey, can I paint things on you and photograph you half-naked?'"
A fun-sounding idea with serious execution. The original photos were posted by her friends onto Tumblr, where they went viral, eventually turning into a series (which can be seen here) that was donated to UniteWomen.org.
Things took off from there for Kuttler.
"I finally felt at peace with myself in relation to what was happening," she said. "People would write to me and tell me about their life, and say, 'Whenever I get frustrated about life, I look at your photos and think something is being done.'"
That's when Kuttler formulated a plan to take this concept beyond the Grand Canyon State, developing a nation-wide project that would bring her and her camera to like-minded women in each state, as well as Washington, D.C., profiling feminists and documenting the journey.
She plans to turn the project into a book, which she's titled Out of Fear: Rediscovering Feminism In America.
"The dichotomy of what that could mean is really driving the book for me," she said. "I began the project because I"m really scared about what's happening in the U.S. right now, but I'm also fearless and out of fear because I want to pursue the project. It's that combination that I feel is driving both me and the women I've been talking to."
Kuttler hopes to raise $44,914, at minimum, for the project to get on the road—anything beyond that would go straight to photographing more subjects and printing the book in hardcover.