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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Photography Show In Brattleboro Celebrates 'Perfect Imperfections'

Liz LaVorgna and Shanta L.E.
Perfect Imperfections
"Perfect Imperfections," a photography project that is on exhibit in Brattleboro starting April 3, tackles the issue of self-perceived flaws and celebrates imperfections.

Two Vermont photographers are tackling the problem of negative self-perception head on in their new project, Perfect Imperfections.

Liz LaVorgna and Shanta L.E. say it all started with a conversation they had about the social pressures in society to be perfect. “We decided that it made sense to talk about perfect and perfections and have people in this project co-create with us what their perceived imperfections were,” says L.E. “Whether it was emotional, whether it was physical, whether it was a characteristic.”

LaVorgna says she’s been photographing people for a long time and noticed the commonality that people didn’t feel they were good enough. “Many times what happens is that they feel there is something imperfect about themselves and I don’t see it at all,” she says.

The photographers enlisted local volunteers who thought they had flaws. They agreed to be photographed and write a three-sentence description of their imperfections to display below their photo. L.E. says the descriptions range from sensitive topics to things people wouldn’t even perceive as an imperfection.

“You are going to see some amazing photographs,” says LaVorgna. “People being vulnerable, being strong, being bold, we have so many different subjects. There’s something in it for everyone.”

Although L.E. says the project has definitely changed the way she thinks about her photography, LaVorgna says she’s always been approaching her work in this way. “I like to see the beauty in things … everyone has an inner light when you look at them, when you look at their eyes, and that’s what I like to show,” she says.

Credit Liz LaVorgna / Perfect Imperfections
Perfect Imperfections
Shanda L.E., pictured here, hopes that people come away from their exhibit with acceptance of themselves.

L.E. hopes people will walk away from Perfect Imperfections with acceptance. “It’s about empowering people to accept themselves and just say there are things about all of us that are a bit hard and challenging to accept. I want people to not feel alone, to understand that we all have things about ourselves that we see, but the world doesn’t see us that way,” she says.

Credit Liz LaVorgna and Shanda L.E. / Perfect Imperfections
Perfect Imperfections
LaVorgna says their subjects have felt empowered throughout the creative process of their project.

How do the subjects feel about having their imperfections displayed in a very public way? “It’s like a cathartic process,” explains LaVorgna. “They may start out feeling very vulnerable about whatever they think their imperfection is, but as they go through it and see the final photographs and really take time to absorb things … it has changed people’s lives.”

Perfect Imperfection opens at The Vermont Center for Photography on Friday, April 3 with an opening reception at 5:30 p.m. during Gallery Walk.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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