Ask a Fat Creator: Jaime Patterson

Image description: Black and white photo of a Black woman with long dark hair, looking at the camera with a small smile. She has her hand in her hair leaning into her hand. She is wearing glasses and a light-colored knitted sweater. There is a teal banner across the image, reading “Ask a Fat Creator: Jaime Patterson” along with a URL.

This is the Body Liberation Photos Ask a Fat Creator (and Allies) series, in which we find out more about the lives, work, and breakfasts of all kinds of large-bodied and marginalized creators and their allies.

Jaime is a body-positive, fat positive, inclusive lifestyle, family, boudoir, wedding, and portrait photographer based out of Richmond, VA. Jaime’s work centers fat and other marginalized bodies as a way of normalizing them in the field of photography. There is a lack of fat, queer, and other marginalized bodies being shown, in love, with their families, in their day to day, and confident in their bodies. 

Jaime believes everyone has a unique story to tell and wants to be on hand to hear it, capture it, and share it with the world! She loves catching the moments that you may miss β€” that shy smile from your partner when you think they’re not looking, how your hand rests on your belly when your baby kicks, the way your eyes sparkle when you see your person walk down the aisle, and the way you embrace your whole self when wearing your best outfit and truly looking as sexy as you feel. Jaime thinks every body, every relationship, and every family deserves to be seen.

Image description: Black and white photo of a Black woman with long dark hair, looking at the camera with a small smile. She has her hand in her hair leaning into her hand. She is wearing glasses and a light-colored knitted sweater.

Tell me about you! What’s your name? What pronouns do you use? Where do you live? What do you like to eat for breakfast?

My name is Jaime Patterson and my pronouns are she/her. I live in Richmond, VA. My favorite breakfast is a spinach and onion scramble with a side of crispy potatoes.

What is your business, and how does it make a difference in the world?

I run Hidden Exposure Photography and I feel it makes a difference because my aim is to normalize fat and other marginalized bodies through my photography.

Image description: Fat woman of color sitting on a bed with white sheets and pillows wearing a black sleeveless top and pink underwear. She is looking into the distance with a slight smile on her face. She has big hoop earings on and has long curly hair that falls over one of her shoulders. The woman has one hand behind her and one hand in between her legs as she sits up and has one leg bent in and one leg out on the bed. There is a canvas art piece behind her with a light blue flower and yellow and dark grey streaks.

Why is what you do important? How does it change the way people see or how they feel about their bodies?

I feel as though what I do is important because I am opening the door for fat, queer, and disabled folxs to see their bodies in a way that is beautiful and full. When working with my clients many have told me how they walk away from these sessions feeling more comfortable and confident in the body they have.

What’s your most popular item/service, or the one you most enjoy doing/making?

My favorite of all the sessions I do are my boudoir sessions. It’s such an intimate space and experience that takes a great deal of trust between myself and the client. I adore watching them open up during our sessions and how the beauty I see becomes more evident to them as we go along. I love seeing how they express their personal sexiness and confidence through their clothing choices etc. It’s also a session where we share a lot of giggles and honest conversations.

Image description: White woman facing a window revealing the back of her body, holding white curtains. She has long, curly red hair and is wearing a lace long-sleeve halter top and lace panties that show off her butt with stringy top pieces. She is flaunting her back rolls and staring off into the distance.

How does body positivity or fat positivity make your business different from others in your field? What has your experience been like?

Body and fat positivity is at the forefront of my business. I approach each session and client through that view point and see all bodies as valuable and worthy of great photos. This stems from my personal experience being a fat cis Black woman who rarely sees bodies like mine in photos showing people in love, with their families, or embracing their bodies.

Can you share an instance where you made a real difference for a customer or had some really great feedback from them about your body-positive work?

One of my most significant instances of making an impact was a client who had gone through a rough breakup and wanted to do a couple of photos for a new potential love interest. Those couple of photos turned into a full-blown session and afterward, she told me that she had not had any photos taken of herself since she was 10 years old and because of a traumatic childhood she hated her body. After the session, she told me that for the first time since the age of 10 she felt comfortable in her body and had a great time. I realized then the incredible honor it is to be on hand to help people heal through photographs.

How did you discover body acceptance or body positivity personally? What kind of difference has it made for you?

I discovered body positivity through a lot of Google searches and Live Journal. Reading those journals and seeing so many people who looked like me wearing the latest fashions and carving out space for themselves through their aesthetic was transformative for me. It gave voice to the struggles I had and the strength to take up all the space I needed to be me in this world.

Image description: A heterosexual couple of color standing outside walking down the side walk beside a white building holding hands. The man is wearing a suit with white pants, a navy coat and a pink undershirt. The man is wearing glasses and smiling at the camera. The woman is smiling and looking down at the ground she is wearing black sandals, a floral teal and pink skirt with a sleeveless white top and a long necklace. Her hair is tied back with a pink scrunchie.

What advice do you have for other people who are learning to love and accept their bodies?

Know that it is a process and that it is ever-evolving just as bodies ever evolve. You may have days where you feel 1000% confident and ready to take on the world and others where you may fight with your body and struggle with all of the fatphobia in this world. However, you feel is valid and it is totally ok.

What advice do you have for other business owners who’d like to incorporate body acceptance into their work?

In the realm of photography in particular I would say to make sure that your portfolio is diverse and that you make sure you represent many different body types, sexual orientations, etc. If you shoot boudoir and offer wardrobe options to your clients make sure that your choices go up to a 4x or that you have resources to give your clients that have options that cover up to and over a 4x.

Image description: A white man is looking at the camera in a kneeling position with his hips open towards the camera and a hand resting on each knee. He is wearing a long black dress with black short boots and a tribal looking necklace. He has a mustache and tattoos on his arms and is looking directly into the camera with a neutral look. He is outside standing on some rocks with a Skytrain line behind him in the distance.

Where can we find more of your amazing work?

You can find my work below:

Let’s dig deep.

Every Monday, I send out my Body Liberation Guide, a thoughtful email jam-packed with resources for changing the way you see your own body and the bodies you see around you. And it’s free. Let’s change the world together.

Shelbey Osborne is a 200-hour Yoga Teacher. She is passionate about yoga and astrology and uses these teachings to help individuals connect deeper to their own intuition. She is an advocate for body acceptance and applying a self-compassionate approach to all areas of our lives.

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