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The Baggage Project

By Linda Horn

I first heard of The Baggage Project last year during a photo seminar class. T.J. LeBlanc came to talk to our class about what she had been doing since she graduated photojournalism. On top of working as a reporter for The Independent in Brighton, she also showed us her work she was doing with baggage.

I really connected with what she talked about and showed us. I have gone though a lot and carried my own baggage like everyone. I loved the idea of posing nude, but not showing anything I didn’t want to show.

A year and half later, I am driving to her studio on a freezing January day. My nerves were shot. What am I thinking posing nude, exposing my baggage words, unveiling my weaknesses?

LeBlanc’s personality was warming, despite the chilly studio. She made me comfortable right away. Even though she was the photographer and it was her project, I was in control.

She handed me paper to write down my baggage words. I struggled with the spelling of some words and LeBlanc said it she couldn’t help me, even with spelling. It was all about being the real me.

I then picked out the luggage I wanted to use and arranged my words on the luggage. LeBlanc stepped away so I could undress and position myself. She then came back with a cloth up by her face so she never saw a thing.

She quickly shot five or six frames, taking a moment to make sure she got what she wanted. Then it was done. We sat and did a quick video where she asked me a few questions.

The whole experience was natural and comfortable. I am proud of myself. I am now a part of something. I am excited to see the results and hope it touches someone.