photographer + story / June Canedo
styling / Tess Herbert
hair + makeup/ Ayana Awata
model / Morgan Campbell
Morgan has a scar on her stomach. The scar is prominent in photos and even more so in person. I mention this scar because these photos might not exist without it. She is twenty one this year. I met Morgan in 2012; I first photographed her about a week after we met. She is tall, lanky, and semi uncoordinated, making her a photographer’s dream. She must have been about nineteen then and we were both living in Melbourne, Australia.
She has spent the last six months alone in Mexico and on the way home to Australia she found herself in Brooklyn, on my couch. The first time I photographed Morgan she was merely the model. She served as a mannequin for the clothes we strategically placed on her body. This time around Morgan became more than my temporary mannequin.
Morgan was born with a liver disorder (hence the scar). While I’ve known this since we first met, it was only recently that I understood the weight of this particular scar. “It’s a miracle I have lived to see the age of twenty-one. Every birthday is a miracle for me and my parents cry at every birthday party!” she told me.
She has also told me about how terrible her experiences with the modeling industry have been. How this same scar is not only a daily reminder of the liver transplant she is still waiting on, but also a reminder of many years of distorted self-perception. “One minute I was scouted and the next they would gawk at my scar and tell me to work on my cellulite.”
Morgan is still tall and lanky, but she no longer exhibits the naiveté of a nineteen year old. Her hips are full, and her voice is dense with young experience. You can tell she has grown into her body; her feminine pride is tangible. This is one of the reasons I photographed Morgan. Also to celebrate her literal coming of age
since the doctors predicted Morgan would not live past the age of ten without a transplant.
I was enchanted by her scar and found her body beyond beautiful. While photographing Morgan I saw the honesty of her movements and the respect she granted her figure. It reminded me why I take photographs; it reminded me of the importance of individual human characteristics, and the strength of the female physic.
Top, Comme des Garçons.