What Is The Open Photo Project?

Cathy: What is the open photo project? I’m here with Erika Keepen from https://www.theopenphotoproject.com/ who is the perfect person to answer that question. And I am Cathy Vartuli from the https://www.theintimacydojo.com/ . Erika, can you tell us more about the Open photo project?

Erika: Happy to. Hi Cathy, thanks for having me.

Cathy: That was fun.

Erika: The Open Photo Project is a collection of photos and stories of people who are consensually non-monogamous relationships. So right now we’re online at https://www.theopenphotoproject.com/ mostly. But, as a photographer myself, I’m always looking for other ways to share it with people. Basically, I’ve meet with folk who are in different types of non-monogamous relationships and overtime photograph them in their daily lives and every day mundane details whether there are cooking dinner or walking to work or hanging out with their kids or any other partners. And I also talk with them and I record their conversations so we have their voices talking about some conscious and wonderful things about their relationships. And then also some texts with you know I’ll put up some text excerpt about what they said as well.

Cathy: That’s beautiful. I love you normalizing something that a lot of people are afraid of. A lot of people don’t know and it becomes scary and they might have just seen polygamy which is a one form an open relationship but it’s very it has its own special features but there’s lot of variety and I know a lot of people are nervous about it. I.. I used to really scared of it. I went looking for relationship help and I went and someone me to Reid Mihalko’s website and even though he have great information, he was talking about polyamory and I was like, ahhhh, scary! And I think that it’s good for us to one have different options for ourselves but also not to be scared of something that’s just a normal way to express ourselves.

Erika: I agree totally. And I do think from both sides of it identifies us non-monogamist and they are comfortable within themselves that’s great to think if they found that. But a lot of times than they might fix think about both of us their community or in the job situation nor with child custody issues or many different things. So, uhhm, you hear that jet flying over my apartment (inaudible).

Cathy: I can hear actually.

Erika: Uhmm, so

Cathy: Erika, it’s a New York City is the right home for anything.
Erika: Yeah so, I think it’s great to just feel the awareness around and the idea that people can choose to have this type of relationship. And it’s not sensual and its’ not deviance in a lot of cases you know such a waste of the (inaudible). But then also just put on the individuals searching for the right type of relationship for them. I know many people who I’ve spoken with your non-monogamist didn’t even realize that it was an option, maybe they heard about it but maybe they’re, whooh that, that’s intense. That’s not for me, that’s you know, that’s scary and uhmm, because it’s not just really presented in our culture as a valuable option that might make some people feel really comfortable and happy. And so a lot of times it’s a lot of struggle before someone make come to that relationship and acts that really works for them. And if you’re trying to succeed at monogamy and it’s not for you, it could be super hard and painful and so, I (inaudible)

Cathy: That could be it

Erika: Little bit of help to that idea that you know people can choose their own relationship and it’s on everyone’s safe and ex and in the no of everything and you know it can be there’ll be a positive thing.

Cathy: Absolutely. And I think yeah I think the, uh, monogamy is perfect for some people not scrape. And I think It’s also useful to know other things exist but if monogamy isn’t, sheer it’s not how your wired there can be a lot of shame and feeling of frustrations and failure like why am I acting this way? Why am do I want this? Why do I longed for a this other things that might not loving the person I’m with. Well, you can in fact love the person you were with very very much but maybe wired to have many loves in your life or two or four or whatever it is. So uhm. And I think

Erika: uhmm, absolutely and if you think you’d be able to it and realize that about yourself and to talk about that with the people who you are involved with or you want to be involved with those who are really valuable skills such as making new travet. You know, more of feelings relationship wise.

Cathy: Yes. yeah you know I love your talking about the walking the dog and having trouble again with their kids ready for school just like everybody has like it’s really easy for us the other people. And it’s like other people is different but when we see they have the same struggles and problems that we have and then they just become another.. it’s another expression that is not threatening it’s not trying to eradicate human existence or something.

Erika: Okay. And I think that that was a really big intensity a really big part of how it became uhmm, it became more sensual and become bi-gay until they openly out whether your gay or bisexual and if because people will have a hard time with it and they think it was weird or deviance in some way and they will realize that someone that they know or someone that they’re close to or someone that they cared about .. may be gay and it’s like, oh no! They are just people just like I’ve loved them for years and not just heard about them not like somehow where that switch can get flirt with some people because you make it a little bit more about the humane not about behavior that’s different.

Cathy: Yeah. Then, I’ve through through understanding my own means I realized I love open relationships but six years ago I had no clue and I will just It was not even an idea that it was ever crossed my mind and I was funny I was actually talking to one of my first boyfriends and we struggled really hard and because I think were both open were both poly. And we didn’t know it. And because were work feeding in that we ended at breaking up. And were talking now twenty years later and I’m like, wow if we could know about that it might have been a very different way, we might have a very different relationship and different outcomes. So, I really love that you’re helping people see different aspects of this that might be wow. That might be that part might be for me how they’d do that sounds great but I don’t wanna do it that way and it just take a shame and stigma out in it.

Erika: I hope so. That.. I really hope so if doing that that could make me very happy.

Cathy: yeah. So if you’re curious go to the open photo project.com and check it out. Uhmm, I love how respectful and caring you are when i did my review with you with the projects it was just you (inaudible) how people and you wanna help people showcase different ways of being. So thank you so much for being that Erika,

Erika: yes, my pleasure. Thanks for talking with me about it.

Cathy: sure. Leave from its bluff.