More Like Deer Than Human Being / by Rebecca Tillett

This is Samantha.
Samantha is beautiful.
Samantha and I met on a website called DeviantArt twelve years ago.
Samantha and I collaborated on our first shoot nearly four years ago.
Samantha recently left her life behind in Florida for a new one in Colorado.
Samantha spent the last year shedding 80 pounds like a fucking badass.
Lucky for me, Samantha doesn't mind meeting me in the middle of nowhere in rural Colorado to create some beautiful photographs.
This is Samantha, an ex-ballerina and "more like deer than human being."

It’s a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves? Euripides speaks of the Maenads: head thrown I back, throat to the stars, “more like deer than human being.” To be absolutely free! One is quite capable, of course, of working out these destructive passions in more vulgar and less efficient ways. But how glorious to release them in a single burst! To sing, to scream, to dance barefoot in the woods in the dead of night, with no more awareness of mortality than an animal! These are powerful mysteries. The bellowing of bulls. Springs of honey bubbling from the ground. If we are strong enough in our souls we can rip away the veil and look that naked, terrible beauty right in the face; let God consume us, devour us, unstring our bones. Then spit us out reborn.
— Donna Tartt

Dear Samantha—
Thank you for your passion, your grace, your confidence, your boldness, your femininity, your sense of humor, your courage and fearlessness, your dedication, and the blinding beauty radiating from you. I edited one photo for every pound you lost (and have posted my favorites here)! I hope you feel as beautiful as you look in these photos.