Trinidad-born Ricardo Scipio has thus far garnered the reputation for making unique, multi-layered, provocative work in film and photography. His first feature film "When" was an irrepressibly brutal and comedic portrayal of dysfunctional struggling actresses in New York. His second feature film "Watershed" was the first independent feature film in North America to be shot in digital high-definition, breaking ground with its technical and narrative accomplishments. His third feature film "Finder of Lost Children," set in the Caribbean community of Canada, is a poignantly moving and humorous story of two half-sisters that meet for the first time at the funeral of the father neither one of them knew.
Ricardo grew up in Toronto and attended both The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and The University of Waterloo. He started his art career as a fashion photographer and then later as a fine art nude photographer. He has had 14 gallery shows of his work and his first book of photographs- a collaboration with noted Canadian poet George Elliott Clarke, was published in November of 2005. His second book "The Goddess Project" was completed in 2010. A book of nudes of Black women entitled "Uzuri" was finalized in 2011. Never idle for long, Scipio has completed photographing his fourth book "The Goddess Project Book Two" in 2012. His fifth book "The Goddess Project Book Three" was finished in 2015 and he recently completed his sixth book "The Sex Goddess Project." When not on tour, Scipio makes his home in Canada.
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Excerpts from Articles Written by My Models
“…it was certainly the most empowering, validating and
sexiest experience of my life.…”
“…The biggest thing I got out of the shoot was the
confidence knowing the inner work I have done has made me a woman who doesn’t wait for what she desires but, instead, goes out seeking her experiences.”
“It’s not about the photographer, Ricardo
Scipio or my lover or any other person on the planet. It’s about my
relationship with myself.”
“When I make love to my man I feel the happiest, the
most beautiful, the most powerful, the most vulnerable and the most divine. Why wouldn’t i want the world to see that???”
“This was different.
It wasn’t an act or play for someone else’s enjoyment. There were no expectations or castings of glamor. No illusions or exchanges. No one sacrificing something of them-self to met the unspoken standard of the
This was important.
It was a chance to be an activist in the sensual world. To reclaim sex for the othered bodies. The fatties, the people of color. To call bullshit on the ones who say “we” don’t do this simply because they had never seen it done.
This was healing.
Because this room, this bed, this body had been violated and this intimate act of vulnerability was to be the unorthodox catalyst in the restoration of my carnal self.”
“Let’s just say that the bloom is beginning to fade. I’m a 51-year old woman who is 150 lbs overweight. Did I really want myself photographed, nude, having sex for a published book?
After Ricardo asked if I would be photographed for his Sex Goddess book, I realized that showing the inner me – the one who loves sex and feels that it is her
special, healing gift – should be shown in full daylight. Yes, I’m fat. Yes, I’m older. However, I don’t want to be shamed into feeling badly about my body because our culture deems it “ugly” or “gross” to be sexual if you’re of a certain age and size. Remember when Kathy Bates disrobed in front of Jack Nicholson
before climbing into a hot tub in the movie “About Schmidt”? The audience practically seized up in horror at the sight of her naked body.
Fuck it. I’m in.”
“…being a Sex Goddess is about your spiritual energy, not about your body, age, size, or color. It’s about what your intentions are to another person and how you give and
receive energy. So what if I’m a size 22? No problem. Or that my hair is wonky most of the time? Not an issue. It’s about something much bigger than external qualifiers. It’s about love, kindness, and being in the moment.”
"I am so deeply in art love
with you. Seeing these three
images together is magical.
This work is worth every
sacrifice. In the truest sense
of the word. You have made
your work sacred. The
relationships that have fallen
apart. The time and money
and energy spent. The
wading through applications.
The women desperate for a
piece of you. The people
wanting to use and be used.
The dysfunction and
degradation of our culture...
And this is what you've
found. These gems that have
been polished to brilliance
by the trials and tribulations.
Amazing things are the path
ahead of you. My heart is
filled with excitement and joy
for you. Soak up every
precious moment of this
Heros journey. You are
approaching the place of
sacred union and the voyage
homeward will soon begin”
“I could never consider myself as sexual. The notion of me being a sexual being, especially NOW, as a middle aged, woman of colour, mother, daughter, and divorcee, seemed foreign and untimely. I had, a “I don’t have time for this” attitude towards my sexuality and my exploration of sex, like I would towards joining a book club, or taking up a volunteer
position at my kid’s school.
Sure, I could be “sexy”- the right clothes, hair tossed so, a glossy lipstick, the right scent. I’m good at holding in my belly, sticking out my butt, and smiling in an intoxicating way. Looking" sexy and conjuring up sexy was easy. Of late, however, it just didn’t feel right. I was actually a little tired of this kind of sexy. So I confront yet again this relentless cycle of negative body image. I realize that each time I weather away at those terrible stereotypes, particularly the ones specific to women of my race, I surface
a little faster. The depths of that place where I “should” look or feel is not going to pull at me long. It’s dawned on me that authenticity is such a precious gift. Be-ing in not often so simple. But I’m working on it, working on being my most authentic self, and this includes being SEXUAL! Yes,in fact I am actively working on this latter part.
The Universe always gives us what we need and at the time when we are ready for it. Following a path I started this summer, where I allowed myself to be open, to communicate, to explore sexually, I was drawn by the Sex Goddess Project when my friend first mentioned it to me. It
couldn’t have ‘come’ at a better time in my life! It was another way for me “to kneel and kiss the ground”. Yeah!”
“Are women ‘like me’ supposed to like sex, never mind be filmed doing it in all our raw beauty and imperfect perfection? According to the images we see in porn and even erotica, the answer is a resounding, NO!. Rarely do we see images of multi-hued, quirky, lumpy, stretch-marked, radiant women who refuse to be shamed and know that they deserve to be adored. This is something I want to see, that I want to be part of, dammit!”
“What sealed the deal for me was something Ricardo had written in an article about overcoming sex shame and prudery. He wrote, “in my opinion being a prude is just as ignorant as being a racist or a homophobe.” Eureka! This sentence captures the kind of repression so many of us feel, but cannot articulate.”
“…this was about reclaiming my body; as I’ve been far
too much of a possession To my previous partners, my sex and sexuality is glorious, exciting, free & beautiful - and who was I to deny myself the most revealing expression Id encountered of it as yet.”
“It’s difficult to talk about my journey into modeling without mentioning my body image issues. Growing up as a female in this society, being told in so many ways that I am not attractive, should be ashamed, should hide myself because my size and shape are so offensive to people, definitely has had an effect on my life. Fortunately, although these abuses of course
affected me strongly, I had the strength of character and enough support from friends and family that I overcame these negative attitudes. Modeling for Ricardo has been the culmination of years of learning to accept my body and love it as it is.”
“Because, as you know, usually when sex is portrayed on film it’s with beautiful people and perfect bodies. It sends the message that passion and sexual pleasure only belong to a select few. One of my favorite things about your work is the realness, the imperfectness, the not so beautiful bodies... It celebrates the intimacy of humanness. <3”
“There is a great divide in the black community when it comes to feminism, gender equality, and human sexuality. There is much stigma placed on women who are openly sexual, and the “respectibility” movement in the enlightened black community shames those women mercilessly. And though Scipio uses women of all demographics, he makes it a point to feature minorities because of the stark lack of representation. In this project, he aims to disturb the status quo and the ultra-conservative agenda that keeps women in their place by chastizing us for being the sexual beings that we were created to be.
The “Sex Goddess Project” allowed me to tap into my reservoir of divine energy, the energy that has fueled human existence for centuries. Being able to capture the sensuality of new lovers’ exploration is a revolutionary act and a reclamation of my feminine power. As a black woman, I understand the cradle of the world began in the womb of Africa. It is my right to use my body as the conduit between divinity and animal nature. Women of color, and especially my black sisters, release the chains of patriarchy and misogyny. Reclaim your body, reclaim your sexuality.”
“Others will tell you that sex is beautiful, and then attempt to prove it by showing ideal bodies, with ideal lighting on ideal sets. Ricardo proves to us that sex is transcendent by showing us that Goddesses surround us in our everyday life, hidden only by our narrow viewpoints and ignorance of its pervasiveness. He has a unique ability to make you fall in love with every woman in his books, thus teaching us that if we only open our eyes, we can love all women, everywhere.”
“Shooting together helped to unbind parts of myself that have stagnated over the past two years, and allowed me to feel far free-er than i have in a very long time.
Our bodies may be only bodies, and our time on the earth fleeting. But the echoes of laughter last longer, and the memory of touch and kiss and stroke and caress are liminal, beneath the surface of my skin as i close my eyes.”
“Real beauty is found in women who do not fit into societies perfect mold. All women can hold that power regardless of their looks, so long as they truly feel it in their heart and soul. It is an expression of the true woman as she was intended to be. As much as she is a goddess, she can not be without her counterpart. Who will worship her if not her partner(s), be they male or female. A whisper in the screaming match society has become that says the human body in it’s honest form is beautiful and a middle finger to religions that says sexuality is dirty, disgraceful, disgusting, shameful or any other negative description that allows a stranglehold over our free will. If you truly believe in the creation of earth and humanity as a divine project, why must you hide God’s perfect creation under clothing and shame? Humans were intended to be all natural… How far we have been dragged down from our glorious heights!
The goddesses are very open and enjoy living for the pleasures in this realm. They are honest about who they are and want to be seen as open, truthful and welcoming. Not only as sexual beings but as their true selves.
I see a reflection between you and the photos (the women in them). You both want to give and accept honesty and openly to all who are equal in their views.”