I hear it from women all the time, and I know you do too:
“I look fat”
“My skin is so bad”
“I look old”
“My eyelids are droopy”
“I hate my smile”
“I never take good pictures”
“Make me look younger and thinner!”
Every woman I know picks themselves apart until there is nothing left but a puddle of low self esteem. We scream about the absurdity of advertising and the “ideal beauty”, yet we deny what is naturally ours. I’m guilty of it, and I get just as mad at myself as I do my friends when they do it. Why can’t they see the beauty and strength that I see when I look at them? Why can’t I see what they see when they look at me?
I recently did a self portrait session with the hopes of accomplishing three things:
1. Playing with my new parabolic umbrellas (woohoo, new equipment)
2. Capturing the beauty that I know is there, because it’s in each and every one of us, dammit!
3. Fearlessly sharing my self portrait to prove to you, and myself, that we don’t have to look perfect to be beautiful.
I took 94 photographs. I loved exactly none of them. I found one to be “acceptable”, but I managed to pick it apart until it became just as unacceptable as the rest. And there it has sat, on my hard drive, for the last three weeks. Even as I write, I am thinking I will never have the nerve to post that photograph for the world wide web to see. But that would mean I only achieved one, out of three, of the goals I set for that little photo shoot. Thats failure. That’s not ok. That’s buying into all the crazy ideals of beauty, rather than realizing my own. That’s not ok either.
So here I am in all my glory! Of course, makeup, lighting, and some fun clothing helps, but I still find perceived faults. I share this self portrait not to fish for compliments, I will only argue with them anyway, but to reach out to all of my sisters and plead with them to be proud. When you receive a compliment, say, “thank you!” and believe that it is true. And when you don’t receive compliments, know that you don’t need them to recognize your power and your beauty, SEIZE IT, for it is already yours!
This post is dedicated to my #1 LA PINUP Photog: Dave Doeppel!