June 3, 2015
I want to share with you a recent shoot that was pretty special for me.
I learn a little bit of juicy life knowledge from everyone I photograph, but this experience really made me go deep into myself and my past feelings of being unworthy, not deserving and not enough.
Angela recently completed not one but two huge challenges with my friend Mel at MAB fitness. Through out these challenges, she has accomplished so many fitness goals, and also made some pretty major mind shifts too.
However this beautiful lady (like most women) is still plagued with so many blocks and struggles to be able to see herself as the gorgeous soul that everyone else can see (sorry Ange, but this is so true)
When Ange turned up at my studio, with a suitcase full of amazing outfits and shoes and boots I just knew it was going to be an epic shoot.
She was so nervous and apologetic, and I could tell straight away that this was a CRAZY BIG DEAL for her.
It was just a fan-tastic day for me, I just kept shooting till we made it through the wardrobe, and Ange bit by bit felt more and more confident till BAM like magic she forgot herself forgot to feel self conscious and just let go.
To be honest I think we both needed a nanna nap afterwards and maybe a wine (or was that just me)
When Ang came to see her photos, her reaction was pretty cool for me I just had to share and I don’t mind admitting it made me a little teary in parts.
I asked Ange why she decided to come and have a photography experience, “I wanted to feel beautiful” Gobsmack me, I see this tall leggy gorgeous exotic looking creature, however can totally understand as I am sure most of you can “It was a challenge into self love. To have someone photograph me and only me. To allow myself to be exposed.” Yep, get this one, and how brave of Ange to put all her fear aside and just give it a go.
When I talked to Ange about how she felt before the day she said, “I was nervous, excited and a little bit scared. I was letting someone photograph me. Just me. No background, nothing/no-one else to take the spotlight just me. I usually hate myself in photos, not knowing how to stand to look good and not liking what I see”. I so related to Ange on this, even as a professional who knows all the right ways to stand, I can freely admit that I tend to always pick myself apart in photos, so no preaching from me here.
Ange followed my instructions leading to the shoot and told me, “Taking in a whole suitcase of clothes with no expectations was probably the wisest course. Paula created outfits and a style for each that I never would have thought of. I didn’t know what to expect and just letting the girls take over was the best decision.” Was totally fun to play dressups with her too, was great that she just trusted us.
On the day of her shoot Ange said she was “scared and quite reserved. I’m usually quite outgoing but I think I was so scared of opening myself up to someone focusing on me. I was excited too though for the same reason. It was a challenge to let myself be the center of attention for once. I didn’t want to influence anything with what I thought but just let the professionals style me how they thought, to see what suited me through their eyes.”
After I asked Ange what her first initial response was to seeing her photos her words are so awesome to hear “Shock and disbelief were my first emotions when I saw the wall of me. Beautiful me. I looked like magazine covers.”
There is one photo in particular that hit me. I looked like my mother, in a photo that my father has in his shed above his work bench, from when mum was in her 20’s. black and white, totally innocent and unaware of her beauty and Dad looks at it with so much love, I believe he still sees mum like this. I have always thought mum was so beautiful in this picture and to see myself in the same way was a revelation.”
I was so touched when Ange shared this one with me, that is just so special.
I really wanted to know what having this collection meant to Ange, she shared beautifully,
“It’s a journey, self love. And this is a step on that journey. To stare at a photo of me and say I love that look, that face, that style hopefully will help me to be able to stare at myself in the mirror and see these things and say I love you.
Plus they are work’s of art. As I said I look like magazine covers so to put them on the wall will be decorating my new home.”
So I really wanted to know if this experience changed her opinion of herself, “I still struggle with the idea that I am beautiful, this I feel will take a lot longer to believe deep down than 1 single photo session can change.” It hurts to hear a woman who is even more beautiful on the inside say this, however it was like hearing a loudspeaker of my exact thoughts about 5 years ago, so I could totally relate.
“However, I can see what others see. I am beautiful.” YAAAY breakthrough “I now pose for photos rather than just standing there or hiding behind others. I smile with my whole body not just my lips.” YAAAY more awesome breakthroughs
“In my journey of self love, these photos will help change my feeling of myself. To appreciate, and love me, and see how beautiful I really am.” OK so insert massive happy dancing Paula here.
So Ange gave me a very good wrap, and I am so touched that this experience meant this much to her, but I know that this is just one step in her journey. I am just so happy to have shared this with her, and given her a chance to really open up. As sometimes I think that is really what I do, is just provide a safe space for women to open up and just feel amazing.
I just love the way Ange put this into words,
“Having a photo shoot for yourself, is not a selfish thing. Its not a self centred thing. And what you can get out of the experience is far more than the cost of the photos. It’s a self discovery exercise. To open yourself up to what may be possible with your body and some creativity. To view yourself through the eyes of others. It’s uplifting. It can be healing also. Just be open to trying something new and different and trust those that are doing to bring out the best in you.”
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