One of my grandfather’s many one-liners was ‘a picture never lies.’ I do agree with him to an extent, but I think we have seen how in the age of Instagram, the lives and even the bodies of the people around us are curated. We are being bombarded with false images of perfection and putting a filter on real life. This makes us feel more than ever as if we need to measure up, or like we are not enough. In the last year or so though, I have noticed the start of a rebellion – a body positivity movement though photography. Increased vulnerability on social media with positive quotes, discussions on sensitive topics and people embracing every kind of body, encouraging us to love every hair, curve, stretch mark and wrinkle.
I have been passionate about photography for a long time, and on many occasions have been on both sides of the camera. Recently, I turned my hobby into a business and through that, I’m striving to be a part of the revolution.
1. Taking Photos for Self Empowerment
I shoot a variety of styles of portraiture. One of my favourite styles can sometimes be categorized as ‘boudoir’, but I prefer the term body positivity. Boudoir is often a term associated with a more sexualized connotation, and an intention to make you look good for someone else. That is not to say that a body positivity shoot cannot be sexy, or that the photos cannot be a gift for a partner, but the posing and intention are different. Frequently there is nudity, but this is not mandatory. The format focuses on you and strives to show a real depiction of who you are in that moment in your life. You do not need to be in a partnership to do a shoot like this, it can be a gift just for YOU to make YOU feel beautiful. Seeing yourself in your best light and empowering you to embrace yourself for who you are right now.
2. The Importance of Documenting Yourself
Self-love is critically important. Loving ourselves is what helps us be successful in all aspects of life. That being said, it’s not something that is easy to accomplish. It’s a lifelong project that requires a commitment to growth and acceptance. For example, I think it is common to not like a photo of yourself in the moment and then to look back at it a few years later and think, ‘What was I thinking?! I looked great back then!’ Our bodies are constantly growing and changing through various stages of life; pregnancy, aging, illness etc. Document it in its current moment and see the body that has carried you through so much in all the many stages of your life.
3. Seeing your Beauty Through Objective Eyes
Isn’t it weird that the only way we will ever see ourselves is through reflections? Whether it is through a camera lens, or a mirror, we will never see what others see in us. At the same time, we know our own faces better than anyone else does, see our flaws more vividly and are hardest on ourselves. Sometimes it is helpful to have an objective third party cheering us on. Part of self-love is surrounding ourselves with the right people. People who are supportive and lift us up. In a portrait shoot, your photographer is your cheerleader. Whether it is a professional head shot or a more intimate portrait session, you should walk out feeling like a god/goddess.
4. Showing What’s real Without Focusing on Flaws
The point of a body positivity session is not to zoom in on the things that you like least about yourself. It is about enhancing the things you love most and accepting that the things you do not love are still pieces that contribute to who you are as a human being. It is important to keep in mind that every one of us has things that we don’t like about ourselves, but we are all beautiful and worthy of love and kindness. Even a camera will never see the same thing that our naked eyes can see. As a photographer, I am always trying my best to paint a true picture of your current being. Once again, there is no obligation for nudity. This is portraiture. Wear what makes you feel comfortable, confidant and the most like yourself. The key to these sessions is comfort, because if you are not comfortable, it will show.
It is very common for a client to tell me ‘I’m not very sexy/sensual’ or ‘I’m not very photogenic.’ The best feeling for me, is when they see the photos and are completely blown away. They get to see themselves from a new perspective that they don’t get to see everyday.
Body acceptance: A journey to feeling good
Self love and self acceptance is an ongoing project for me and helping others on their journey helps me along on my own path. It builds a community where we are all supporting each other. So, let’s work together to flood the internet with images of real people and real bodies to support everyone in their journey to feeling good!