Not too long ago, I photographed a group of around 30 women at an event. Each lady was all dressed up for the event and had the opportunity to be photographed for 2-3 minutes. While these women were different ages, shapes and sizes, they all had one thing in common - a general sense of discomfort being in front of a [professional] camera.
Statements like "I don't like taking pictures, "I hate the camera", "The camera hates me", "My face looks fat in pictures", "I just don't know how to pose" and "I don't know how to smile in pictures" were just some of the protestations I heard over the night from over half the women that stood in front of my lens.
While we did get great images for each woman as I guided them through the process, the experience opened up my eyes to the sense of vulnerability the average woman experiences when being photographed and I realised it all ties into wanting to be captured the way she wants to be seen and at the most basic level, wanting to be seen as beautiful.
It's no great revelation that every woman wants to be seen and to feel beautiful. A trillion dollar beauty industry globally - from makeup to hair to to fashion to weight loss - confirms that.
But doing what I do, I can't help but dig a little deeper to reflect on what actually makes a woman beautiful and why it matters that we as women feel beautiful at all!
Personally, I believe it goes beyond nice hair, good looking makeup or great clothes. These all help of course but the beauty I seek to celebrate in the women I photograph goes a little deeper.
I believe the true beauty of a woman lies in the way she holds herself, the confidence in her eyes, the strong and feminine sway of her body, the beautiful curve of her lip as she smiles. The most beautiful women embrace their imperfections knowing that these so called "flaws" make her the unique and special human being that she has been created to be.
Every time I have a woman in front of my lens, I like to dig a little deeper providing a safe space to allow a simple photoshoot to become a process of self discovery, self-reconnection and increased self confidence.
Next week I'll share a little bit about my journey about embracing my beauty, which has always been a little bit of a struggle for me.
But in the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what makes you and the women in your life beautiful. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I'll be sure to respond. 🙂