Introducing Intimate Portraits
There is something that has been on my heart and mind for almost a year. I wasn't sure how to approach this.. but my heart has continued to nudge me closer and closer to what I want to bring to the world as a photographer. Beauty, yes.. but also I so want to be able to empower women to know how beautiful they are in their own skin. They they are each created uniquely and that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
I will share with you a bit about my own journey with my body. Growing up I always saw myself as "too big" or "not tone enough", "not skinny enough" and never felt like the way I was created was beautiful. Like I always needed to be better and different to be accepted in my skin. Fast forward several years to college.. I had to have two MAJOR jaw surgeries, and one involved totally reconstructing my facial structure. Every time I look in the mirror now I am faced with someone I don't recognize. Someone whose face looks very different than how I was born. It is hard for me to see photos of myself.. still. THEN after that surgery things started to change even more. Bruises started to last longer and be bigger, pain started to cripple me and my body started to shut down in ways I never thought possible. Every day when I look in the mirror and see myself I see something that is broken, something that I hate most of the time for the way it has completely altered my life. I see a body that has failed me and I no longer can run or play or climb or walk the way I could.
When this nudging started on my heart I knew that the person that needed this most was myself. I needed to see myself as beautiful EVEN WITH my scars and EVEN WITH my bruises and realize that even though I looked and felt different than I wanted, God made me and what He makes is lovely and beautiful. I am in the process of saving money for some intimate portraits for myself.
And as I have been sifting through this I have been asking friends where they feel most vulnerable in their bodies.. where they feel insecure and how I could help them remember that they are beautiful and lovely. For some it is in sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, for some it is in their skivvies because they don't like the size of their breast or the way their stomach looks. That "if only I didn't have stretch marks from carrying babies I'd be beautiful".
But the thing is, to me those stretch marks are the ultimate sign of beauty. The scars on their hands and legs tell a beautiful story and often tell of ways God has redeemed things in their lives.
So, the first person I knew I HAD to take photos like this for was my dear friend Kami. Someone who has wrestled with their body image their entire life.. someone who has been told for the past 3 years in her marriage that she was either too fat, or not muscular enough, or too skinny, or that she needed plastic surgery to make her breasts larger, who was told that her hair wasn't straight enough and that her feet were too fat and her skin was too green. Someone who has wrestled with hearing these words over and over and over and no longer felt like she could offer anything beautiful. That it all needed to be covered so no one could see.
But , during this process of photographing Kami she was accepted and told she was beautiful.. she was made to feel lovely and was reminded that the way God created her is absolutely perfect. She was allowed to expose herself authentically and tastefully and know that she was safe. And now when she looks at these photos she can remember how that felt, and when she is told that she is lacking she can look at these images and see JUST HOW wonderfully she is made.
So, what does this look like for you? Forget the hair dresser and the make up artist and the skimpy underwear that you never wear and the high heels. Forget about trying to be something you aren't.. instead embrace WHO YOU ARE. Because who you are is beautiful. Where do you feel vulnerable? How can we work together to create intimate portraits of you to remind yourself how amazing you are and how your scars make you into something so much greater than you could have ever imagined.