Last year, I started a 365 photography project. A 365 is an opportunity to slow down and focus—to make a deliberate choice to take just one photo each day to represent that single day in your history. As a professional photographer, perhaps this sounds too easy, but I assure you, it’s not. It requires some soul searching to decide THE image to represent the spirit of an entire day—including all of life’s ups and downs. Not long into the project, I realized I didn’t want more images of my husband and our children, what I really yearned for were more images of ME with my children and ME with my husband.... You see as a mother and the default family photographer, I was behind the camera rather than in front. In short order, I realized that if I was to be present in my family’s history, it was up to me to make it so.
Fast forward one year...I was listening to Sue Bryce lecture at a prominent photography conference. If you know Sue Bryce, you’ll likely agree that she’s amazing and incredibly talented. While I admire her skills and creative eye, I am inspired by her because she is honest and forthcoming. Standing there on stage in front of thousands of people, she said that at one point in her life she weighed 100 pounds more than she did on that day. Choked up, she explained that for 8 years, she refused to be photographed—mind you, this is one of the most prominent portrait photographers in the world. So in essence, for 8 years in her own history, she did not exist.
I’ll let that sink in a minute...I can tell you I get choked up every time I think about it--She deemed herself unworthy, so SHE DID NOT EXIST.
She charged each of us to go forward and make the time to photograph the women in our lives. To record that they DO EXIST. She said that if we were lucky enough to still have our mother, grandmothers, aunts, sisters...to set a date and to photograph them. To remind them that they are BEAUTIFUL and they are WORTHY. While I continue working on my list of women, I encourage you to write down your list—today if possible. Then take out your camera and photograph them, and tell them why you are doing it. Then, and here is the tough part, hand your camera to someone else, and have your image taken with them. Yes, you heard me, get in that photo.
If the thought of that makes you a bit queasy or uneasy—I get it. I get it in vivid color—but like me, you need to get over it. I’m telling you, you are BEAUTIFUL and you are WORTHY.
Bottom line is this--I challenge each of you to join me in celebrating the women in your life--starting with the woman in the mirror. Do it. No doubt someone will thank you for it!
...And if you need some professional help with your imagery, you now know why you can count on me.