As a photographer, I capture beauty every day:
I see it in a look, a touch, a smirk, a twinkle. It is everywhere! But what is beauty?
The Pregnant Goddess
My relationships with my clients often start with a maternity photo shoot, and my pregnant models and often so body confident it is wonderful. For a brief moment they claim their title as Goddess.
Yet a few weeks later when I see them again with baby, this power and confidence has gone.
And too often it has been replaced with a loathing for their new post baby body.
And I understand this, I went through it too! Your body changes after you have had a baby and it will never be quite the same again, but what shocks me is how many mothers I now know who have not learnt to love their new selves. Instead they are punishing themselves that their body does not match up to the narrow ideal that has been labelled as beautiful.
And now with selfie culture, we can’t just blame the celebrities and the magazines, so many of us have taken it upon ourselves to join in the mass brainwash to feeling crap and unworthy. The number of women who post images of themselves pre and post baby on Instagram is frightening, so many competing to show how quickly they can resume twig form after giving birth.
Yesterday I learnt what a bbl is (Brazilian bum lift), all the rage apparently with celebrities right now even though there is a high chance this procedure will kill you! They take your fat from your stomach and inject it in your bottom. Really?!
Since 2015 there has been a 40% increase in labiaplasty procedures in America, surely there must be a better way to love yourself and feel beautiful than put your labias under the knife?
And the American Academy has reported that plastic surgery is up by 47% since 2013 and this is accredited to Millennials on their quest for the perfect selfie!
There is a lot of pressure to be perfect, but the problem with going down the route of the knife is I’m not sure that road has an end (remember Michael Jackson?). There is always going to be something else that could make you a little better (or not).
But what is Beauty?
And if beauty really was the chiseled perfection that the media would so merrily have us strive for, wouldn’t most of us be banished to the ugly corner? Cast off on the heap of shame? Single and lonely?
There is a much better solution for improving our beauty. And that is what has inspired my latest project for my Master’s Degree.
Beauty from Within
Beauty is so much more than a visual aesthetic, it glows from a person’s core, beauty is a beam of confidence and love. Roald Dahl explains it perfectly in his book The Twits “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
Family photo shoots quite often start with the party huddled like frightened rabbits waiting for that speeding car to squash them. But get the parents to focus on their children and the fear disappears as they are transformed with love, beauty and joy!
My networking buddy Ali runs Pyjama Drama and her primary goal is to teach children courage. I think this is awesome, she is giving them the very first tool they need to succeed in life. From courage comes confidence and the ability to love ourselves and the world.
From time to time we grown ups clearly need a bit of help like this too. A little reminder of why we are so fabulous so we can turn that confidence back on and let our beauty beam out once more.
My M.A. Project
I have been running mini sessions at the studio over the past few months, getting my models to face up to those poisonous thoughts that get in their heads and create self portraits that say ‘Up Yours’ to those unhelpful thoughts.
Now I have teamed up with emotional health coach Amanda Green and we plan to put on a creative coaching workshop on International Women’s day. This is a session that will give us the real tools we need to access our beauty. No surgeon’s knives. The answer as Amanda will reveal is all in our heads.
Want to come and reclaim your inner Goddess?
Just get in touch. x