How portraits helped me feel good about myself:
I tell clients how other clients have changed how they see themselves after a portrait session, but I keep shying away from telling my own story how it helped me. Mostly I often forget but other times I think it will sound like I am simply trying to be "salesy". However my work is very honest, dealing with real people and telling real stories of actual transformations that have taken place, and here is mine.
I was born into a very snap happy family. Ok I'll be honest- we were show off's for the camera any chance we got. We lived for the camera. This was my dad's influence who had a great love for photography and video, and put my first camera into my hands at 16. A film camera. I still have the photo! Actually, the photography was my dad's influence. The wanting to perform for the camera I think was my mum's who also got us into acting.
By now you're understandably thinking when have I had to learn how to feel good about myself in front of the camera if for my entire life I've been exposed (excuse the pun) to "life in front of the family camera"?
As someone that had always been comfortable in front of the camera this changed for me in my late twenties when I developed a reproductive condition (that I am now recovered from) that caused me to put on 30 kilos. All of a sudden not only did I not want to be in front of the camera, I actually refused more times than not to exist in a photo such as being out with friends.
For the first time in my life I was camera shy!
I now regret this because during the 3- 5 years it took me to restore my weight and health back to normal barely any photos existed of me during those years. That was an important part of my life to when I first moved to the Gold Coast. There were many happy memories and I did my best to hide from any camera wherever possible!
As the weight was finally coming off, I started doing selfies and this really helped how I felt about myself over the next few years. As I looked over the photos, I could see the changes finally taking place that I wanted to. Finally over time I could actually smile at a photo of myself. It took me a long time to be able to.
If I accidentally found a few photos of myself during those years, I threw them away. I just couldn't look at a photo of myself that much. Finally, I was able to. I didn't necessarily like the images, but I kept them reminding myself of the progress I had made. More importantly, as a reminder of times had during those years.
I made a firm decision never to deny myself to exist in photos. That doesn't mean I have to be in every single one. It simply means I don't want to say no because; "I look too fat or I don't look good today..." and so on.
I now have head shots done regularly every 1- 2 years so I can document the journey of my life and me at every stage of my life.
In recent years I've had a bit of an issue with my weight and again I started not particularly liking photos of myself. However, I kept them to have a photo journal of my life just for me that noone else had to see. I didn't throw them away.
I've come to realise I therefore base how I feel about myself largely on the current weight I am. I made a decision to work on changing this also.
Recently, I had personal branding images done and it was a true visual expression of my most recent experiences.
When I look at the following image I struggle a little. I'm still not exactly where I want to be weight wise. One minute I love looking at the image and the next I want to look away from it.
As a photographer I am tempted to liquify it in just that little bit more. However I am refusing to knowing how hard I have worked to be able to even fit into this little black dress and be confident within myself enough to even wear it and show it.
I often ask my clients to reveal their vulnerabilities and here I am revealing mine. In this photoshoot done by Broderick Photography, in my final images I wanted to include just one little black dress for me to enjoy- because I can.