I really just don’t enjoy looking at photos of myself

Our business session was fun, she was a middle aged woman, spunky, blond and easy going, with a collection of eye glasses that matched each outfit she brought along with her.  She had a kind heart, very easy to talk to and extemely professional in her business.  We nailed the session after combing through an arrangement of outfits and chose the ones that would work best with her skin tone and bring out her unique style.  She was very happy with how relaxed the session was and the outcome of the images.  I softened the wrinkles, brightened the teeth, removed stray hairs and blemishes and finished off with an added sparkle to her already gorgeous eyes.

For two days I have been stewing about the words she emailed to me after she receiving her final digital files.  “This was such a fun photo shoot, now I need to put these photos to work for me, the problem is,  I really just don’t enjoy looking at photos of myself.”   She loved my work, it had nothing to do with that, it was coming from an internal place of not loving herself.  I hear this time and time again from women mostly.  They do not like to see photos of themselves.  But why is this? I tell my clients I am not going to make them look 20 or 30 years younger through photoshop because that would not be a realistic photo of them and it would go against my own truth by doing so.

Why do we really want to be 20 years younger?  Do we want to repeat that phase of our lives?  Or are we that afraid of aging and seeing ourselves in this new light?  Are we never going to be happy with ourselves and our bodies and how we look? Why can’t we, especially women, think of our wrinkles as evidence of a life well lived?  After all, it already took you so long to earn your wrinkles.  What message are we sending to our youth or our loved ones when we look at our photo and say, ugh, I don’t like looking at myself.

“Please don’t retouch my wrinkles, it took me so long to earn them.”

As women we hold onto those things we thought of ourselves as children, things others may have said about us.  We take those comments and opinions from others to heart and file them into a place in our minds where we can so conveniently pull them out when needed.  You are NOT what someone else thinks of you.  You are NOT defined by other people’s opinions.

Yes I’d like to lose the 15-20 pounds that has accumulated over the years, probably since giving birth to my girls.  And yes there are features that I grew up not liking about myself.  Those beliefs carried over into my adulthood and it took many years to see myself in a new light, to actually love how God made me. Perfectly me, and no one else. And it is still a work in progress. We all need to strive to love ourselves first before we try to love someone else. Accept yourself for who you are and what you look like both inside and out.

I can’t help but think back to all the senior portraits I did this past summer of young women who are on the verge of entering adulthood.   Some of the common statements I heard were;  “my arms are too big” or “I look ugly” or  “my nose is too big” or ‘”my smile is crooked” or “my forehead is large”.  Whatever the comment may be, most women and girls are just not accepting of their physical appearances.  We all know that girls and women are influenced each and every day by media comparison.  We seem to be looking for some construed idea of what a perfect body and face should look like.  We are all uniquely and individually created, and that, is beautiful in itself.  We ARE perfectly imperfect.

Today I stop and take a break for a cup of tea, as I start to pour the water, I notice the saying on the end of the string….

“In the beginning is you, in the middle is you and in the end is you.”

Think about that.  You are all you have in this lifetime. You were created perfectly you in the eyes of your creator.  You are supposed to look exactly as you are.  Embrace who you are. Love what you look like.  Take care of your body and mind.  For it is only you in the beginning, in the middle and in the end.

“You don’t need a mirror to see your beauty”

I emailed my middle aged client back, stating that she was a beautiful woman inside and out and hoped that she would see that in herself. She in turn told me that I was good for her ego and that my work was beautiful.  I do hope she soon realizes that she is the ultimate reason they came out beautiful. I can only duplicate what my lens sees on the other side.

My wish for you is that you won’t let another year pass you by where you do not embrace who you are inside and out.

Let me help you see yourself in a new light through my lens.


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