I wasn’t kidding when I said that I believed in the cause.
I was talking to one of my clients today after her shoot, and things got a little emotional. We shared a quick cry as she was telling us the story behind why she decided to finally have a boudoir shoot. I will spare you the details (for now) but i wanted to come here and share my experience with her.
When I was struggling with feeling beautiful, I was lucky enough to have this platform to express my concerns. Even though I’m a pretty shy person and don’t like to talk about myself, I felt that it was important to show the world that even people that SEEM like they have it all together, have trouble feeling “awesome” sometimes. I was lucky to get support from my community here online and hear about people just like me who were struggling with an illness or with other self-conscious issues. Not everyone is that lucky however. Some women suffer in silence. Sometimes for the simple reason that they will think that they will be judged… like they are alone in the world.
My client, let’s call her Julie for the purpose of this conversation, was explaining that she always wanted to do a boudoir shoot and feel pretty. Although her friends and colleagues always tell her that she’s a beautiful woman, she struggled to see herself how other people claimed they saw her. She recently got divorced, found someone else, got left behind with the other one and watched as he got engaged with someone else. She didn’t have anyone to give this gift too. She never had quite the time either to get it done with two kids. Her story was pretty powerful and explained how she finally decided to get this shoot done for herself. After seeing some photos in the back of my camera, she got a feel in the realization of how beautiful she really could be … by being herself in front of my camera. She left the shoot saying that she had finally found herself.
How amazing is that?
So many women struggle with the idea that everyone can be beautiful.. except for them. This is an absolute lie and the REASON why I want to photograph woman. My only goal is too push through society’s ideal of “beautiful” and show women around me that it’s Bull.
When I first started photography, I wanted to change the world. I wasn’t sure how but … I wanted to do it. When I found woman portraiture, I feel like I found a calling. I wanted to be able to show women everywhere what I saw in them and how being “themselves” could make their inner beauty shine. Thing is, I’ve been so busy this past year that I started feeling a little lost. I started feeling like I was supplying a demand but I wasn’t doing anything meaningful to ME. Yes, I want to create beautiful images and yes I want to make my clients happy but my ultimate goal was to change the world! How could I do that by shooting 30 weddings a year ?
Don’t worry i’m not quitting.
By hearing all the amazing stories that my boudoir clients trusted me with, I came to realize that I needed to speak louder than just one-on-one (or on my little blog). I’ve been thinking of doing this for a loonggg time but never had the cuts to publicly launch it. But it’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN if I don’t, right? So, here goes. I decided to start an initiative. With the help of Kim and some awesome vendor friends (such as makeup and hairstylists) I will be launching #redefineperfect, a book of stories from women currently struggling with feeling beautiful. We will share their stories and tell you how we worked with their self-conscious issues and showed them that they are just as beautiful as everyone else, right NOW. Gym memberships and Diets can’t change how you feel about yourself. Only YOU can do that, by changing the way you SEE YOURSELF any other day. You need to shift your view and start seeing yourself how OTHERS see you by changing your focus. Only then will you feel truly beautiful. We will be photographing 20 woman of all ages, race and sizes and putting them in a hard cover book for you to read. We are also looking for real stories to use without any images. I am hoping that sharing these stories with all of you, will bring women the comfort that they are not alone and get them one step closer to finding the WILL to push their inner beautiful out. I want women everywhere to feel sexy, boost their self-confidence and feel their own kind of perfect.
What are you talking about?
If you are new here and you have NO IDEA what I’m talking about. Showing people how beautiful they are is the reason I started Ella Photography is the first place. I believe that everyone’s life is amazing just the way is it and the only thing you need to change [to see it] is the WAY you see it. Typically, that means seeing yourself (and your life) through someone else’s eyes. The reason people have such a hard time with being happy with their lives is because they keep comparing their “behind-the-scenes” with everyone’s “highlights”. You think your life is harder than everyone else and that you are not as pretty as everyone else but that’s simply not true. At all. It’s because you focus on aspects on your life that you don’t get to see in other people because they usually happen in your home or when you are feeling down. So your house is messy most of the time because of the kids… so is everyone else’s. You have puffy eyes in the morning (and you hate that) … so does everyone else, you just don’t see it because they wear makeup on the way out… and so on. By letting me photograph you, I can show you HOW I see you and give you a photograph to remind you of it. You are beautiful the way you are … right now. You really are. If you need to see examples of a few women I photographed, feel free to see some on my Facebook Fanpage.
So now what ?
I’m currently looking for woman, just like you, that would like to share their struggles with feeling beautiful with other women. I want anyone from “I’m too old” to “I think I’m overweight” to “I’m too thin” to “I have an illness”. I want moms, who don’t have time to do their hair and professionals, with jobs that are dominated by men… Anyone really. We want to hear from all of you.
We have a few shoots already done but want to shoot at least 20 women in all. The stories that STICK OUT to us and we want to learn more about, we will offer those women a boudoir shoot with professional hair and makeup, shot by me… for free. This is by no means sexist, by the way. If you are a man living through these types of issues, feel free to enter as well.
If you have been feeling down and feeling like you are not beautiful to the rest of the world, (and yourself) know that you are NOT ALONE. So many other women feel exactly like you do. EXACTLY. Even me. We are launching this initiative in Montreal and New york to be able to tell your story and support other women (just like you) with a psychological understanding that PERFECT does not exist and you can live by your OWN standards. Wanting to feel beautiful WITHIN yourself (not necessarily for someone else to see) is not selfish. It’s an important factor in our survival. If you don’t feel like your story is interesting enough… try me. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me yours.
If you aren’t sure that you are ready to share your story publicly… that’s ok. You can share this blog post of your facebook page and help us find the women that we are looking for. Use hashtag #redefineperfect on your instagram and facebook selfies too and help us spread the word by telling the world that you KNOW you are beautiful just the way you are. Let’s actively start a movement while we are at it!
If you are a vendor and want to be involved in the initiative, feel free to email YOUR STORIES with us as well or simply tell us how you would like to help. I think it’s time to stop living in a fantasy of what the meaning of the word “perfect” is. To stop being afraid of judgement from other that are, actually just like us and start advertising what real beauty and being a women is really like. This is 2014 … time to be real.
Thank you for your support and hopefully, soon enough, I’ll be able to share my book with you.