“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
― Marilyn Monroe
We all seem to get stuck in things that we believe are true. Especially when it comes to our own self. That’s why I tell clients to “be open to the experience that could change you.”
A client wrote after her session recently, “There is something about choosing to be vulnerable, about seeing yourself from a different perspective and trusting in something unknown that is both powerful and therapeutic.”Because realizing who you are is a mind-blowing experience, compared to spending your life wanting to be someone else.
On December 7th, 2014. My life changed. I relearned who I was, and I become someone I never knew. It was a chilly December morning in southern Indiana. We were taking a friend home
About 45 minutes into our drive, somehow, we ended up spinning out of control on the highway. I was told we flipped 5 times. I don’t remember that part.
Two of my friends got minor injuries, but I was not okay. I ended up in the back seat of the destroyed vehicle. When they found me, I was unconscious. I remember opening my eyes and seeing the sun. I felt the cold dead grass under my fingertips. Everyone was screaming, they thought I was dead. And I was, my old self died that day.
My neck was broken in 5 places and nerve damage had caused me to become paralyzed down the left side of my body. 1/69th of an inch more and I could have been permanently paralyzed from the neck down.
I would spend a month in the hospital. Rehab taught me to walk again, and I had to learn how to write with my right hand, and so many other day to day tasks I’m still learning how to do better.Because of this day, every single day is the hardest day of my life.
Because of this day, I can’t do things everyone else can do.
Because of this day, I’m still embarrassed of my injuries.
And because this day, I live life a bit more fully. I cherish every laugh, smile, & tear. I thank God for giving me a second chance at life. The old me died that day, she took a terrible person with her and left a wiser, happier & loving person behind. This was my blessing in disguise.
The model’s own words, “You’d be hard pressed to find even an inch of my body that isn’t scarred, stretched, or jiggling. But I AM BEAUTIFUL and no one can convince me otherwise. My body is all mine and it’s been through the wringer and now it’s more a work of art than its ever been.”
We all have, whether we be men or women, roads that must be traveled, and many times those roads are rather rocky. Such is the case for this model and friend. She appeared here in a different image a few weeks back. It was the scar on her side in that image, created as a result of a childhood surgery. In this image I merely asked her to close her eyes and let herself wander to a different place. Perhaps a smoother road. Perhaps a road ahead.
I’m returning to work here – and hoping very soon to be able to do many more sessions that I can post here – along with privately commissioned images that will not be published.
I was offered a chance to participate as one of four featured photographers in a one night gallery event. And they actually gave me an award! Twenty-six models, twenty-six opportunities to demonstrate the beauty of women in our world.
You can see all of the images from all of the photographers who participated, as well as the words of the models who bravely participated by clicking here – Embrace Your Body.
So as we count things to be thankful for – this opportunity must be on the list for me in 2015.
I’ve photographed a lot of people, more women than men of course, who have tattoos.
Everyone seems to have at least one. My wife has ink as well, and I have learned to appreciate the art, as well as why the art exists.
My friend Hannah is one who seems to be in front of my camera whenever she gets something new, or has something finished. The one on her shoulder that’s seen in an image here is on the wall at my studio back before the color was added. It’s even more beautiful now. But why?
Here’s what she told me about the art she wears. “They’re my memories.. all of them are things that make me smile and remember important things.. my sister, my family, and my faith.” Her sister is Kaitlyn. Older than Hannah, and with Autism. Hannah says, “She’s been in my life for the entirety of it.. I never thought I’d be able to understand my big sister more. Until, that is, Hannah decided to major in Special Education.
Hannah’s big sister, the “light of her life” has inspired her to make the world a better place. She’s a senior in college now, and truly with her life, as well as the ink on her skin, she is Woman as Art.
Today’s beautiful woman I first photographed 6 years ago, and I have a couple of times since then.
What you may not know about her, is that she suffered from the same affliction that so many other women I have met also do – the MIRROR. When she saw herself in it, she was looking at a different person that what you and I would see.
If I had ever wondered whether I was changing the minds of the women who posed for me, I got assurance from her in this note that I am: “You really did help me feel so much better about my body. More than you realize, and that confidence is just irreplaceable. So, I thank you thank you thank you! It makes me happy to see many more women discovering the same thing!”
Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes, and their insecurities do too. Please don’t compare yours to theirs – either your body or your insecurity.
Incidentally if anyone is interested in posing for Woman As Art, please contact me. I’d be happy to have you in the studio. Here’s some words about how your session might go: I would never request that you do something that you’re not comfortable with certainly.
I have references LOL – including my wife who’s fully supportive in what I do.
You can remain anonymous.
As far as what the photographs would be – hard to say exactly. I can send you some examples – the website already shows that I work more with light, shadows and curves – than with nipples (LOL).
I first photographed Brittany 4 years ago this week. She was probably also the first person who I ever walked up to as a stranger and said, “I really WANT to make photographs of you.”
Fortunately she’s not shy about meeting new people, and I have worked with her several times since then.
Fortunately it was warm weather when I saw her in Walmart, and the top of her ink was exposed. That was of course what brought her to my studio.
Most strangers don’t know that she’s brought life into the world twice, and her body shows the love she has given to her children. She’s also a student, and from what I hear, works hard in the gym, working out the frustrations of a difficult job as well.