If you find yourself asking, ‘why?’

I ask client about a photo session.
Her reply, written later, “I found it awkward because any picture I do have of my self is for some sort of accomplishment. There is a reason or purpose in documenting that moment in time. I earned it. Never would I be photographed without reason and I didn’t have one. I felt to have a photograph of myself, aside from the usual selfie, would make me arrogant.

“If you find yourself asking why, here is my answer, “Woman by their very creation are walking, talking works of art. Way too many have lost the concept of their beauty. Woman as Art is a project that celebrates the masterpiece in all of them.”

Something to hide behind.

I’ve always used my eating disorder to hide. It’s always been something I could use to hide from my own feelings and my own personality. I used it to ignore feelings and I let people’s comments on my body and my size be the only thing I based my worth on.

This photo session made me feel like I was breaking free of all of that. Like I was done hiding behind a physical body and was ready to be a real human that deserves validation regardless of her body. Like someone who deserved to let all of that go and love herself again for who she truly is and not the person she hides behind.

In the model’s own words.

The Rose Without a Thorn.

Catherine Howard (one of King Henry VIII’s wives) has been referred to as “the rose without a thorn.” Always beautiful, always proper. Women call themselves today to be that rose in society, and to hide the thorns. Be flawless.

Roses and thorns though are part of the same plant. The rose stays on the plant for only a few days, the thorn is there forever – and some say it’s there to protect the plant from being eaten by animals – so the thorns then make the rose possible.

People tend to see the beauty of the rose and pretend the thorn is not present, but on a cactus the only thing that you can see is thorns but in fact many bloom quite beautifully.

In either case – the thorns are what makes the plants that carry the beauty, survive.

Choosing to Be Vulnerable

“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.

Grabbing Your Problem With Both Hands

A few days ago I made senior pictures for Tess, and during that session she confided in me that she suffered from a disorder called Trichotillomania, or TTM. Because of that she sometimes had an uncontrollable urge to pull her hair out. She also told me she had found a way conquer it.

When she told me what that was, I advised her that if she desired to show that publicly, I’d be glad to help her. What follows is some images made today – one day after she told Trichotillomania that it was not going to be in control of her any more…

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Much love to Tess for deciding to not only tackle Trichotillomania head on (no pun intended) but also for allowing me to share it publicly here, proving that through strength and a world of other things most of us know nothing about, even without hair, a woman can still be a beautiful Work of Art.

Scarred, Stretched, and Jiggling


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.”

Dance is Moving Sculpture

The title, a quote from Pablito Greco.

It is an honor to be able to freeze those moments of female humanity, and preserve in the camera a sense of the fluid sculpture that a woman is…IMG_7463w

Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

My job is much easier. The angels are all around. I find the light and then push the button.

I’m Me in the Most Imperfect Way


“I feel like I’m in love with myself. In no way shape or form am I perfect. But I’m me in the most imperfect way.”


“I’ve looked at it 1,000 times. It shows me as a woman, and not as a girl. I can see maturity and it reminds me of all of the things that’s happened in my life, good and bad.”


“I look like a different person than I used to be. And I am. But at first it sort of freaked me out, I was like wow! But the more I looked at it, the happier it made me. I realized I was exactly where I wanted to be.”


“It may just look like a picture but it means more than that to me.”

The words are the model’s own.

No Mud, No Lotus


I’ve had a lot of darkness in my life… My father died when I was just a baby, and my mother couldn’t care for me, so my grandparents raised me. My family didn’t really get along, and seemed to constantly be at war. From an early age I was told how to wear my hair, what to wear, what music to listen to, how to act, and who to be. My entire life was dictated and it seemed there was nothing I could do against it. Everyone wanted something different from me, I had to learn how to be a different person for every person I was around. I never got to be me, or even figure out who “me” was. As I got older, things worsened for me. I was molested at 11, my family was still fighting. I was so depressed, that I started cutting myself. I was oppressed, and always made to feel guilty for who I was or what I wanted. Was there no other life for me than what they wanted me to be? I ran away from home at fourteen, and when the police asked if I would go back home with them, I said no. I went to a group home for a while, which was actually not too bad. The housemothers were really nice, and I will never forget them. Then I bounced around to several different foster homes. Although I was not promiscuous, I was made to be on birth control just like they did to every girl in the system that had become of age. We had no choice over our own bodies. I was treated as a source of income, then had horrible lies told about me so that they could get rid of me and move on to the next child. I was raped at fifteen, and I still fear open doors at nighttime. Not every house was bad though, and I did make some friends. Then the time came when I was asked if I would return home, I said yes. But I was only allowed to come home if I went to church. While I was against being forced into yet another box they were trying to force me into, I agreed because it was better than what I had been going through in the system. After I graduated high school, I got married as a way of running away from home again. We ended up moving all the way to Texas. We fought all the time, and abuse was the norm. But it gave me my two little girls, who gave me new reason for life. I left my husband, and met Mike. We fell in love, and got pregnant with our first son. But it was too soon. I was far too damaged from the abuse to have a healthy relationship, and he wasn’t ready. So we separated and the girls, our unborn son, and I moved back to Indiana. We were homeless for a while, and depended solely on the kindness of family and dear friends, and a pair of complete strangers who I will never forget as long as I live. We finally got a house, and I gave birth to my beautiful oldest son. I got a job, and my first car. Things were difficult, but started to really look up for us. Eventually, Mike and I got back together and he moved in with us. Things were really hard for quite a while, but we were working on it. We got married, had another beautiful son, and moved into the home that we have now. It’s taken me quite a while, but I am learning more and more about who I am, and becoming the person I want to be. We are finally happy, truly happy. I’ve never had that before in my life. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, because I don’t know how to be happy, but I’m learning…


I tell you this long, horrible story so that you can see the hell I went through, and that life turned around for me. It can for you too. Whatever you’re going through or have been through, don’t let that hold you back. Don’t let that define you. Discover who you are, who you’re really meant to be. Be the strong individual you are and rise above it. It may be a long, scary, horrible road. But you can do it. My favorite saying is, “No mud, no lotus”. Even the lotus has to grow and push through the mud to finally reach the sunlight. Your suffering and unhappiness is just the mud, don’t get stuck in it… PUSH. Grow toward the light, and toward your happiness. You can do it.

In the model’s own words.

While I Was Away

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.