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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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…
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.
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.”