Grace in women has more effect than beauty. ~William Hazlitt
I often tell the women I photograph, and they are usually surprised by it, that how a woman holds her hands and fingers gives quite the insight to a woman’s beauty. They usually say ‘these are just my hands’ and go on about how they, like the rest of them, are nothing special. It’s a simple thing but it seems to be present in every woman I’ve photographed in some way, and you can definitely see it here. Over the weekend in fact I saw that same grace in a young girl that I photographed as well.
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 client’s own words:
Today, a man stared at me while breastfeeding.
My baby and boob were covered. At 8 months to be covered without so much as a flailing arm is a rarity.
Nevertheless the staring man confidentially said, while never breaking his stare, he confidentially said; “Breastfeeding and c-sections are disgusting. Such a pity for a beautiful woman to willingly destroy her body.” He continued to go on about how hideous both breast and scared tummies are.
I debated posting this, but I think a lot of times we see things on social media and casually think this isn’t an issue close to home, because we’ve not experienced it firsthand.
I was told it would be hard to find a man to love me, because my body was wrecked after I found myself a single mom at seventeen.
This is life.
My body has carried three beautiful babies.
Do not let selfish men or a backward world tell you that the process and proof of life is not beautiful.
We are not meant to be ageless and without cracks.”You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”-Song of Solomon 4:7
There’s been a real movement recently to ‘embrace’ who you are, and that may come from a gradual acceptance, or one decision to do so.
This is a story about one of those decisions.This particular client made such a decision – to have breast reduction surgery.Because, I feel, ‘embracing’ who you are doesn’t have to be about settling for what you have, it’s about being empowered to take charge. To understand that there are risks and consequences for making the decision and for following through with it. And being prepared to live with the consequences.I was not aware that this particular model had reduction surgery until we spoke of it during the session, and she told me that she didn’t really felt like she ‘embraced’ her body – I’d add that she did empower herself to make her own decision, and has since accepted the scars that came as a result of it. “And I would do it again,” she added. “Best decision I ever made for myself.”
“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.”
From the time they are little – girls and then women are told what they need to put ON to be beautiful. What kind of clothes to wear (Oh don’t you look good in that), what kind of makeup (That color lipstick suits you). It’s really not about ‘fashion’ or ‘society’ per se. It’s not about conforming to a beauty standard, whether it be realistic or not. It’s that we have grown to think something needs to be added at all. Something is required to enhance.
I’m here to (literally) strip all of that away. Women are beautiful on their own.