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.

When you are born to help others

“Don’t forget to pause and nourish yourself a bit along the way. When you’re born to help others sometimes you forget to help yourself.”
― Paula Heller Garland

Sometimes that pause to nourish is so, difficult to take. Women are born to give, after all.

They do bring life into the world, after all.

Their nurturing traits are part of their DNA.

And for those who help others professionally, ‘physician heal thyself’ can be harsh words to hear.

Much love to my anonymous model, a professional helper of people and mother, and nurturer.

My Whole World

Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people’s.
-Anais Nin

Thanks to the beautiful new mom Alyssa for making two trips to the studio to make this profound statement on the beauty of motherhood possible.

Taking Charge

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.”

Because of This Day

On December 7th, 2014. My life changed. I relearned who I was, and I become someone I never knew. img_0183wIt 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.img_0188wBecause 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.

  • In the model’s own words.

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.”

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.

At Peace

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.


Fine Art Award

Extremely honored to be named a winner this week by the “Association of International Boudoir Photographers in the ‘Fine Art’ category.


Here’s what the judge said: “It was a really hard decision to pick between two artists, I had to think further about what fine art means to me. Its meaningfulness and the ability to communicate beyond an images beauty. Therefore I choose Cliff Ingram, for showcasing firstly the beauty of a woman’s body but also that we all come with scars and that we should not hide them.”

The scars under each breast are from a titanium rod put in place when she was nine when her sternum was reconstructed. She says they are a part of her and she really doesn’t think about them much.