This post is probably one of the most personal things I’ve ever put out there on my blog. I’ll start by saying this was extremely difficult – probably even more difficult than I ever thought it would be, truthfully. I was never one for self-portraits… I have done a few, but they were definitely very infrequent. My preference is to be behind the lens, photographing everyone else, and making them feel fantastic.
A few months ago, by some random chance, I came across a US Photographer named Brooke Shaden. There was something about her work (and her words) that just grabbed me immediately. While I’ll admit that our work couldn’t possibly be more different, I was completely inspired by her passion for photography, and by her approach to it. It’s hard to put into words exactly, but her words really resonate with me. She puts 110% of herself into her work, and does it the way SHE wants to – which is completely not cookie-cutter. It was really so refreshing to see someone put themselves out there like that, regardless of the consequences. As artists we put our heart and souls into our work, and it can be very difficult to put that out there, for fear of rejection.
There was one particular blog post that inspired this one I’m writing right now…. it was about a project called “I AM ME” …. she wanted people to post a self-portrait of themselves, with three simple words at the end… “I am _____ “. It’s about self-discovery…. and becoming more comfortable in your own skin. Particularly as women, we often compare ourselves to traditional standards of beauty…. but who is to say what is beautiful and what is not. I’ll admit, yet again, that although I was so pumped to do this initially, once I looked at the images on my computer screen, I kind of freaked out a bit. And writing this is freaking me out a bit more… but I’m doing it anyway. Because I NEED to.
Here you have it…. “I AM STRONG”
I could get into a big explanation, but I think the words (and the photo) speak for themselves. It’s not perfect (nothing is), but it’s me ♥. I will say, though, that I am now feeling stronger in so many ways… not just physically.
A big thanks goes out to my awesome friend Tracy Waye Kelly for helping me out a ton with this shot… and to Brooke Shaden for inspiring me to do this in the first place. I am so not into being vulnerable and putting myself out there, but honestly I’m so glad I did this. I hope it inspires someone else to start (and share) their own personal journey.
“Perhaps I am stronger than I think” (Thomas Merton)