As a follow up to the Beautiful Women photo shoot, my friend Kim Layton, and participant of the shoot started a conversation about beauty. There are a few guest posts up on her blog HERE. Below is my guest post. I really believe in the story behind the women in the pictures, and I am so grateful to Kim for highlighting those stories.
I had this idea a while back about how I don’t have the same type of pictures that I have of my Grandma, Mom, and Nana. There is the cutest shot of my Grandma in some sort of uniform almost and she is adorable and probably about my age or just barely younger. And my Nana around my age sits in a frame at my Mom’s house looking stunning with wind in her hair wearing a cute frock on a balcony. There are fewer yet of my Mom like this, but one of her dressed to go for a formal night out with my Dad with her hair blonde as ever and this classy art deco pin, captures me.
I want to have pictures that when my children and grandchildren look at, they can see who I was at that moment. What I viewed as my best in those years. I had a photo shoot by a friend this past year where she focused on the shots I couldn’t get of myself as a photographer. There is one of me laughing, my real laugh! Not my camera less scrunchie one, but my crinkle nose, lifted shoulders laugh. I have to tell you that typically I do not think that this would be my ‘best’ moment, but this shot was! It captured me as I think my kids will remember me and it’s beautiful!
So started the planning of location etc. I would lay awake at night planning out shots that might achieve a great look and once I had the project under way and faces to attach to the shots my mind went wild! I just had SO many ideas for each of these women and who they were from what I could see. I had to narrow down to a few ideas for each, but I hope that I captured a small essence of each one of them.
I had so much fun with each of the women. Finding their comfort and strengths. It was a beautiful day! We laughed and danced and giggled. I was sure that wonderful things were in the works. I looked through my view finder, and saw gorgeous images and shapes and smiles.
Once I had posted the sneak peeks, my outlook changed slightly. On my screen there was nothing but individual beauty that needed no comparison. But as I heard of these women’s concerns and self-criticisms, I realized that this went so much deeper then I originally thought. I was so overwhelmed that week by what spiritual beauty these women have. It wasn’t just their physical attributes that were striking to me, but their triumph in life, their struggles and their grace in all those things. I was compelled to let them each know. The tears came pouring out of me as I wrote a note to each of them about how amazing just little me could tell they were.
This was truly a humbling experience as I also heard my own self talk that week and realized that I was telling myself some of the same lies that these women were telling themselves.
I know not everyone is based in my faith. However I know us all to be Daughter’s of Heavenly Father regardless. I have never felt that stronger then this last week or two. My heart ached for the misconceptions of beauty that we all have. I have also felt so incredibly hopeful about these pictures at some point making a difference to that. I know that some of the images will not be immediate ‘love’, but in years to come they will be the pictures that tell a bit of the story that makes up our complicated selves. They will freeze in time a moment of beauty that is both exceptional and real. When I look at the images I see kindness in eyes, happiness in smile lines, strength in a still moment, and fearlessness in the whole experience.
Beauty is something that goes to our cores. We can choose to see what is already there. Ugly is not something that resides with any of these women. And lucky for each of us it oozes out of our being whether we recognize it or not. You are each beautiful. Never forget that you are worthy of that title. The way you serve, take in life and live it, will always hold true.
Be beautiful, because you are!