Like many young girls growing up, I didn’t feel comfortable with myself. My hip bones stuck out through my denim skirts but I always felt “fat.” I’ve had stretch marks all over my body since I was very young. My ears would show through my thin hair and I would never dream of putting my hair up in a ponytail in public. I would spend hours flipping through magazines, comparing myself to different girls in the advertisements.
One day, I took a photography class and didn’t have models to photograph so I set the camera on a timer and photographed myself. I would try to position my legs in a way where they looked longer, my arms where they looked thinner, and fluff my hair up so you couldn’t see my ears. When I looked at the photos, I saw that in one shot, I turned out exactly how I wanted, and in the next, I looked exactly how I didn’t want to. In the first photo, I focused on my happy smile and in the second, I focused on how I turned my body in a “weird way.”
Somehow, that’s all it took for it to make sense. Photography, mindset and life are all about focus. Photography helped me see that if I focus on the negatives, I will hate the overall photo, but if I focus on the positives, the not-so-positives also become alright.
My ears are still the same size they always were. I still have all my stretch marks (or lightning-bolt tattoos as I now like to call them) and my waist and hips are bigger than when I thought I was “fat.” What changed? Instead of paying attention to my big ears, I give attention to my big, brown eyes and my larger-than-life laugh (seriously, once you hear me laugh, you can’t unhear it — it is LOUD). Now, I throw my thin hair up in a ponytail and get to work ... because ain’t nobody got precious time to waste on being overly critical of themselves.
This is why photography was the best kind of mirror for me; It showed me my reflection but also taught me to concentrate on the positives of not only myself, but everyone around me.
I will not photoshop anyone to look different. I would rather photograph you in a way where you see your real, natural beauty and you begin to celebrate it every day. It is my job to highlight your best features and to get rid of any insecurity you may have. Insecurities are real, and we ALL have them (even the bossiest of the boss babes), but you know what else we have? Something great in all of us. I promise that once you start celebrating the things that you love about yourself, you will see that the things you worried about before will lose their power. And you will even start to see these ‘negatives’ turn into positives as well.
So to quote Alessia Cara, “Let me be your mirror. Help you see a little bit clearer the light that shines within.”