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  • Writer's pictureMara Cabral

The beauty of stepping out of your comfort zone

The project The Beauty in You is about empowering women through portrait photography, Based in Llanelli, in both outdoors and photography studio locations, its first idea was to help different women celebrate their own natural beauty and to express themselves in front of the camera. Each woman asked The Wind and the Sun Photography to take part in this project for different reasons and each one of them had diverse things they wished to explore through this project.

There are a few family and children photographers in Llanelli (and I take a lot of pride on being one of them) but it's not so easy to find professional studios that also specialise in working with adults on their own. I am particularly happy to have developed this project because I feel that it helped some people who are not normally in front of a camera to step out of their comfort zones and do something totally new. Feminine beauty is a funny thing (well, the idea of beauty in general, but as this project concentrates on women....) Most of us adults spend some time taking care of how we look (to a greater or lesser extent) and try to look presentable for the world, but the more we step into adulthood, the less we seem to take time to look back on us. To please ourselves. To spoil ourselves a little bit and, even for a moment, celebrate who we are and how we look in this particular stage in our lives. We make sure we are properly dressed to face the world, and yet often hardly glance in the mirror to actually look at ourselves. When you put yourself in front of a camera, you have to look back on you. You have, at the end of the day, to be confronted with your own beauty and too many of us fear doing that.

I was really happy when Claire volunteered to take part in this project and even more when she told me she would like to explore a part of herself she wouldn't normally explore, at least not in front of a camera: Claire asked me to do some photos in which she was able to explore her sexy side. The thing is, we all have something naturally sexy to us, but only few of us feel brave enough to explore that side and I think it's a wonderful thing when we finally open the doors to doing so.

I've known Claire for a few years now. Claire is a beautiful, striking woman, mother to 3 wonderful girls. She's tall and elegant and tasteful and will make heads turn by walking into a room. She's strong and witty and so easy to socialise with. By looking at her, one could assume she's absolutely confident about who she is and how she looks. But when she came to the studio, she was nervous about the session as most of us would be. But she was also excited and open minded and ready to open doors. She told me she didn't particularly liked her face on photos and didn't really do posing. And yet all you can see in these photos is a face that has nothing not to be liked about, all the opposite.

I felt really honoured when Claire told me she trusted me enough to take this step and try something totally new for her. And I could have burst with pride for her by the way she took the session. She grew from expecting some directions to totally posing herself towards the end of the session. Claire brought with her ideas she wanted to explore and we exchanged ideas back and forth both previous to the session and during the session. And by the end of this session, I felt I knew Claire a tiny bit better. It was a truly lovely moment to share and it was beautiful to see her confidence growing throughout the session. I knew Claire as a devoted mother who would do anything for her children. In this session Claire showed that yes, she is a wonderful mum, but she is also a beautiful, attractive woman, willing to step into different roles, capable of challenging her own limits and allow herself to always fly a little bit higher.

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