This post is the result of another photoshoot included in the photography project The Beauty in You. In this project I have purposed myself to photograph a group of different women, some of whom I knew personally, some of whom I only got to know when we actually did the photoshoot. The aim of this series of shoots is to give the women who are taking part another vision over themselves. I wanted to show them their beauty, through somebody else's eyes. Seeing yourself under a different light is empowering. It breaks free some barriers regarding your own image of yourself, it opens doors to not only accept who you are, but also to accept that you can be a lot more than you sometimes give yourself credit for. It's realising you don't need to stick to one safe version of who you are, if you don't want to.
And because these photo sessions are all about being who you are I didn't condition how the participants would present themselves for them. My only instructions were for them to either wear something that felt like themselves but that it also made them feel beautiful. Or to wear/try something they haven't done before. To be brave and see themselves in a way they haven't done so far.
I carried this project out because so many women mentioned insecurities about themselves. The women in this project are all so different from each other, and yet, there's one thing they all seemed to share: they wanted to challenge themselves. Step outside their comfort zones. Do something they hadn't done before or do it in a way that felt new and challenging for them. What I hope for these photoshoots is that the women taken part felt both empowered and pleasantly surprised when they saw their images.
I didn't know Rebekah before this shoot, but I was very curious to know her. She sounded so enthusiastic and open minded about the project. In one of our first chats, when we were arranging the shoot, she wrote this to me. I'm using her own words, with her permission, as I couldn't have put it more clearly myself: ' I'm a big girl and don't exactly dress normal (apparently) but people call me brave which I think is silly, so I'd love photos that show that being a big person with no bra is still allowed out in public and can be happy. Something u wish I'd known when I was younger before I stopped caring what anyone else thought lol. ''.
Now, for me beauty has nothing to do with size, age or shape, That's conventionally, publicity sold beauty, that tries to determine there is a right shape/size/age/style to be. These concepts have changed over the centuries so many times, that we should know by now, they are no guidelines to put ourselves against. And yet, it is true many of us spend years trying to comply with a given beauty standard, comparing ourselves over and over again and yet feeling that we're constantly failing. It takes years, sometimes decades, to realise that the ultimate beauty lays in being your unique self. So receiving this text from Rebekah was so refreshing.
On the other hand I've always had my own style and ongoing fashions have little or no impact on me. For me dressing is yet another way to express my creativity and as such, I need nobody to determine what's fashionable and not fashionable nowadays. My clothes are dictated by creativity, comfort and the need to dress something that somehow I identify myself with. So I was curious about photographing someone who seemed to share a similar spirit.
It only took one look at Rebekah to predict that would be a great shoot. With a warm smile that you could see from metres away, beautifully expressive eyes and an energy that made me instantly feel at home, I knew I had an amazing couple of hours ahead of me.
And I was not mistaken. Everything seemed to fall into place this day. Her make up, clothes and jewellery were all part of a beautiful composition and they suited her perfectly. Rebekah's spirit shined through in each photo, her body language seemed to somehow adjust to the locations I gave her naturally, and even when I gave her some direction she seemed to have a natural sense to make the necessary adjustments for the pose to work just perfectly for her.
Rebekah was so easy to work with and her joy of just being outdoors in contact with nature was absolutely contagious. She is also a gorgeous young lady, full of creativity and the whole process was a pleasure from start to finish.
I had a hard time choosing photos because in all honesty, I loved the majority of them, but these are, at last, the chosen ones. I think you'll agree with me there was something truly special in this shoot but above all, I hope Rebekah loves these photos as much as I do!