There has been quite a bit of conversation around shame on the internet recently. Perhaps I am seeing it more than most as I am currently reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. She speaks about shame and how it holds us back on a societal level as well as an individual level. All this got me thinking about just how very central the issue of shame is to empowerment and transforming oneself. To be truly empowered you cannot be filled with shame. It is the thing that will hold you back from being the best version of yourself. There is so much shame we carry on our shoulders without even thinking about it.
My recent Death Moth themed shoot day was inspired by my studio move, yet it obviously became so much more when the beauties I photographed got involved.
Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about the transformative process since and just how relevant that concept is to every single portrait session I do and what we can all take away from it. Yes, during a photo session you are transformed physically, especially when hair and makeup styling is involved. We add glitter, beautiful colours etc. But it is so much more than that.
As women, we generally carry more than our fair share of shame and it clearly holds us back. It holds us back from being the most amazing version of ourselves in whatever capacity we choose as well as holding us back in society. Women are taught such contradicting messages all the time, but we are constantly told via mass media imagery to shrink. Don’t take up too much space, don’t be too loud, don’t dress too bright, or sexy, but don’t look too unsexy either and fuck you better smile!
By daring to step in front of the camera, you are choosing to leave shame at the door. By taking this step we are shedding shame about our weight, size, age and imperfections. We are claiming space to exist as we choose to present ourselves – our flamboyant selves, the part of us that doesn’t get to shine on a daily basis. We realise that there are many ways we can be visible, to speak out and we slowly and surely shed those layers of shame and instead of shrinking we are able to expand.
So when I speak of the transformation that occurs during a photo session, I speak on the deepest level. I want you to claim that space, expand, shed the shame, shine on in your brilliance. And of course there are countless ways you can do this in your life, but a photo shoot is one of the most amazingly fun ways to shed that shame and be reunited with your magic, she that you may be further empowered. Come forth queens and conquer!