April 11, 2019
As a portrait artist, my eyes are trained to find the beauty in anyone in front of my lens. But as woman, I understand how difficult it can be to recognize that beauty in ourselves.
Women are so often made to feel insecure. We’re constantly compared, scrutinized, and surrounded by unrealistic media depictions. We’re bombarded with ads and articles about what’s wrong with us and how to “fix” it. We’re even taught to nitpick each other. Everyday, everywhere from the radio to Instagram, we see women finding “flaws” in each other and discussing them for sport. It’s no wonder that we turn that negative, critical eye on ourselves too.
But being a photographer of women’s portraiture has given me a unique opportunity to step outside that mode of thinking. When someone stands in front of my lens, my job as a portrait artist isn’t to dissect her into parts and flaws. No matter the shape or size, the age, or how that person looks to others, my job is to see the way that all those parts fit perfectly together. To find a way to see you as a whole, beautiful human being, and to reflect that view in my portraits.
It’s all of the above that’s given me such a deep appreciation for women’s photography. Retraining myself to think positively about the women in front of my lens, to always find the best in them, has transformed the way I look at myself and the women around me too. Just as rewarding, it’s allowed me to teach other women how to do the same.
From beginning to end, my goal with every portrait experience is to make the women I photograph forget all the anxieties, the supposed imperfections, or how they think they look to the rest of the world. The magic happens when they start to relax in front of the lens. When the real smiles start to show. When they stop worrying about how they look, or how they would rather look. That’s when I can capture them at their best and most beautiful—which is to say, as they truly are.
Then there’s my favorite part: the reveal, when I watch a woman’s eyes light up in surprise as they finally recognize their own beauty. Knowing how much time we spend criticizing ourselves, there’s nothing like listening to these women as they see their portraits and talk about themselves with confidence, and positivity, and self-assurance.
Making that happen is indescribably rewarding. It doesn’t matter how we look to other people or what stage of our lives we’re in: from teenage years, to maternity and motherhood, to older women rediscovering who they are after kids have left the house, and every stage and variation of life between.
Every woman deserves to feel amazing just as they are—and every woman has the ability to do so. As a portrait artist, there’s nothing more rewarding than proving that to you.