back in july, my friend tracey clark
shot these photos of me. at the time, i was about 31 weeks pregnant and just starting to really truly sink into my pregnancy. we were gathered with some friends on the oregon coast and my memories of taking these photos with her are so sweet and tender. tracey is a dear friend but also a seriously talented photographer, founder of shutter sisters
(one of my daily reads), and author/editor of the recently released, Expressive Photography
. the girl has got it going on. i love witnessing when passion and talent collide. that’s what it’s like to watch her inside her gift and talent – getting giddy about natural light, excited about shooting possibilities, and endlessly learning her craft. so inspiring
when she recently sent over a bunch of photos from our shoot together, i was reminded of an old blog post i wrote in 2008 just after meeting tracey and being photographed by her (and a couple other photographers who were at our gathering too) for the first time. i revisited that post and wanted to share part of it again today because i can’t express it better than i did then – how it feels to be photographed and how the gift of photography (and photographers) really does transform. i love, love love these images. tracey has captured a once in a lifetime experience for me that i know i’ll look back on with such love and hope (deep and wide).
below are a few of my favorite photos that tracey took along with a few excerpts from that old blog post:
like so many other women, i’ve struggled with how i look. my hair is too thin. my skin is splotchy. my arms are too flabby. you know how it goes. we live in a world where women seem to undermine their beauty over and over again with comments about their weight and their bodies. i’m not immune to harmful self judgement – it’s taken me many years to find my own peace about my physical skin.
somewhere along the line i began to find a brighter version of my body : the gap between my two front teeth didn’t seem so bad afterall. my booty wasn’t so blah afterall. wow, my spirit is housed in this body. and it’s healthy – even with all the self perceived flaws. it’s all still me, it’s more than enough, and i’m grateful. of course, some days are better than others, but the general acceptance of my body has been a major blessing of one long struggle overcome.
and then i went to the lovebomb retreat
where i was really seen. seen not just as a girl who paints, but for all that i am (bigger than my creative self) and who i’m becoming. seen for all of my potential and possibilities. for all the love, friendship, and capacity for connection that i hold. for the first time in my life, i saw myself being mirrored back to me in ways that undoubtedly changed everything about my life. during those few days, the photogs of the group seemed to capture the shift that was occurring for many of us. while all that inner work was happening on the inside, they were capturing the essence of it from the outside with photos likethis
it was the first time i fully realized that photographers capture us how they actually see us and sometimes how they see us is a gift of even more sight into how we see ourselves. oh, that’s me? do you really see me this way? how did you capture how i was feeling so perfectly? they capture the essence of our spirits, what we’re going through, where we are in our lives.
quite honestly, it’s a talent that blows me away. and it’s a remarkable gift to give someone – an image of their face, their brightness seen through the eyes of a person who really sees them, not just in physical form, but in spirit, too. that gift of sight is HUGE for those of us who struggle with visioning ourselves of how we’re actually seen.
so yes, i want to say to all of you: go get your photos taken! give yourself the gift of a talented soul capturing you just as you are: beautiful and wild and whole and unique. if you’re like me, then you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it long ago. you’ll find yourself in images that translate to how you feel on the inside and it will help you feel more like yourself, both in physical and spiritual form. who knew this was the magic and gift of talented photographers? i love it.
thank you, tracey. these images of my first pregnancy, of my belly growing, of me growing, of my life expanding, of true love being born are images that will stay with me always. i am so seriously grateful.
edited to add: many of you are asking where the earrings and necklace i’m wearing in these photographs came from. earrings came from sacred cake
and the necklace came from nest pretty things
– two of my favorite shops ever.