Let’s Start A Revolution!

“Ugh…. I haaaaaate this picture of me!”

“O my gosh I look awful!”

“I’m soooo not photogenic!”

 

We’ve all heard it (or something along those lines). I’d be willing to bet we’ve all said it at some point or another. If it’s not 100% perfect, or completely airbrushed, we say it’s not good. We verbally beat ourselves down by beating down the image. It has become an epidemic…. And I’m tired of it. Y’all, we need to quit beating ourselves up! We need to quit fixating on the flaws. We need to quit tossing out decent or good photos because of the tiny things that we dislike.

Sure, let’s be real honest here. Not every photo you take is going to be the most flattering. Not every day is going to be your best hair day. Some clothing or make-up choices may need to simply be let go into the fog of memory rather than immortalized in an image. A bad photo is a bad photo, and that’s ok.

But that doesn’t mean we need to focus solely on the negative in what really are decent (or even good) photos. Just like anything else in life… We can always choose what we focus on. We can choose to see the positive. The pretty. The handsome. We can choose to not give the blemish, the tummy bulge or the gray hairs the power to pull us in. Let’s not let the decent photos be deemed bad because we can’t see past the few things we don’t like. For example:

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This is a fairly good photo, but I admit I instantly focused on the fine lines around my eyes and the bags underneath them. Then I took a second to realize that I love the way my hair looked that day. I’ve got a genuine smile, and how can any photo be bad with that sweet baby girl in it?!?!

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Again, not terrible, but all I could see at first is my ear sticking out of my hair like I’m some sort of elf. Also not a fan of my very sad lack of a tan… I need some sunshine in my life! But I’ve decided to focus on how my cheekbones look good and my earrings look cute.

Like I said.. I’m as guilty as the next person of having photos of myself that I (irrationally) don’t like. Photos where all I can see right off the bat are the things I think aren’t flattering. I’m still guilty because I know I’ve got worse photos of myself that I could have chosen for today’s post. But I’m making the decision that when I have that initial negative reaction like those at the beginning of this post, I’m going to try my best to flip it on it’s head. I’m going to find at least one thing in the photo I do like. I’m not talking about great light, or a great background, or perfect exposure or any other photographic skills. I’m talking about me. I’m going to find something about me that I like in the photo.

 

I’m not going to do this occasionally, or only when I have to do it publicly.

I’m challenging myself to do it every time. With every photo.

And I’m challenging you to do the same. 

The next time you take a photo, if it’s one you’d toss or you start to focus on the negative, I challenge you to put it out there and say what you decided to focus on liking instead. Let’s start a revolution of photo love. Starting loving your photos, and it will keep you loving yourself.

 

Use the #PhotoLoveRevolution hashtag on Instagram and Twitter so I can see the beauty you’re finding in yourself, and challenge your friends and family to do the same. Let’s work together to stop feeling like the only good photo is a “perfect” photo. Who knows, we really could start a revolution…

 

 

Share this with friends and family, especially the women in your life, and encourage them to join in the #PhotoLoveRevolution!! 

 

The Militant Baker – And a Challenge

Yesterday I spent my lunch break listening to Jes “Militant” Baker address body image and challenging people to quit changing their bodies and start changing their world. GREAT way to spend my lunch hour!

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Photo by Liora K Photography

The self-proclaimed “blogger, baker and bad-ass hell raiser” has become well known for her unapologetic opposition to society’s definition of beautiful. Her bold move to speak out against Abercrombie & Fitch has garnered a lot of attention. And it was brilliant.

Hearing her speak in person was wonderful. She’s open, friendly, and just totally herself. From the random 3 second silent dance breaks as she prepared her next thoughts, to the thoughtful way she knelt down to get on the same level as the person whose question she was answering, she put the audience at ease while also making us uncomfortable by blatantly talking about what we’ve been taught to not talk about. She shared personal parts of her story – including sobbing over her computer keyboard – and made me feel even more strongly about the desire I have to encourage people to love who they are – and how they look – and embrace that in photographs.

Obviously, as a photographer I responded to the way she has garnered the strength and power that photographs can convey. I also wanted to stand up and shout “Amen! Hallelujah!! Preach!!!” when she displayed side-by-side images of original photos and the photoshopped versions that the media actually presents. Images of beautiful people – including Jessica Alba and George Clooney – who need no retouching, but all of a sudden have no wrinkles (or waistline for that matter). It just breaks my heart to know that people, and young girls in particular, are expecting to look like those “after” photos. I seriously hope that in some way I can instill in my own daughter confidence and appreciation of her own body as she grows up.

I would absolutely love to live in a world where no one puts off family portraits until they’ve lost those 10lbs. Where the Christmas card photo has the whole family, and not just the kids because mom hasn’t been able to pay to get her hair colored. Where the woman sees her laugh lines in her portraits and smiles thinking about how they got there, rather than wishing they would have been “touched up”. Where the man sees the scar in his portrait and feels empowered because it represents his strength and all he has been through. Where the little girl never sees the day when she looks in the mirror and starts picking herself apart rather than marveling at the wonder that is her body.

I’ve mentioned this before, and I’m sure I will again. I, as a photographer and as a woman, choose to not do heavy retouching on the images I take. I choose to celebrate the so-called imperfections that make me “me”. I challenge myself to re-focus my frame of mind when it comes to body image.

Thank you, Jes, for challenging society to cut the crap and get real about our bodies and the expectations we have of ourselves and others. And thanks for being kind enough to chat after your presentation and take a picture with me! (Please excuse the terrible quality phone shot.)

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Jes challenged all of us to think of some sort of tagline/mantra that represents positive self-thoughts. If we couldn’t think of a tagline, we needed to think of one thing we like about our bodies. She challenged us to then say them out loud and share them with the room. I didn’t step up to the plate in that room, but I’m going to do it now.

I love that my body was able to create the miracle that is my daughter. And I like my eyes.

Now it’s your turn! Take that first step to re-framing your mindset on body image, and focus on loving yourself. What’s your tagline/mantra/thing you love about yourself? Share it in the comments, and start living boldly and loving who you are.