I ‘ve been meaning to write this post for the past month. The problem is its deep. Where to start? Where to end?
A few weeks ago I was at the car wash. I was sitting outside reading a book waiting. I felt eyes on me, when I discovered who it was, it was a 7-year-old girl. Her mom was on the phone, and her little girl couldn’t get her eyes off me. It was as if she was fascinated I was reading a book. When I looked in to her eyes, I began to wish I could tell her, “You are beautiful and smart. You can do anything you dream of if you work hard, read books and never stop learning!”
I smiled at her and saw two different movies of her life pass before me. One with her knowing her value, and the other believing the lies girls grow up with. Most misunderstand their feminine power, and use their beauty for manipulation. Seeking significance in wrong places.
For thanksgiving, I visited my boyfriend side of the family. He has two young nieces. The moment they saw me they wanted to pull me into their world. The first thing I noticed was they demanded my eye contact. They wanted to look in my eyes and be heard. What a difference from my two nephews who wish I would leave them alone. My boyfriend asked me what I thought about his two nieces. When we were talking about how different girls are from boys, I began to wish I could tell them, “You are beautiful and smart. You can do anything you dream of if you work hard, read books and never stop learning!”
The third time I wished this, was when my friend was telling me a story about this 19-year-old girl who recently broke up with her boyfriend. They told me how hurt she was and the trouble she was getting herself in to. I realized our stories were similar, at age 19, I had forgotten my value too. It was then did I make a decision I would find my worth in the Father.
The moment I turned over my broken mirror to Him, my image was forever changed. Only then did I believe, “I am beautiful and smart. I can do anything I dream of if I work hard, read books and never stop learning!”
My hope is that my wish will be her reality and finds her beauty in the One who created her.
When I first started to do these creative photoshoots, I would ask young girls who I had seen at church or some of my friend’s daughters to be my models so I could practice portrait photography, children photography, and fashion.
I heard back from the parents of these young girls and the impact the photos had on them. It was like these girls were seeing themselves as beautiful for the first time. Through out their life, they’ve seen printed media and movies stars as gorgeous. But never given the opportunity to really see how gorgeous they are. When I had parents come tell me that, I was encourage that my photography had a life of it’s own. A bigger impact then I knew.
Here I was concerned about getting practice but they were having an experience that made them feel beautiful. They were finally able to see the end results of their smile or their best side. And with that in mind I knew in the future, I wanted to use that power that photography has for the good.
When I was editing Pam Espinosa’s testimony about her battle with Breast Cancer, I was moved when she talked about her appearance impacting how she was feeling inside. She rarely talked about the physical pain she was going through because of the surgery. It was as if the emotional pain of seeing herself in the mirror when she wasn’t at her best was having an impact on her life. It wasn’t until she overcame that, that healing began to happen in her life.
When I heard her story, I imagined..(I like to call them a, “God day dream”), I imagined doing a free photo shoot with make-up, and hair done for women who had been through cancer or who are going through cancer and looking at the reaction on their face, having their true beauty shine for that afternoon. To just forget about whatever they are going through, to come and to enjoy being pretty again.
And so with one text to another text, I began to gather the creative troops; my friend Roni who does my hair and another friend Vero who does make-up and hair. And I asked them if they would be interested in donating their time to come along side me and be apart of this project with the girls. I had asked Pam if she could invite some of her friends and some of the girls she knew who were going through a difficult time or had been in the past.
I imagined it in this garden. But the garden is owned by someone who is very important in the community and in my life. I had been fortunate enough to been at her house a few times. She even offered to let me use the garden whenever I needed to. That was all cool in theory but really asking her I was a bit scared. I figured why not ask, its okay if there is a “no”, there is always another location. And to my surprise and yet not surprise, she said yes I would be able to use her garden for the afternoon.
This Thursday, I am hosting what I am calling, “She is Fearless Photoshoot.” Having an afternoon to take part in these women’s lives, to give them back what is really there: their beauty, their strength, and their courage. I am so excited to be able to host them. To give them an afternoon of just forgetting about all the drama in their life but just to enjoy the shoot. I am excited to see the results.
This weekend look out for a post of the girls, the behind the scenes and their photoshoot. I am going to rent a very expensive lens because they deserve it, everyone deserves a 85mm lens for their face.
Today I went with my family to go see Soul Surfer at the theaters. I love how honest they kept the story. Though some of the acting was B rated, I thought the main actress was amazing. She had a smile that brighten up the room. It was interesting how the movie wasnt about the shark or about losing her arm but was about this young girl’s faith in God and how she over came the impossible. The movie left me inspired to never give up and to be thankful for what God is doing in my life.
I’m really excited that films are being made where anyone no matter what they believe in, can watch and be inspired. The editing was amazing, the cinematography was beautiful, and special effects were so clean. My dream to be apart of films that are of good quality and share the heart of God, is closer than ever before. After the film I could hear everyone talking about the movie and how much they enjoyed it. There were these young girls in the restroom talking about Bethany’s strength. The ride home with my mom, aunt and cousin was about how we have no reason to give up when we face hard times in life, they only make us stronger.
I’m not much a movie review person, but this movie had what people are looking for. Hope.
The past few days I’ve been watching CreativeLive with professional photographer, Bambi. This woman is amazing at posing people and lighting her subjects. I was so excited with all advice she had given during the three day on-line course that I set up two photo shoots. You can buy Bambi’s course online at Creativelive.com.
I asked Julia to be my first model. As I began to direct her and pose her, I was astonished at the photos I was capturing. I kept looking at my shots asking myself, “Did I takes these?” It was amazing the dramatic difference in my confidences and language in directing a model. I finally knew what to do and how to say it!
The second photo shoot I kinda tricked in to happening. I was filming Erica sing a song for a special project her and I are working on and after the filming, I told her I was going to snap a few photos. She began to tell me she was horrible at taking pictures. I first tried to pose her but soon noticed she wasn’t feeling comfortable, so as Bambi would suggest, I took photos of the subject in an environment they were familiar with. I asked her to play her guitar and it was then that I was able to get some really nice shots of Erica.
From these series of photos you wouldn’t be able to guess that this week has been a very hard week for me. I guess this just shows the power of God’s joy in my life. He renewed my dream and therefore my heart can smile.