Who knew that a portrait photo session could be so cathartic? I find so many women have their own journeys with their bodies, and everyone’s story is different. But more often than not, we do not see ourselves how we truly are… how our loved ones see us. We don’t look at women we love and think they should have had a nose job or should have lost 10 lbs, right? We just look upon the woman we love. But when that’s flipped to be able to see YOURSELF that way, in beautiful light and posing, maybe some polished makeup and hair (but still looking like yourself), it is CATHARTIC.
These photos are of Sidra, who is also featured in my 40 over 40 Project for 2021, and she literally burst into tears when I showed her the back of my camera during her session. Many people shed the tears of joy when they see their final photos, but this was one of the rare, amazing sessions where it happened during the shoot. She was dazed and amazed that she actually is a stunning beauty and just A-OK. Yes, dear, you are A-OK and beyond.
Here’s a little Q&A I had with Sidra:
How did you celebrate turning 40 or 50? And how did that feel?
I don’t actually remember much from either of those birthdays, as I’m not one to celebrate my birthday. However, I am going to be 53 in a few days and I am going to celebrate with some close friends and food and music and dancing and showing off my photos.
How did you feel during your photo shoot?
I felt all sorts of things…nervous, excited, willing; uncomfortable because I’ve always thought I’m not photogenic and have avoided the camera. I also felt proud that I was doing something that was outside of my comfort zone.
What was your favorite thing about your photo shoot?
Just one thing? I loved changing clothes and jewelry; I loved having my make-up done in a style I wouldn’t normally do for myself. It was also fun getting to know Darina and feeling and experience the love and passion she has for this project and her work.
When did you feel like you belonged in your skin?
Yesterday? Sort of…when I turned 40, I felt more more comfortable being me than I had in my entire life. But, still I was plagued with insecurities and more subtle ways I had of not loving exactly who I am. Every year I grow more comfortable with myself and now I feel like I don’t have enough time left in this skin to waste it being harsh and critical of myself.