love & lifestyle photography

forgive me, i've lied to you; my motivation as a photographer

These fine details - a delicate wave of blonde hair, lush lashes, inspirational ink and feminine curves represent "real" women. They are mothers, sisters, friends, daughters, yoga instructors, scientists, nurses, educators, cancer fighters and lovers.
Backed by their courage, I'm going to take this opportunity to talk about my photographic process.  I love women's portrait sessions.  I especially love if they are showing some skin because we automatically share a bond.  I pour everything that is in me into my art and the more vulnerable sessions offer the same in return.  Sometimes this includes tears of revelation.  Those are my favortite!
I avoid the term "Boudoir" for it's inextricable connection to the bedroom.  I find it limiting because our beauty holds much more value than that!  I came up with the moniker "Beauty School", not knowing how it would prophetically title my own path.
I was about to get "schooled".
If you want to read more about my earlier ideas of photographing women, please refer to my personal essay published in Lemonade & Lenses HERE where I referenced raising a daughter with today's standards of beauty.  I had a lot to say.
Looking back to these words, however, I realize that I still had a lot to learn and I'm sure I have much more to take in. I flirted with and danced around the main idea.  I lied by omission but trust me when I say that the omission was in my heart.
I have been asked why I photograph.  I asked myself, searched my heart, came up with some lines that sounded like they were ripped from someone else's bio page.  Painfully trite lines like:

I want to tell your story
I want you to feel beautiful 

Truth is, I half felt the lines because they are half my truths.  I didn't mean to lie to you.  The whole truth has only come recently, inspired by Sue Bryce, a successful woman's portrait artist.  She was terrified to be in front of the lens for the first time in 24 years. (On a related note, have you noticed my lack of "selfies" in this space?) Sue shared her realization that you can't wait until you're perfect, younger or good enough. You're never going to be perfect, younger or good enough.  You're only ever going to grow older.  (Creative Live) You can read her experience in her own words HERE.
It has been liberating to find my truth via another woman's journey.  So liberating that I don't care how it is received, how many "likes" it gets on Facebook or how often it is shared.  This is my motivation:

I photograph a woman - in particular - to show her how beautiful she is. 
I mean, really beautiful, despite how she may feel. 
Because every time I convince a woman of her own beauty
I am that much closer to believing it in myself.

I guess I like to challenge people's self-perceptions, including my own.
Like any well-fit truth, this one seems so comfortably "me" that it's hard to believe it was so directly inspired by another person's journey.  But if I feel this way, and Sue - a mature, wildly successful New Zealand photographer - feels this way, I can't help but to wonder if a great deal more women are inspired by the pursuit of beauty?  Maybe they are photographers, maybe not. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson suggests we Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.  And there is nothing more beautiful than the truth.  In that regard, it need not be construed as a trivial or selfish pursuit but a noble one.
What is your motivation for what you do?  If you haven't got answers I encourage you to pursue them.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free - John 8:32.
Truth is liberating.
Please forgive me for lying to you!