I believe that I have the skills, the ability, and the chance to make a difference. Maybe not a HUGE difference, maybe not something that will change the world. But I believe that I can make a difference to ONE person. And, really, that's all it takes. Because then that person will go on and make a difference for someone else....and so on, therefore creating a domino effect.
When I started my Photography journey, I didn't know what I wanted to do. No, scratch that....I had an IDEA of what I wanted to do. I wanted to shoot Boudoir. That was it. I tried the newborn/baby thing....loved the cuddling, couldn't get into all that goes in to it. I tried children....decided that, while I adore them, it's enough work chasing my own around that I didn't really want to chase everyone else's, too. Those niche's didn't make my heart sing....they didn't leave me walking away with a giant smile on my face after all was said and done. I knew I had to find what it was that made me tick. I already knew my love of Tattoos, and Urban Spaces, and Graffiti would be a big part of what makes my artistic side tick....but I knew that there had to be something in there that involved people, too.
When I shot my first Boudoir session....I fell in love. I fell in love with EVERY aspect of it. But the part that touched me the most.....was that I was showing these women how beautiful they are. I was allowing them to see that they are MORE than a Mom, a Wife, a Friend....they are BEAUTIFUL.
The first thing I tell women when they tell me how nervous they are is: "You sit back, have fun, and let me show YOU how awesome you are". And I take that "job" very seriously. To me, it's so much more than a job. It's the way I make a difference in someone's life.
With the new year approaching, I knew I could do better. I knew I could do so much more. I want to go beyond these beautiful women. I'm planning on extending into Men, too. Men struggle just as much as women do....maybe even a *little* bit more. Because they've been told that Men don't "feel" that way. But, you know what....their self-image can be just as negative as any woman's. I believe that every person should feel their best. I don't care if you're a Woman, a Man, or a Giant Blue Hippopotamus! You've only got one you.....it should be the best one possible. So, Men......your voices aren't ignored.
But, again, I knew there was another road for me, too. This one presented itself about 3 months ago. I was talking with a fellow Mom friend of mine about the struggles our kids face. She happens to have one at the very awkward age of 13, and the things she was saying made me realize how difficult it is to be a teenager. Sure, it was difficult for me growing up....I didn't fit in, no matter how desperately I wanted to. Oh LORD could I tell you some horribly embarrassing stories of my awkward youth (that, thankfully I can now look back on with laughter!)....but, they seem like child's play to some of the issues Teens and Tweens face today. The biggest issue?? Rampant Technology. You either have technology, or you don't. And if you don't, you're teased and don't fit in. If you do, then you face a whole new world of temptation and problems. I've found that it's not good enough to be happy....you now have to be "depressed" to fit in. It's not about being tall and skinny anymore, it's about who's developing the fastest. About the only thing I could find that was similar to when I was a teen, was that clothes and shoes still matter!
It really hurt me to hear that this woman's daughter, and her friends, feel that they have to be "depressed" to fit in. As a person who has lost a dear friend to suicide, that didn't sit well with me at all. I immediately wanted to do something. I felt the same pull I felt when I knew that Women and Men were who I wanted to shoot.
So I went into action. I talked to an amazing friend of mine, who also happens to be an AMAZING Photographer (perhaps you know her?? Caitlin of Photography by Caitlin Domanico), and her first words were: Let's Do This. We created the Dream Team....Debs + Caits + Rajna (my equally as amazing Hair and Makeup Lady!).
I grabbed a BEAUTIFUL young teen, and told her to pop in on my Blitz day, so that I could take her pictures (not in Blitz fashion, though!!!). And magic happened. She lit up....she smiled, she giggled, she had a good time...and her mother stood back with a big smile on her face as she watched her beautiful daughter FEEL beautiful. I may not have totally changed her self-image.....but I did make her feel great, if even for that one day. And I don't think that's a feeling any of us will forget any time soon.
Caits and I knew we were doing the right thing. We started brainstorming over every form of communication we could think of....Facebook messages, emails, text messages and Starbucks dates (with her littlest Daughter adding in her 2 cents, of course!). And the "A-List" was born. We pulled some more girls that we knew, talked to their mothers and set up a morning of promo shooting. These girls all shine on a normal basis, but they shined even brighter that day! I can't WAIT to show them their pictures, and I can't wait to share them with all of you, too.
So....in 2015, I'm working on making a difference with those who matter most....People. Young and Young at Heart....Female AND Male. And I'm loving ALL of it! (And, hey, Tattoos are just icing on that beautiful cake!)