You know those times when you’re on Facebook, and a post pops up in front of you selling stuff, and you just go “YES! I need that right NOW!” and before you question why Facebook knows you want that stuff, you’re on the phone or at an online checkout and you’re signing up for some AWESOME stuff that will ACTUALLY make your life complete?
No? ……. That’s just me…….?
So, there’s a lady whose photography I’ve been following for a while. She is IMHO one of the leaders in the modern glamour genre. She is the only photographer in Australia that I would have sought to take my own photograph, and I had a plan in the back of my head to one day take my mum and my sisters down to her in Geelong to have some pictures of us girls taken. Then, late on a Friday afternoon, when I was supposed to be working but was instead getting my Facebook fix before collecting the kiddos from school, a post from her popped up in my feed, and then the next thing I knew I was talking to THE Annie Murray on the phone.
One thing led to another, and a couple of weeks later we spent the best part of a week together, photographing some beautiful and special ladies. Annie was guiding. I was learning. It was awesome.
On one of the days a client didn’t arrive, and so Annie convinced me it would be a good idea to photograph her. No pressure.
Annie is very open about her struggle with her weight, and she is also partially disabled. So despite her very great joy at helping other ladies find THEIR beautiful, it’s safe to say that she does not enjoy having her own photograph taken, that she does not readily see the beauty in herself. She took me through various poses and gave me absolutely invaluable advice on how to best place ladies into flattering positions. It was such a wonderful learning opportunity for me.
After one pose I showed her the back of my camera so that she could provide me with some feedback. She was quiet for a little while and the voice in my head was saying “okay she’s trying to find the words to tell you this sucks”, and then I heard the little intake of breath, and then I saw her lips tremble. And then I saw her tears. As she looked from me, to the back of the camera, back to me, she said through her tears, shocked, “Melissa, you’ve found my beautiful!”
It was such a powerful moment. I felt so proud. Partly because it was coming from someone I admire so much, but mainly because I had helped this beautiful lady see herself with the same kindness and love and acceptance that she gives everyone else.
Us women are so bloody hard on ourselves! WHY? Why do we do it?
I’m never going to change the world, but if I can change just a handful of women’s perceptions of their own beauty, of their own power, then I think I’ll be able to look back on my life and feel like it’s a better place for having had me in it.
Thank you Annie, for teaching me such valuable lessons.