This right here is the reason why I am giving up wedding photography. To focus on what matters... at least, what matters to me personally. This right here is what my heart beats for. To see women (who like me, have struggled to embrace and love themselves in all different stages and seasons of their lives) taste freedom. Don’t get me wrong, photographing weddings was amazing. And I have photographed a heck of a lot of them. I truly gave my entire heart and creativity at 1000% to each one... to the best of my ability & creativity! Seeing people promising to love each other for the rest of their lives is a gorgeous meaningful job to have. But that’s not what my heart beats for.
I suppose having gone through a divorce myself, I care less about the wedding and more about the actual marriage. I care more about how men and women value themselves and how they truly see themselves.
I know what self harming is. I know what it’s like to hate looking at photos of myself. For a long while, seeing myself in the mirror was so painful! I clearly remember having to put a tea towels over it so my eye didn’t even catch a little glimpse of my face in it. It got so bad at one point that even seeing my body in shops reflections would generate real feelings of self hatred.
I'm so grateful to be in a place where I can say that freedom is something that I have been walking since it began in 2011 and I know that it’s an ongoing journey in which I never stop growing into. I am so thankful that God brought me to a real place of absolutely peace and love towards myself... something that is hard to explain with words but so incredible to experience.
That’s why it’s always been my heart to photograph women and men who have struggled with that. Photography was so healing to me when I was ready to change my way of living, my way of thinking and above all else, willing to start believing the truth. I am not naive. I totally know that photography isn’t a cure. Far from it. And to some degree, the photographs themselves aren’t really what my love yourself sessions are about. It’s about the shoot itself. It’s about what takes place in the heart during the shoot. It's about the renewing of the mind. The change of perspective shifting from the old mentality to the new! The new can only be built when the old mentality has gone. If the roots aren't taken out, you'll try to patch your old mentality with a new one but it won't be long lasting. Photos are there to capture the heart. The raw emotions. There is so much more to a love yourself sessions than taking pretty shots! xo
My second love yourself photo shoot with Flo.
Even though Flo made me feel incredibly comfortable at the first shoot, looking back I was quite conscious and I feel like I was putting on a persona for the camera, still wanting to show people what I thought they wanted to see.
When I looked at the pictures although I was really happy with some of the photos, mainly the head shots, I really struggled with others. I felt so uncomfortable looking at myself in some of the photos, it was like a physical reaction. I especially struggled because I knew they had to be shared, not only by Flo but also by myself as it was part of my journey and healing. I was actually cringing at some of the pictures, obviously nothing to do with Flo’s talent and everything to do with where I was at.
That’s the thing with self love it must come from self. No matter how many people tell you or how many times you are told how beautiful you are, unless you believe it yourself it won’t make any difference. It has to come from self discovery and acceptance. I thought I was really free when we did the first shoot as it turned out I wasn’t so much, although still more free than I had ever felt before.
So then onto this latest shoot. What can I say? Just wow! It felt so very different from the first. I didn’t feel like I had to show anything other than my authentic, crazy, funny, free self! Although Flo was asking me to do things like she did in the first shoot I felt safer and freer than I had before.
I have felt Jesus’ whisper drawing me to come away with Him, leading me nearer for a long while. I felt Him saying that there was so much more freedom for me and He was taking me there. It was an invitation from my heavenly Father to know more of His character and I accepted. I am making huge strides towards more of His freedom and doing these self love sessions has helped me more than I could have imagined.
Not only are you incredibly talented Flo but your desire to see women set free into all that they have been called to be is nothing less than beautifully inspiring. To know you and be a part of your story, as you are of mine is such a blessing.
"Loving myself is letting go of the very things that have kept me in prison in my mind, in my heart and my soul. Forgiving myself and receiving undeserved grace is the most beautiful, precious and priceless gift I have ever received." -F x
"Freedom. It’s not just a feeling. It’s about choosing to be free everyday. It’s about owning it. It’s about the daily renewing of the mind. It’s about the heart... because what comes out of the mouth has been nurtured in the heart and thoughts first. We can so often be our very own enemies because of the auto destructive, negative and toxic mentality we have adopted as our own. Let us choose better. Choose new. Choose gratefulness. Choose love. Choose life." -F x
To love yourself is to be at peace with yourself. It is to be in a place of celebrating the years, cherishing your story because no one else is you, the heart and body changes, the lessons you have learned from your missteps and also, celebrating others around you without being threatened because you know your worth. You know that you are more than enough. That’s freedom. That’s self-love. And peace. ♡ -F x
Post shoot photograph with Kate...