Posts tagged beauty
Different Shades of Beauty | Winston Salem Portrait Photographer | Jasper & Fern

My youtube channel makes some interesting suggestions sometimes. Most of the time it suggests diy projects, photography, Ellen, sharks and acrylic pours. It also occasionally suggests uplifting content. Most recently, one of the "What Would You Do" videos, headlined "Teen Wanting to Look Whiter," popped up. Heart strings tugged and interest in this social experiment drew me in.

In the video, two young black girls are discussing skin bleaching. The girls are actors attempting to instigate reactions from the surrounding people. Unfamiliar with these practices and unfamiliar with cultural standards, I really wasn't sure which direction these reactions would go.

The more responses that were shared, the larger the lump in my throat grew. This one gentleman compassionately responded how I wish anyone would respond to any person dealing with an insecurity or pressure like this.

"You don't think you're fine just the way you are?" After explaining his own experience with his aunts' skin bleaching and cautioning them about safety, he shared a beautiful perspective.

"See, there's different shades of beauty."

That sums it up right there. Beauty isn't just one thing or one type of person. Beauty is more than can be put on a box or a magazine cover and sold.

As a photographer, I see this struggle for self value and confidence in many of my clients. As a woman, as a human, I see these same struggles in myself. While my struggles were different than what the video is about, I wish I'd met someone with this compassion who could have shared with me what this man shared with these girls. No one should feel like they are “less than.”

This video, this story, goes to show how much we can impact each other - how much we influence each other's understanding of value and of beauty. Be kind with your words and actions, Friends.

As you go forward today, friend, know that you are perfect just the way you were created and, above all, know that you are loved.

(You can watch his whole interaction starting at 3:06 if you want. He does go on to share some other meaningful and compassionate insight.)

Social experiment focused on the standards of beauty when it comes to skin color | Skin bleaching | self value | beauty standards | self confidence | self hate | body issues | identity | young girls believing they’re worthless

Fat and Uncomfortable

UNCOMFORTABLE, that's the description I hear most often when people come in to have their photograph taken. It's incredibly common to not like being in front of a camera. Whether it's because you feel fat, old, ugly, tired or what-have-you [insert your own reason here], having your portrait made can be unpleasant.

You are not alone. Based on my own experience with clients, I'd say 9 out of 10 people are uncomfortable having their photograph taken. Even I am uncomfortable in front of the camera. One of my biggest fears is looking fat in photos and not looking like the real me (whether that's looking too good or too bad - although I don't mind the "too good" as much). 

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Take this photograph, for instance. This is a VERY recent photograph and, oh my gosh, I HATE it. I look dopey, ghostly, have no jaw line and look chunkier than I feel I actually am. I have no eyebrows or eyes and I feel like a big pile of gross blah. I. Feel. Ugly.

My husband even, once I told him I really wanted to untag myself in the photo, said he contemplated untagging me because it's not how I look in real life. Like, it's a BAD, BAD photograph - and it's out there for the world to see, thanks to social media.

Now, I've had uncomplimentary photographs before and I've been working on being comfortable getting past my own vanity and appreciating the moment and the people I'm sharing the memory with. This latest picture is definitely testing my self-appreciation methods though. I'm attempting to be thankful for the humbling reminder to keep my vanity in check and always do my best to represent who my clients truly are. While I might look uglier in photos than I see myself, I am choosing to focus my attention on remembering that I love the people in this photograph and the time together this photo represents.

While there is little we can do about the quality of the photographs shared and tagged on social media by other people, any time you have photographs made with a photographer, you can always open a dialogue with them. I want to know your insecurities. I want to know which side is your favorite. I want to know what you are learning to like about yourself. I want to know all of these things so that I can be sensitive to where you are at and capture you in the best light, as the best representation of you.

It's natural and normal to feel uncomfortable in front of a camera. It is normal to have fears and insecurities; and, it is expected that, at a vulnerable time like when you're having your portrait made, your uncomfortable feelings may come out. Just remember you're not alone, your opinions about yourself matter and I'm going to do my best to photograph the most beautiful version of you.

Embodying Love

Embody Love Movement was founded out of the inspiration from a group of a few young women who, together, found a passion for inspiring and empowering other girls and women to recognize their value and their potential. Their mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world.

The Embody Love Catalysts are a group of young women who have radically embraced their bodies and, therefore, themselves.  In 2011, the catalysts were the initial recipients of a workshop that included media literacy education, yoga, and self-acceptance exercises.  Each of them felt a personal transformation, and together, they dreamed up ways to share the experience with other girls and women. In collaboration with Dr. Melody Moore, they developed Embody Love Movement’s founding programs: the Inner Beauty Shop and the Mentorship Program for younger girls struggling with eating disorders, self-esteem issues, and depression. Through giving back in service of others, the Catalysts have found a greater purpose in their journey to self-love and self-acceptance.  They have brought the Embody Love Movement to schools, camps, and organizations in Dallas and on their college campuses.

Jasper & Fern's founder, Alyson, knows these struggles all too well. She has fought with self-esteem issues her whole life, struggled with bulimia during most of her adolescence and still battles depression. When Kristen Williams, owner of K10 Yoga, approached Alyson about bringing the Embody Love Movement to North Carolina, it was kismet. Built on love, support, grace and compassion Jasper & Fern, K10 Yoga and Embody Love are the perfect fit.

Want to make an impact? You can!
Embody Love Facilitator Training is coming to Winston the end of September!!

This workshop is going to be powerful. It’s not going to be something you can attend and simply absorb information. It’s going to move you. It’s going to grow your heart and it’s going to give you the skill set to make a deep impact on your loved ones and your community.
— Alyson, owner of Jasper & Fern



Give the gift of self love to yourself and other women and girls in the community. Become a facilitator for the Embody Love Movement! Celebrate inner beauty, commit to kindness, contribute to meaningful change in the world.

Note: You do not have to be a yoga teacher to complete this training and share this work. Email Kristen Williams for details and to register! K10yogas@gmail.com

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