The following is an email I received from Lizy after her glamour session. Take a minute to read it. It describes exactly why we believe women should take time for themselves and remember the beautiful person they are. Thank you Lizy, for putting so many thoughts and feelings into words. And thank you for trusting us with your portraits.
“There comes a time in every little girls life when she questions her own beauty. Whether it’s the sudden realization of self that comes with age or the unfamiliar arrival of physical maturity, made uncertain by media and social experience, many of us become young women with wobbly beliefs about our own appearances.
By the time we are grown up, very few of us will call ourselves beautiful. We have a “good side,” a nice smile, or a killer dress. But few of us will contemplate our whole package without considering the inherent flaws. Rarer still is the opportunity to do so. Between carpools, workdays, nightmares, dinners, school plays, and holidays, we often spend more time contemplating our teeth in the rear view mirror than taking the time to feel “pulled together,” certainly not glamorous.
But what if we did take the time? What if we slowed down for one day and dedicated some time to that little girl who romped around in a tutu and sunglasses, mugging unabashedly for the camera? What if we allowed ourselves to consider what we look like today, through someone else’s eyes, and for the first time in a long time bravely gazed at our own true beauty?
This is the opportunity that Artemas offered me one Sunday in June. The thought of a glamour shoot initially appealed to me for the fun. After all, what self-described girly girl would turn down an afternoon of primping? But, underlying this was curiosity. Like most women I’d spent my adult life ascribing the words “cute” or “pretty” to my outfit or hairstyle. Words like glamorous or beautiful were not in my repertoire. But I couldn’t help but nervously wonder what the camera might reveal. Would I look awkward or silly, a posed version of my bland self? Or, was there maybe something there that was really worth photographing?
My experience in Artemas’ studio was more than I could have asked for. The whole shoot was carried out with an air of reverence for each woman’s unique features, hopes about her appearance, and comfort level. We listened to bubble gum pop, noshed on chocolate, and spoiled ourselves with sweet drinks. The professional hair and makeup artists were friendly and skillful. They listened as we shared “dream hairstyles” or makeup tricks we had always been afraid to try, and with a few flicks of their wands, we began to see our natural features accentuated. The little girl in me began to feel a lot like Cinderella. It truly felt special.
But the best part was the actual picture taking. For someone who struggles to feel photogenic, and never smiles without a full on cheesy grin, I was shocked at how confident Artemas helped me to feel. His guidance was clear and easy to emulate, and his words of encouragement and kindness were inspiring. For the first time, I felt poised in front of a lens. I suddenly felt glamorous.
The one moment that will stay with me from the shoot is when Artemas let me have a sneak peak at a single shot. I remember how nervously I snuck behind his laptop to see, almost insisting that I could wait for the comfort of my home to view the results. But his insistence that I had to see myself sparked that same curiosity. What had he captured? Was I really worth seeing? And, honestly, at first, I didn’t recognize myself. I felt taken aback by the girl in the photographs. That was me? I looked confident, glowing… truly beautiful.
As a woman who is no different from many women, who calls herself cute, but not beautiful, who forgets to put mascara on one eye, and often wears sweat pants to the grocery store, the pictures that I have from my Glamour shoot are important reminders that I am far more than a good hair day or a cute top. I am beautiful. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I don’t believe it. We all do that. But Artemas, through his expertise and thoughtfulness, provided me the opportunity to realize it. And for my part, I’m so thankful I took one day for myself, one day for that little girl inside of me to remember, to bravely gaze at my own true beauty. I hope that someday soon, you’ll take that opportunity too.”