I remember the first time I saw Molly. I was sitting in room with live music when she walked to the front and sat at the piano to sing back up. I was struck by her beauty, then by her confidence, then by her voice. This girl. I didn’t know where she came from or where she was going, but knew I wanted to be her friend. We eventually met a few weeks later through mutual friends and it was purely quirky friendship from that moment on. No I’m serious, we are really weird.
I preface all this in order to tell a story. A story of how I’m realizing how truly impactful photography can be.
In the beginning of the month, I approached Molly to do a mini July 4 shoot. I had a couple ideas cooking in my brain and I needed a model. I needed a Molly. She was the only one I could think of who would be perfect for this.
Well thanks to Molly’s love for quality time and adventure, we woke up before the crack of dawn and drove out to the beach to catch these shots you see below. Pity Molly- I made her do the weirdest poses and jump over seaweed like a million times. But man. Dang. Ya. This is what happened. The light. The dress. The smile. It was all perfect. But it was because Molly was who she is, and it was because she was in the photos. After she saw the photos, I later received a note from her explaining a bit of her own story to me.
How many of you know that we as human beings can be our own worse critics. We nitpick, we covets someone else’s features, we complain. Things can go unplanned in our lives and we blame ourselves. Girls, how many of us say, “I’m just not pretty enough” or “if only I would be different.”
Molly’s note thanked me, explaining how she had previously been feeling these things creep into her thinking. But when she received the photos, she found herself returning to them repeatedly. She expressed that there were a few particular photos where she just stared. “At first I felt so detached from them. Like I wasn’t looking at pictures of me.” As she kept returning to them, her perspective began to shift. “I began to see the core of who I am.” That perspective being the truth. That the core of who she is- her identity- is good. Beautiful. Worthy.
I almost cried when I read it. Anyone can see that Molly is gorgeous, but she herself needs to see and experience her own value and goodness.
How about you? What lies do you tell yourself in the mirror as you get ready for your day? What areas of your thinking need to be set right again?
If I can have one purpose or vision in my photographic career, it would be to show people their worth. I think my slogan says it pretty well: “I show people the beauty they are living.” My desire is not to have the best equipment or have the most clients. I’ve become more intentional than that. My dream is to show worth to people. If that means that they change their self perspective while flipping through the photos, then that’s what it will look like. But I think that this shoot has not only helped Molly. It’s helped me.
Live intentionally. Eliminate lies and speak the truth. And for heaven’s sake, if you just can’t seem to believe them, invite me to do a shoot. I’ll show you the beauty that everyone else gets to see when they look at you. You might feel totally not put together but don’t you know? There is such true raw beauty in the mess.
And here is my beautiful friend in all her Independence Day glory. Dress by Anthropologie. Flower crown by Jarrett Atelier. Beach and perfect day by God.
and some bloopers: