I'm so excited because today, we get to read one woman's experience of having a portrait taken. Mary Benson, a participant in the Holding the Bones Project, has graciously shared her thoughts and feelings about her experience. Enjoy!
May you be inspired.
About 20 years ago, my oldest daughter and I had a “play day” taking “Glamour Shots” together. At the time it was the thing to do. So, we dressed up in fancy dresses and put on lots of makeup.
I don’t know why we never really displayed any of these pictures. It is not a memory that stands out in either of our minds.
The memory of the Glamour Shot Experience only came to me recently because Rebecca asked me to share how being a part of the “Holding the Bones” project has affected me.
A critical difference for me about this project is that I was aware the images captured in these photographs were going to be a reflection of me. The glamour shots were not.
When I say, “the images would be a reflection of me”, I mean I was not going to be disguised or exaggerated. I sensed the photograph that would be selected was probably going to capture my essence.
Which I must admit, I felt a bit uncomfortable with being “clearly seen”. I will come back to this thought.
As Rebecca and I corresponded about her ideas for the shoot, I immediately knew I wanted to be wearing vibrant colors - blues, greens, reds and yellows.
The Universe works in mysterious ways! When I went shopping for my outfit – I immediately found the outfit! I tried it on and put it back 3 times!
Finally, being the bargain shopper that I am, I purchased it, not because I really felt alive and vibrant when I wore it…which I did! But because it was such a good deal!
I often say, The Divine has a wonderful sense of humor! When Rebecca sent me the proofs of our session, the joke was on me! I was clearly able to see me!
The lighting, angles and finishes of the captured images revealed different aspects and perspectives of myself.
Rebecca sent me four proofs to make my selection for the one to be used as my expression of “Earned Wisdom”. When I shared the pictures with my daughters, I saw aspects of myself expressed in each image.
- The first was a “soft” black and white image - meaning the color was not as defined. This image seemed to capture the soft, and not so easily seen, or defined, “spirit”.
- The second was a color image that was the same pose as the first that I just described. This image created color and form, allowing me to be seen in the world.
- The third image was a completely different pose. Both my daughters really liked this one. I believe they liked the image because it was a warmer, softer and playful image. I am standing with my arms open and smiling. The color, light and beautiful sky behind me are welcoming.
- The fourth image, which was the same pose as image one and two, pulled the previous three images together. The bold black and white shot created depth. I felt as if the other three images were layers beneath this image creating substance and wholeness…reflecting “Earned Wisdom”.
I heard myself quietly saying as I looked at the different images, “There you are in this way here!” And, “there you are here as well!” I enjoyed meeting all of me!
I wish to speak to one other gift of this experience. I sent this message to Rebecca after I saw these images, "As I looked at each of these pictures, I found myself seeing different aspects of my beauty.” I saw different aspects of the gifts I bring to share with others.
I mentioned earlier that my daughter and I had taken “Glamour Shots”. I believe at that time I was one of many attempting to find “beauty”. This is such an interesting word in our culture. I do not wish to take up too much time about it.
Some of you may have heard a Native phrase, “Walk in Beauty”. Each day my prayer is that my life is a glimmer of The Divine's Beauty.
I am aware that I am at another crossroads in my life. The combination of writing my thoughts about “Earned Wisdom”, and the images that are visual expressions of it, has allowed me to take stock of myself.
I am seeing myself with a “fresh set of new eyes”...
The "fresh set of new eyes" gives me a clearer picture of who I am and what I am equipped with to take into this next phase of my journey.
Me again...explore the depths
I had no idea the depth this project would bring to each woman. I am deeply honored and humbled.
To any woman (or person) who is afraid to have a portrait taken, I ask the question..."What is your fear?" Is it possible for you to look deeply and see the gifts you bring to share with others?
I promise...there is only beauty in your depths.
Perhaps, Mary's story and her willingness to trust me as her photographer may encourage you.
If you are willing to participate in "Holding the Bones", contact me here
I look forward to hearing from you!
Did this story move you? Encourage you? Then please share in the comments below and in your social media.
Expect the best. Anything else is an adventure!