What being photoshopped taught me about growth.
We’ve all heard the old adage- pictures are worth a thousand words. So when picking a photographer to shoot stock photos for R&R, I wanted to make sure that the photographer I worked with could capture the core concepts that my blog stands on:
raw, real and empowered.
I had met with the photographer to plan the shoot and to make sure that he could translate my vision into a reality in alignment with my brand and aesthetic. When I explained that I wanted my images to be clear, real, raw, and empowering- the photographer seemed on board, excited even. The shoot was great. We even shared a few laughs about some of my awkward faces he caught on film. I was explicit about my expectations and the aesthetic that I wanted to present, and felt pretty confident we got the shots I needed. I told him that in order to stay authentic to my brand, I didn’t want to be photoshopped. Color correction and editing of that nature was fine, but I wanted the images to be as unadulterated. as. possible.
So when he sent me the photo on the photo below (on the left), my jaw dropped.
It was a surreal experience looking at the body in the photo that was mine... but at the same time wasn’t. The thought that this man looked at this photo of my body and thought that I would like it more if he were to mold it with his cursor made me sick. I don't have a traditionally feminine shape. I’m lanky with small boobs and an athletic build. It took me a VERY long time to be able to embrace that. My first impulse was to call him and tell him to go f*ck himself for imposing his ideas of what he thinks a woman should like on MY body. ESPECIALLY WHEN I EXPLICITLY TOLD HIM NOT TO! But then I had an epiphany.
I like my real raw un-photoshopped body, MORE than the ideal "hourglass figure" version of me.
I had for so long struggled with body image- which seems to be a right of passage now a days. After hitting a breaking point in college, I put in A LOT of work to break down my insecurities and understand the root of what was causing them. I learned how to stand in my power and be proud of this body that houses my soul (AND an absurd amount of rap lyrics). It took me wanting to scold this photographer, to realize that I was no longer bound by my insecurities that hindered me for so long. It took someone changing my body to see that the work I put in: the mantras, the journaling, and the therapy, had served it’s purpose. My body is my body, and it was the only body I wanted to show.
So NO, this is not a post about shaming those who seek to manipulate our bodies with their cursors. We’re stronger than them.
This is about progress. This is about putting in the work, taking the next step, and another. Repeating until you’re looking at a picture of yourself that should make you furious- BUT INSTEAD you revel in your growth and your ability to break through fear and insecurity. The purpose in life is to grow. We grow and fortify that growth outward in order to share that growth with others. So I guess what I'm trying to say is:
Put in the work. Break through the fear. Share what you learn. And repeat.
A small waist and a big ass won’t make you happy. But the person you become from the pursuit of progress and growth will be, I can assure you that.
OH- and don't even get me started on the space age color filter-SMH-pick your battles.
PS - My photographer now, Thaya (@sutthastudio on insta), is amazing and talented and will even send you texts saying Happy New Year. THOSE are the kind of people that we need in our lives.