Body Positivity: What it means to me and why I won’t digitally enhance or alter your bodies.

As a photographer I jokingly get asked to “just photoshop three stone off”, “remove my chins” and “make me look 25 again” ALL THE TIME!

It’s usually said in jest, but in reality it breaks my heart a little bit every time because I’ve had my own lifelong battle with my weight, self confidence and self worth.

I can’t change the way YOU look.

Not in real life. Yes, I could digitally alter your photographs – but I won’t because it’s not what I stand for.

I feel really strongly about this. We live in a world where society often places higher value on looks over personality and kind hearts. Where facetune filters, actual fillers and Love Island are seen as aspirational and growing old gracefully is not.

Plus if I agree to change your appearance in a photograph, doesn’t that suggest that I think you need to change too and feed this societal concept that we all need to change and aspire to unattainable goals.

I realise that my refusal to photoshop might lose me bookings, and I’m totally ok with that. 🙂

What I am all about is:

  • Real beauty shines from within. To me there is nothing more beautiful than a big genuine smile.
  • Showing real happiness, emotion and connection through my work.
  • Growing old gracefully and self acceptance.
  • Taking images of you which will show you the way the people who love you look at you.

Because I’ve seen the distraught look in a new husbands eyes as the woman he loves publicly shames, berates herself and apologises for her taking up space. As a wedding photographer I have also seen first hand the way those same people look so proudly and affectionately at the person they love most in the world.

I the way their faces relax as you cuddle them, the way their eyes well up when they see you and the way they crease with laughter and throw their head back at your funny stories.

Take it from me, they love you for ALL of the things that make you YOU. And they dislike it as much as I do when you put yourselves down.

This is no scientifically proven fact but self deprecation has never helped anyone. Just think about that for a moment – who does you putting yourself down actually help? It certainly isn’t you! And it certainly isn’t anyone else.

You don’t have to apologise for taking up space.

My own personal struggle.

A very very potted history because we haven’t got all day…

I was still at primary school when I was first made aware that I was bigger than the other kids – I was tall (still am!) and had a bigger frame. But I was not fat. I ate well and I exercised a lot. And you know, kids grow at different rates…

It felt like it was all anyone saw about me and cared about though. And sadly it became a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy and by the time I got to high school I was overweight and an easy target for the bullies.

They would yell EARTHQUAKE and drop to the floor in the corridor as I walked past. Life was excruciatingly embarrassing as an overweight teen.

Age 17 i joined a gym and I loved it. I quickly became OBSESSED with exercise and calorie counting though. The weight loss was quick and it was dramatic and my periods stopped for 6 months – so you know, things were still not exactly healthy.

I went to university where I simultaneously discovered beer and my self confidence (funny that, hey?) But the beer either led me towards cheesy chips and/or unsuitable men and the yoyo years began…..and continued for TWENTY WHOLE YEARS. 🙁

The one thing that has been consistent through my life is that I have always placed far too much emphasis on my self worth based on what number was on the scales.

So what changed?

I met my hubby in my early thirties and he was the first person who saw me for who I was, not what I weighed. We fell in love, got married, and we became parents to two amazing kids…..and I don’t want them to grow up thinking their appearance or body shape or size is all that matters.

I want them to know they are much more than that, and that they are loved unconditionally. And I’m careful to not put myself down or berate myself over food in front of them. I don’t like the words “fat” or “diet” to be used in our house.

We live in such an appearance obsessed society don’t we? Where facetune, fillers and Love Island are deemed aspirational and growing old gracefully is not. It’s terrifying when you have young children.

I’ve had to do a lot of work on my own self confidence…

To finally get my head in a good place where I KNOW I am worth more than just my dress size or current weight. I have self confidence in what I do and what I stand for and what I’ll put up with. I have a loving family and great friends. Oh….and I give WAY fewer f*cks about what the people who don’t know me think.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have the odd self confidence wobble and I do care about keeping myself healthy – also for the sake of my kids.

I hope this has helped you to understand where I’m coming from and why my stance is so firm on photoshop.

For more information on my photography or to just chat body positivity, please feel free to get in touch.

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