I often read stories of how folks discovered photography at very young age and never looked back. That isn’t my story. Not because it wasn’t available to me, but because I tried on all sorts of other creative adventures before getting to photography. Yet none of them (theatre, songwriting, performing music, sewing, pottery, knitting and on and on) felt quite right. They didn’t feel like a fit. But I had this perception that photography wasn’t just picking up a camera and shooting and was intimidated by all of the information I thought I needed to know to take a photo. It turns out I was wrong. So if you decide to join me in an E-Course, know that I come from a place of playfulness, of experimenting, of discovery. In fact, one of my favourite mantra’s in my classes is:
When I started falling in love with photography and realized how accessible it was (oh how digital photography had perfect timing blossoming around this time) my love grew quickly.
As you saw in the video, I discovered photography around the time that I was emerging from a rough patch (aka a depression) and a major part of this journey was turning the camera on myself. I knew I was no longer the same woman, but I had no clue who this ‘new me’ was. I felt like a blank canvas with no clue how to start the journey to figure out how to paint her image again.
My new love for photography was the perfect tool. It allowed me to just start in the moment. With a simple shot of my feet that made me feel like even if I didn’t know all the answers, in this moment I was taking a photo that just let me feel like ‘I am here’. So it began.
What I didn’t know, was that not only was taking self-portraits going to help me find my way back to myself, but the effects would go much deeper and help me heal my deeply negative self-image and self-hatred, something I had been in a major struggle with since my early teens. Taking self-portraits slowly but surely helped me shift away from the negative way I saw myself and make room for new stories of self-kindness. It didn’t happen overnight, but surprisingly quickly I started to realize that I didn’t need live the way I had been for over a decade, in a place of near constant self-hate. In fact it could be the opposite. I could learn to live in a place of self-compassion, with my camera as my guide.
I quickly realized this wasn’t something available just for me. In fact anyone could pick up a camera and use it as a tool to shift their relationship to themselves & the way they saw themselves in photos. Not only that, but I realized that it was a missing piece in a lot of the personal growth & self-love work out there. So I started teaching about self-portraiture to women around the world in 2011.
Since 2013, my mission has become even more focused on helping people see themselves with kindness through their cameras and I am so honoured to be able to share this work through my blog and through Be Your Own Beloved!
Be Your Own Beloved began as one E-Course but has grown in the last year to be so much more than that. It has become my core message and my mission in life to help people use their cameras as a doorway to self-compassion and healing our relationship to ourselves. Folks have been joining in, not only in the classes but through the #beyourownbeloved hashtag and the message of self-portraiture as a tool for self-compassion is growing!
The Core messages behind the Be Your Own Beloved are:
- To work towards treating ourselves with the same compassion & love as we would a beloved friend or loved one
- To use self-portrait and yes, selfies, as a doorway to seeing ourselves with kindness & cultivating new stories of how we see our self-image
- To value and see ourselves as worthy of telling our visual story
If you’ve found your way here to the site and would love to join in on seeing yourself with compassion through your camera and be a part of the Beloved Movement, there are a few ways to do that! You might:
- Use the Hashtag #beyourownbeloved when you share a self-portrait on Instagram or Facebook! I check the hashtag regularly and love leaving notes of encouragement especially if it is your first foray into taking a self-portrait!
- Join in for a class! The Be Your Own Beloved class is a powerful month long journey into self-compassion and is offered regularly!
I also have an FAQ page that you might want to check out if you have any questions as I just might have the answer you’re looking for awaiting you there!
I’m so honoured to have done a photo shoot specifically for Amulet Magazine, featured on both the cover of the magazine and within the pages of its Summer 2013 Issue.
I’m mighty excited to have done a photo shoot specifically to accompany an article by Madelyn Mulvaney in the July 2013 Issue of Mingle Magazine (published by Stampington and Co.)
I also have some photographs featured alongside an article by Madelyn Mulvaney in the July 2013 Issue of Somerset Life (published by Stamptington and Co.)
I am so honoured to be a contributor to Liz Lamoreux’s book Inner Excavation. My photographs and art can be seen on the cover and throughout the pages of this gorgeous book.
The article in Somerset Life features five pages of writing and photography by Me (my first full article and photography in a magazine…hooray).
I truly love spreading the word about Be Your Own Beloved and cultivating self-love through self-portraiture! If you are interested in having me come speak to your audience, your school, your youth group, book group or women’s group within Canada, please feel free to get in touch with me through the contact form!