Welcome to Be Your Own Beloved
I’m Vivienne, a photographer, writer, body image activist and self-compassion force behind this website and these classes. I’m based on the West Coast of Canada, in British Columbia.
In this work we explore photography as a therapeutic tool, with a particular focus on selfies as a tool for body acceptance and cultivating self-compassion. We do so through accessible and experiential workshops and activities that put our body acceptance into action and reclaim our power back. You don’t need fancy gear or photo experience to do this work though. Whether it’s a smartphone, a point and shoot or a DSLR, all tools for photo exploration (and all skill levels) are welcome.
I help incredible, creative and giving people shift the way they see themselves, folks who naturally give so much kindness to those around them but struggle to offer themselves that same level of compassion. I help them give themselves permission to offer that to themselves and to treat themselves as the would a beloved.
I shake up people’s perceptions of what a ‘selfie’ is and invite them to reclaim it back from the idea that it is selfish or narcissistic to take one. Instead it becomes a tool for personal storytelling, for creating a visual narrative of our lives and a way to reclaim how we see ourselves.
I believe that the camera can be a doorway to seeing ourselves in a new way, inviting in more compassion and more self-kindness. For many of us, photos likely haven’t felt like a place where we have been able to see ourselves through a lens of love.
I believe that it is because we have these tender stories and experiences in our relationship to our self-image through photos that it can also be a place of reclamation, of learning to stand in our personal power and to rewrite the visual story of how we feel about ourselves in and out of a photo.
Photography arrived in my life in my late 20’s and took it by storm. I picked up a camera just as I was emerging from a rough patch (aka a depression) where the stories of myself were changing under my feet. In a time of profound changes, I felt like a blank canvas that I had no idea how to begin to paint. The camera became that guide and slowly but surely helped me start to see the woman I am with clarity, kindness and helped me weed out all the external voices of who I should be or what should define me and reclaimed my own voice. I knew as I emerged from this time that I needed to share that the camera didn’t need to be our enemy and it fact it could be our ally, our guide back to ourselves.
I’ve been teaching online self-portrait based classes since 2011, with the focus increasingly directed at selfies as a tool for self-compassion.
As you might guess from the images you’ll see around this site, healing the way we see ourselves through the camera can be a whole lot of fun and incredibly playful too. That’s the kind of energy that is a part of my persona photo practices as well as the way I teach both in person and online. My approach to seeing ourselves with compassion focuses on seeing ourselves with kindness here and now and learning to see ourselves as worthy in the moment (not just once we get our hair done or put on makeup or change our body). It is body positive, empowering and transformative.
The experience of seeing ourselves through a lens of compassion isn’t instantaneous, it may not happen in just one photo. But in the process of healing the way we see ourselves we also get to create a visual narrative of our path there. To support and show up for ourselves through the camera as we experience the ebb & flow of reclaiming how we see ourselves. All of the content on this site as with the classes are created with those who have resistence to the camera in mind (so if this terrifies you, don’t worry…you’re not alone and this IS for you).
What is 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 thrilled to be a contributor to Jes Baker of the Militant Baker’s new book Things No One will tell Fat Girls coming out in October 2015.
Deeply honoured that Be Your Own Beloved and I are featured in Jennifer Lee’s Book: Building Your Business the Right Brained Way.
Thrilled to be a contributor to the book Art of Everyday Photography by Susan Tuttle.
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).
- Food Psych Podcast with Christy Harrison
- Dietitians Unplugged Podcast with Glenys Oyston and Aaron Flores
- Love, Curvy Yoga Podcast with Anna Guest-Jelley
- Fearless Rebelle Radio with Summer Innanen
- Reclaiming You Podcast with Sarah Vance
- How She Really Does it Podcast with Koren Motekaitis
Speaker at Creative Mornings Vancouver on the theme of LOVE
Speaker at the Hot Art Wet City Speaker Series
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!