When I first picked up a camera (and fell head over heels in love with seeing the world through it) I wasn’t in the place I am now. I felt like I could only see my life in one perspective, tunnel vision, and that perspective was solidly rooted in my self-doubt and critique. Life was pretty mediocre and somehow I had convinced myself that was what I was deserving of.
But then the point came where every cell of my body started screaming ‘No…you’re wrong…this isn’t the only path your life could take”. What if it could be different? What if you could see yourself differently.
So, terrified, I let go of the tight grip on that perspective of myself and my life and let go.
But doubt still awaited me…who was I to want more? And what in the world might more look like? What was this new paradigm I was hoping to shift to and how in the world was I going to get there.
The camera became my guide.
I realized I didn’t need to know the answers. I knew this as soon as I picked up a camera and started seeing the world through it. It blew my mind how the same old street that I had walked down hundreds of times suddenly looked so different.
I realized that every day I could take my camera out and see something new, see beauty I would otherwise have passed by. To see the world from endless new perspectives.
And I did. There was always beauty to be found. Always a new angle to shoot at. It still feels that way even 9 years later.
That there is always going to be a new perspective, a new way to see through these same eyes.
I didn’t need to know how to ‘figure out my life’. I just needed to keep open to a new perspective and let it unfold.
So many of the people who join the Be Your Own Beloved class have a very a fixed vision of how they see themselves in photos. It seems set in stone.
“I’m not photogenic”
“Photos feel like proof of all the negative self-talk I have”
“I can’t get a good photo of myself”
I hear these kinds of statements all the time, the sureness of one perspective that to them, has always seemed true. I know that feeling well, as I have felt similarly. I had no expectation that the camera was going to help me heal my relationship to my self image. It was truly outside of the realm of possibility in my mind.
Plus, really, why would I think that? I had seen no clue through photos that the camera could capture me in any other way than the usual way that I could only see with critique. I was sure that I wasn’t beautiful. I saw it in my photo-story and I believed that is what other people saw too. I had proof in those photos. Or did I?
But then it all changed. The more I saw the world around me from brand new perspectives be it a flower petal or feather or taking a portrait of a friend. I approached them as though they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, because now they were.
When I started turning the camera on myself, somehow a glimmer of that energy broke through the tall walls of self-doubt.
What would happen if I looked at myself in that way?
What if I approached myself as a photo subject and looked for beauty? I could find it everywhere, at any moment. Why not in myself? Why not in ourselves?
Do you, or did you have a fixed perspective of how you see yourself in photos?
What if you could break that one perspective wide open and see yourself through a whole new viewpoint, a whole new perspective?
And I know it’s scary. I know because I’m not just teaching this, I’m living this work. Because I still can still remember that feeling of believing that there would be no way, ever, that photos could be my ally. I was sure they were my enemy and proof of all negativity my inner critic launched at me.
But it wasn’t. And it doesn’t have to be the only perspective for you too.
I’m deeply passionate about helping people see themselves with kindness through their cameras not because of how much I love myself now, but because of how much I hated myself then.
I spent far too many years with that tunnel vision of self-digust.
I spent far too much energy critiquing myself and stubbornly disbelieving that there could be another way.
I spent far too much of my life worrying about how other people saw me above how I saw myself.
And I don’t want you to spend any longer there either. Because there is a new perspective awaiting you. One the camera will help you see. One that simply needs you to choose to see it. One that is available to any of us if we let it be.
Let’s choose to see ourselves from a different perspective (even if we can’t imagine what that would look like). Let’s trust in ourselves and invite in the camera as our guide.