Category Archives: Photo Sessions

conversation

We are all in conversation with ourselves about our bodies, aren’t we.

But for many of us it’s a one sided conversation where our inner critic leads the dialogue. So much so that we think it’s our own voice. But it’s not.

Often our voice has been silenced. Or we haven’t given ourselves permission to hear it, to dare to contradict our inner critic. Or we don’t know what else to say, our inner critic has been telling us one thing for so long, we can’t see the possibilities outside of it. Or at least that’s how it was for me.

Before I found the camera as a medium I remember feeling like I knew that I could change that conversation, even if I didn’t know what to say yet. But I needed a vessel for the conversation to happen. I needed a tool.

Little did I know that the camera could be that, would be that. I just thought a photo was a photo, and honestly…was a place where I felt the opposite of self-compassionate.

But it was. And I became the narrator of my own story and slowly began to hear my own voice again, loud and clear. And when we can hear our own voice, our own self-perception…our inner critics voice doesn’t hold the same power over us that it once did.

That’s the thing about this work…it might look from the outside like it’s all about getting good photos. That it’s all about our external self, how our body looks, how we are seen by others. But once you’re in it (whether it’s an arm’s length selfie, a reflection, a shadow selfie or a full body selfie) you get that it goes far beyond just the photo.

The photo is a doorway to this conversation. A place to find our own voice again even if at first all we can say is “I don’t know what to say to you dear body”.

But that’s how we invite ourselves back into the conversation. We begin. We get curious. We invite in compassion when we can and show up anyways when we can’t.

So yes, the Embody E-Course that is about to begin is about taking full body selfies, but it’s about so much more than that too. It’s about starting a conversation about our body, and inviting our own voice to be heard. It’s about not letting our inner critics voice define how we see ourselves in photos and inviting ourselves to be seen. It’s about YOU making space to recognize yourself in photos again and take images that feel empowered and embodied. 

Come spark this conversation with yourself. Class starts Tuesday but over the weekend you’ll get a pre-class PDF with tips for the technical side of taking our self-portraits. The activities themselves aren’t focused on the technical side, as that often keeps us in our heads and a pivotal part of this is conversation is inviting ourselves back into our body. Of course, alongside the technical support PDF I’m also available to help you with the technical side while class is in session!

Come join me for the Embody E-Course. We get started November 1st but I recommend joining in today or over the weekend so you can have time to explore the Pre-Class PDF before class starts.

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Their camera is aimed at me.

Be it a total stranger, a family member or a portrait photograher, the same thing happens for me.  I feel awkward and outside of my skin.  I feel like I need to pose.  So I stay as still as I can and wait for it to be over.

 

But when my camera is aimed at myself it is different.

I set it down and while I push the timer button or get ready to press my remote, I take a second to do a little silly dance to shake out the nerves. I adjust my clothing and then move in a way that feels like me.  I press the button and settle into the experience.  I may close my eyes and move or look right into the camera.

I am in my own body, not outside of myself.

I am in control, not out of control.

I am the narrator, not just the subject.

I am embodied, at home and enjoying the experience.

And the photo shows it.

 

So does the one that someone else has taken.  I can see my stress, thoughts of ‘What are they going to do with this photo’ and I didn’t take a moment at all to check in with my body and I can see it in my body language. Sound familiar?

I know this isn’t just my own experience.  Except I think it is easy to think that because it is so vulnerable to be in front of someone else’s camera, that aiming our own camera at ourselves would be even more scary. 

The more I’ve been using self-portraiture as tool for healing, the more I find that I can remember to take a second while they are getting ready to take the photo to just notice my feet on the ground and take a deep breath.   Often that is enough to change the experience of being photographed and put me at ease again.

The difference between the two does feel like it is about power. 

That somehow when someone else is holding the camera we hand our power over to them.

Yet that is the same reason why taking the camera into our own hands and taking a photo can be so empowering.  It is a reclamation of personal power.

I see it so often in Be Your Own Beloved when the participants get to that one activity which for them flips that switch and they realize they are indeed in control of how they see themselves. I can see that embodiment and reclamation of personal power start to appear in their photos.  They stand taller, they get braver and I start to see more of them appear in their photos, without apology.

Now, I do want to share that most portrait photographers I know…you can absolutely see in their photos that they put the client at ease, that they are deeply aware of this power and create a space where the client feels deeply safe.

I guess the thing I want to really share is that we can also create that experience for ourselves too. We can create that sacred space with our own camera too.

I want this for you, for me, for all of us.

Let’s transform the experience of being photographed from a place of fear or discomfort to a place of playfulness and openness, starting by doing this for ourselves!

We’re going to be exploring this in How to Rock a Selfie Photo Shoot starts soon, October 6th!  The next session of Be Your Own Beloved starts November 1st!  If you have any questions about which class would be the best fit for you, don’t hesitate to use the contact form and connect with me!

Nextbyobeloved

 

 

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A few months ago I headed out on a photo adventure with Marybeth from Amulet, the incredible prop-goddess Jennette Neilson of Smashing Rubbish along with some of their kindreds and kids.

We travelled from west coast forests over rainy mountains to unexpected desert sunshine and set up a truly divine picnic in the forest.  My role there was to document the picnic for Marybeth to use as she needed in the summer issue of Amulet Magazine.

These few months later it is finally here and oh my gosh…Amulet is such an incredible Magazine…I’m devouring the digital copy and so can’t wait to have a print copy in hand!  I’m beyond honoured that one of the photos from our adventure ended up on the cover as well as others in a variety of places throughout the magazine.

I so recommend getting a digital copy of this gorgeous magazine and here are a few shots from our adventure (and you’ll see more within the pages of the magazine)!

IMG_6568CheersRestHooping in the forestHanging at the Farm

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  • MarilynJuly 20, 2013 - 4:36 pm

    Beautiful! Love photographing food. Need to learn to love photographing people. At some point I know our paths will cross.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara JacksonJuly 25, 2013 - 10:17 pm

    Oh Viv you’ve surpassed yourself – these are gorgeous! And getting the cover too – woohoo!ReplyCancel

Jane Siberry
Last week I was away at a photography retreat in Palm Springs and something truly serendipitous happened.

Here’s how it began.

It was day 2 of the retreat in the evening and I was gathered at the little bar that the fabulous folks at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs had set up for us when this woman came up to me asking what the event that we were having was.

I immediately knew who she was.  I’m a big fan of music, especially supporting Canadian or Indie musicians so I was totally aware that the woman that just came up to me to ask a question was Jane Siberry.

I shared that it was a photography event and that we were there for a few days.

“You look familiar” I said.

I was also totally aware that she had changed her name a few years back and not sure of which name she presently went by (and not wanting to refer to her with the wrong name, ‘You look familiar’ seemed like the way to go).

“I’m Jane Siberry” she shared and offered that if I needed someone to practise taking photos on while I was there, she’d be happy to be the subject of a photoshoot.

“I’d love that.” I said.

And off she went.

I was in shock.  Did an incredible Canadian musician just come up to me, likely the one person in the crowd standing there at that moment who knew she was a musician and just offer to be a subject in a photoshoot?

Oh my.

But then the fear appeared (as it has a way of).

Yet it seemed too serendipitous to pass by out of fear so I contacted her and on my last full day there we met up for a photoshoot.  She was truly as wonderful, kind and unique as I hoped she would be.  It was fabulous to hear a bit about her life and travels.  We then wandered around the grounds of the Ace finding some fabulous spots to take some photos.

Here are some of the images I took of Jane.  It was truly an honour to photograph this fabulous artist and a day I won’t forget.

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  • DebraNovember 2, 2012 - 11:03 am

    So fantastic! A perfect moment of serendipity and beautiful photos. It was so nice to get a few minutes to connect with you at Oasis (beyond the “You’re Canadian please tell me you know who Jane Siberry is!” moment). xoxoReplyCancel

  • HollyNovember 2, 2012 - 11:03 am

    Amazing, Vivienne! It was so meant to be!ReplyCancel

  • Lelainia LloydNovember 2, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Vivienne, nothing is by chance. You were meant to have that encounter and what an amazing one it turned out to be. I love that you were able to meet someone so fabulous. LOVE our Canadian artists! Every time I hear Calling All Angels, I just weep.

    What’s really interesting is how Jane’s whole face lights up in the photos where she’s holding her guitar. It’s amazing how the passion for what you love can transform the outside to reflect how you feel on the inside. You captured that perfectly.

    I love the close up photo too. The light is really soft and pretty and the blue in the chair and Jane’s necklace really brings out the blue in her eyes. You have such a beautiful way of SEEING people and showing them in their best light. It’s a rare gift.

    So happy for you and for Jane. Did you send her the photos? What did she think?ReplyCancel

  • aspazieNovember 2, 2012 - 11:43 am

    A wonderful story and the pics to prove it !ReplyCancel

  • KrisNovember 2, 2012 - 11:57 am

    Sigh. I can just feel the joy in this post. Your photos are simply fabulous. Looks like Jane was a lucky girl that day as well. What a fantastic memory.ReplyCancel

  • DarleneNovember 2, 2012 - 12:19 pm

    Love to hear the rest of the story – I was actually sitting near Tracey when you told her about this meeting and saw how excited she got – things are meant to happen and amazing this happened for you and for Tracey – it was amazing to have her drop by to surprise her and sing
    love the photosReplyCancel

  • melodyNovember 2, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    I love love LOVE!!!ReplyCancel

  • KathleenNovember 2, 2012 - 1:13 pm

    Those eyes!

    What a fantastic story.ReplyCancel

  • MeeshNovember 2, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    What a thrill this must have been! It was truly meant to be. This is such a great story and you’ve taken lovely images. Be proud!ReplyCancel

  • L.McG.-E.November 4, 2012 - 1:45 pm

    What absolutely outstanding portraits. Such a wonderful opportunity not just for you to take the pictures but for Jane to have you make her portraits, you have a wonderful way of bringing images to life and bringing out the person not just the persona.ReplyCancel

  • Briana G.November 19, 2012 - 4:35 am

    Holy sh*t, Viv! That is so TOTALLY AMAZING! I love Jane Siberry. I am so excited for you, and her. Your photos of her are lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring story.
    Wow! I am in awe.
    Hugs,
    Briana G.ReplyCancel

chickadee road

This past June, I was honoured to go to the Your Story Retreat, hosted by the Be Present Retreats.

I have lots to share from that event, but I wanted to begin by sharing some of my favourite photos from the weekend, that being a portrait session I did with Liz Lamoreux and Kelly Barton.

Liz and Kelly have a beautiful new collaboration going on called Chickadee Road.  You’ve likely seen their thoughtful blog post or their very cool tattoos in photos of folks you know.

Kelly and Liz have added a beautiful new offering to the land of Chickadee Road called the Studio Sessions.  Head on over here to check it out and give them some love!

I think these photos also mean a bit more than the usual portrait session to me as over these past few years of creative online adventuring  these lovelies and I have become good friends.

The photo session was so full of giggles.  Packed full of friend love, of kindred connection and of collaboration.   These two really mesh in the way they collaborate and we can expect some really beautiful things now and ahead for Chickadee Road and for the Be Present Retreats (which Kelly helps Liz run).

There is also a Be Present Retreat coming up this fall, called Unearth with both Kelly and Liz teaching, alongside the wonderful Mindy Lacefield.  I’ve been to 6 (yes 6) Be Present Retreats and they truly are something special.  Liz draws together folks from all walks of life into a really incredible weekend of connection.  I don’t want to spill at the details as I want you to experience it for yourself, but let me tell you…its magical.  You find yourself surrounded by strangers one minute and friends the next.  The introvert in me gets super overwhelmed at really big retreats and have found myself feeling so at home at Liz’s retreats.

So, without further ado, I present to you the gorgeous, stunning and vibrant lovelies of Chickadee Road!

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  • STEFANIERENEEAugust 30, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    beautiful photos and beautiful women!
    love love love!
    xxxReplyCancel

  • L.McG.-E.August 30, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    What joyful shots, I especially the shot of Liz and Kelly leaning back and laughing.ReplyCancel

  • darrah parkerAugust 30, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    Beautiful photos of beautiful ladies! I love how you captured their personalities. I want to hang out in that grassy field with them, too. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jenna/The Word CellarAugust 30, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    gorgeous photos. gorgeous girls. gorgeous spirits (all three of you).ReplyCancel

  • CeliaAugust 30, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    I will be joining these two in the Chickadee Studio Sessions….can’t wait! I am hoping to meet Kelly at Squam in a couple of weeks too. I would love to join them on one of their retreats one day….on my “to do” list!ReplyCancel

  • lisa gonzalezAugust 31, 2012 - 2:48 pm

    Beautiful photos of these gorgeous women. Adore!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea thompsonSeptember 4, 2012 - 3:40 pm

    I recently found your blog and wanted to let you know how much i have been enjoying it. I have been reading back posts and i love your spinning idea and wanted to show you my latest video, i put a little bit of spinning in it. I haven’t even posted it to my blog yet but here’s the you tube link.
    -Andrea

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi4Nk43ziJIReplyCancel

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