What happens when you get women of all different backgrounds, all different shapes, all different ages together for a group photo shoot? The concept was simple. What would they experience? What would I experience? How would they come together? Would they share in the glory of each other? Would they embrace what makes them similar and celebrate what makes them unique?
So many questions went through my mind as I thought about this shoot. I knew I wanted it to happen, I knew what I wanted to prove with this shoot. Every day, surrounding us are images of other women, other people that we are supposed to look up to. We begin to feel like we aren’t a good enough mom, not the best wife, need to lose more weight, have to have the best skin, must buy better clothes. It’s never enough, WE are never enough. Just go look at your news feeds on social media – it’s in our face all the time. Here’s the honest truth from me — you are amazing just as you are! It’s time to celetebate and love yourself, stop comparing yourself to what you see, and stop competing with others around you. Because, guess what – at the end of the day – we all share a similar journey. We’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves. And, there’s more commonality in each other than there are differences.
More Love, Less Competition!
Each woman. So unique. So beautiful. I wanted to show them that even in their differences they had more that bound them together. I wanted to push their comfort zone. Nothing about this was going to be familiar to them. I knew that getting them into an uncomfortable situation was going to help them to grow. Outside, in front of each other, nowhere to hide, you can’t conceal your cellulite, stretch marks will be there for everyone else to see. But, they would SHINE like stars during the time we shared together.
Each felt a bond, gained a new level of confidence, and saw themselves through my eyes and the eyes of others. So much empowerment is to be gained when we stop competing with each other and embrace the journey we all share.
We’re better together…this PROVED it!
Watching them embrace themselves, and shower love and encouragement to the others that stand with them. No more competition. No more comparison. No “I wish I looked like that.” No “I’m not as pretty as so and so.” Just a total embrace of everything you are and everything you offer to this world!! The imperfections that each woman sees on their body aren’t even focused on by the other women. They see courage, power, strength, vulnerability, humility, compassion, determination. They see you for WHO you are!
What I saw is that each of them struggle with something. They worry about certain parts of their body…NONE of them are immune to those concerns. We all have them. At the same time, though, we have to work at changing our focus. There is so much beauty in ourselves that goes far beyond what our bodies look like! We must choose to focus on the aspects of ourselves that make us who we are – your personality, your spirit, your soul. The depth that we have as women far surpasses our surface looks!
Hearing them encourage each other as individual photos were taken was unbelievably uplifting – you could see the confidence soar to new heights of the woman that was in front of my camera. It wasn’t just me yelling positive things to each woman … I got to hear the other women encourage her, hoot at her, make her feel like a supermodel. The joy (energy, love, understanding) you feel when someone recognizes you for the amazing woman you are is a wonderful thing to capture! You see, there’s no hiding during something like this. Don’t like your cellulite, oh well – it’s there for them to see. Want to hide behind someone else? You can’t. What you begin to see is that we all have these things we worry about – stretch marks, cellulite, rolls, lumps, bumps…but, it’s all there in each of us. It’s not abnormal, it’s not something to be ashamed of, you can still be a kick ass woman, take part in a photo shoot and have stretch marks. The more you see it, the more comfortable you become. Don’t hide from it – come face to face with it – that’s what I wanted to do.
No more hiding!
The lesson you learn is that while you are vastly different women, you share some common charactertiscs. And, the heaviness that you put on yourself about these perceived imperfections begins to fall away. It’s the most empowering shoot I’ve ever put together. I felt it, they felt it. I want to help these women to take control of their feelings, focus on the real things that matter in life and share love with those around them! We waste far too much time on things that don’t make a difference in the end. Focus on what matters, be someone that people want to be around, encourage and uplift one another, and love. Just love.
To me, these photos depict what real women look like. Real women who stand up with each other, stand up beside each, stand up to lift each other up. They represent what I try to do each and every day with every woman I photograph. The only thing standing in your way is you! Show more love, shower it to everyone around you. Don’t compete. We’re all unique and amazing beings, and we’ve got something special to share with this world! You will never be able to find those things that bind you together if you are constantly comparing and competing.
It’s all about love – love for others; love for yourself!
Enjoy some photos from the session. I’ll include some quotes from the ladies themselves!
From Kari, “The ambassador shoot absolutely meant the world to me. I’ve never met such strong, beautiful and above all kind women in my life and I’m honored to call them my tribe. Maura’s vision and these ladies’ drive will change the world, one empowering photo shoot at a time.”
From Ashley, “I cried with such happiness and pride to have been a part of something so amazing. Maura this shoot was so amazing and uplifting for me. To finally be in a room full of gorgeous women and to not feel like any of them were judging me or worrying that they were picking apart my flaws like I do. Not a single one of them did anything but love what each and everyone of us brought to the table. I am a better person now just from being a part of this shoot. I see women in a whole new light. Thank you for letting me be a part of something so fu*&king awesome!”
I gave them one photo where I removed cellulite, at their request. It’s the below photo:
Lastly, I’d just like to tell every single one of these women how much they mean to me! These are all past clients of mine who have touched my life more than they’ll ever know. Their journey continues long after their shoot, and sharing my life and business with them has been a wonderful thing for me. These women stand beside me in spirit each day. THEY motivate me, THEY push me, THEY make me want to be the best version of myself. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for going along with my crazy idea. Kari, Ellen, Shannon, Alysse, Athena, Leah, Ashley, Heather and Angela – I LOVE YOU! You showcase everything I want to be!
(For the record, everyone was so nervous at the beginning to be outside….by the end, they climbed onto a truck bed without hesitation. That release is so wonderful to see – it happens in every single photo shoot)