I am very happy to share with you my Celebration of Karen.
First things first.
Karen and I first met through our mutual friend Carol Pyke. I remember thinking at our first meeting how bright and illuminating her energy was and is.
When we met today, this was our first meeting and opportunity to get to know each other. Thanks to social media, we have shared messages backwards and forwards so it had begun.
Being in each other’s space today added to things and I can tell you, she and I were both congruent in our being and sharing.
My experience of Karen was just delightful, her spirit and expression was just as open, bright and welcoming.
I had no agenda in terms of where our conversation would go. I just surrendered to the process and trusted myself to let it flow.
What came out was fascinating.
I discovered a woman who is on a mission. Her purpose is to empower the lives of women. She is a professional Life Coach and is out to make a difference.
Just in this conversation alone, I could see an aspect of her inner beauty - she has a very compassionate and generous spirit. She is the kind of lady who will not stand by and ignore someone suffering.
Think about that for moment as you look at her photograph.
There is no doubt in my mind that Karen is out to share her love in the world. This shows up in how she interacts with people and shares herself.
During this conversation, I was studying her face - this is what I do as a Photographer. I am looking for the best way to capture the authentic expression. I could see the photograph I wanted to create in my mind.
As we spoke and shared, I could see and feel her natural energy and spirit. I felt a lot of humanity coming from her.
I asked Karen what does beauty mean to her?
In her own words; “beauty means to me coming from the heart”.
Read that again...
Coming from the heart presupposes that we actually feel something, about a person, an issue, anything that we are dealing with.
Coming from the heart could also mean expressing the truth.
For Karen, coming from the heart is all about the expression of love.
She was very clear when I asked her about having her photograph taken.
I asked, “what do you want people to think and feel when they see your image”?
She responded emphatically; “LOVE”💜
I ask you all to take a moment and just look and be with her image that accompanies this blog post. Allow yourself to be still as you look and feel.
I knew instantly when I saw this particular shot on the back of my camera that this is the one. This is the shot that communicates everything about Karen and how I experienced her today.
I see beauty in terms of her DNA composite - the energy and spirit oozing from her eyes is just too gorgeous for words.
The camera doesn’t lie - my technique was simple - one Camera, one Lens
Nikon 50mm 1.4
Shot wide open to defocus the background. I knew I wanted Karen to pop off the screen. All the “Visual Weight” is on her face and authentic expression.
Photography is a very powerful medium for capturing and communicating an idea.
My idea is to capture the truth about women.
The truth as I see it and as I experienced it in Karen is that all women represent the possibility and expression of love.
The expression of love is a choice.
The expression of fear is also a choice.
My conversation with Karen today inspired me with hope. I hope that all men can look beyond the surface DNA beauty of women and actively seek and celebrate their feminine power.
In celebrating that feminine power, women can trust our masculine power to hold that sacred space.
Thank you for reading; I hope it leaves you inspired with a new perspective on beauty.
Allow me to introduce to you my friend Catherine Love.
We first met at one of my show when I was performing in Brighton at a Fund Raiser for our mutual and departed friend Lynn Hazleden.
We have been friends ever since, thanks largely to Social Media, however, our connection has been rooted in deep friendship, respect and love for each other.
When I started this project, I knew I wanted Catherine to feature, because if you read any of her post on Facebook, you will experience truth in her words. When you meet her in person, she is 100% congruent in her offline personality and self expression.
Today, we met up and enjoyed a wonderful conversation about Beauty.
These conversations always, and I mean ALWAYS open up further dialogue around relationships, family, childhood. At times it can get quite confronting. With Catherine, I experienced a woman who has had to endure a quite a bit of challenges in life.
I asked her how does she cope? in her own words; "I try to find something to laugh and smile about”.
Right there, you can see a woman who has a very positive relationship to life.
As she said to me today; "Life doesn't happen to us, we happen to life".
My experience of Catherine today was one of joy and reverence for life. She has reached a point in her journey where she recognised that she has been the creator of all that has occurred in her life. She now is walking the path of reclaiming her identity and celebrating herself, her family on her own terms.
Look at her photograph above.
What do you see?
The energy her exudes, would say she is sad, resigned and cynical about life?
As soon as I created this image in camera, I knew this was the look and expression I wanted from her. We both discovered something, she cannot help smiling. Smiling is Catherine's unique and default gift to the world.
How can you feel sad when she drops one of those smiles on you? No way.
This is Catherine Love, love by name, love by nature and this authentic expression of hers is a wonderful gift to the world.
We are blessed to have someone in our world who is so generous in sharing this part of themselves with us.
She is my friend and I am proud to call her my friend.
Please welcome my friend Shuborna
We have know each other for the last four years give or take.
We met when I was performing at a West End Magic Show called “Late Night Magic”. This show was created by Richard Leigh of False Impressions, I was the support act to my friend Julian James.
She was a regular member of the audience and I was always struck by how cheerful and happy she appeared.
Our conversation for this project would you, believe is the first time we have sat down and taken the time to get to know each other.
Firstly, I am delighted she agreed to be featured, as you can see from the image above, she is very attractive.
Our conversation revealed a young lady who is embarking on a voyage of self discovery. She shared very easily what Beauty meant to her.
In her own words; “beauty is what we have inside - it’s an inside element of who we really are”.
I just love the different ways this can be expressed.
In her words, I could see the virtues of the spirit: kindness, self love, treating others well, treating ourselves well, patience, compassion, this is an endless list of possibilities.
With Shuborna, l can say that I like her, I respect her courage and willingness to engage in this conversation - personal stories were shared by us both and we could both see each other’s lives and world. It takes mutual sharing to really get to know someone, trust and rapport can be initiated fairly quickly, it does take time however to consolidate.
Beauty is found in our vulnerability - it takes courage to be kind, open, loving and compassionate.
This life presents many challenges that can rob us of our joy.
Shuborna is full of cheeky joy, that is how I first experienced her at the magic show and it was present today.
I saw this cheeky playful energy as part of her charm, also, she has embarked on some really exciting work which will cover wellness for others - you can see a young lady willing to be of service and contribution to the wellbeing of others.
Take a moment to reflect on her photograph.
What do your see?
How you feel?
Can you feel her playful energy?
Thanks for reading x
I am absolutely thrilled to have Anne-Marie on board in this Celebration of Women & Beauty Through Visual Imagery.
When I asked her to be a part of this project, I could really feel her apprehension and vulnerability. In experiencing her this way, I just knew she would be perfect.
I was not wrong, our conversation was fantastic.
I go into these conversations completely EMPTY. I have no agenda or expectation. I do have some set questions in mind, however, the guts of the conversation comes from my subject.
Anne-Marie was open, honest, vulnerable and real in sharing herself with me.
As a young women, her experience of physical beauty was a reflection of how men related to her. She found this to be a very negative experience, it almost took her self-esteem away. She told me that she wanted to leave how men viewed her and just become herself without their input.
Let me tell you, she shared some photographs that were taking in her 40s and she looked STUNNING.
You have probably heard the term “Trophy Girlfriend”. Well this was her occurring world and It became a huge burden as she experienced the limitations of her physical beauty through the eyes and behaviour of others.
In her own words: ""Beauty had to be deeper than the way that men viewed me".
When viewed in this context, I am not surprised by some of the revelations that came out in her self-expression. I was delighted by the realness of her life. I got present to the fact that as a physically attractive women, I could see why men would relate to her as a physical being.
We entered a space where we got to see the dawning of a new possibility, a new realm of expression and possibility. As you can see from her photograph, she present a solid presence as a women, the eyes are strong and confident - the vulnerability is still there, I can feel it.
Our conversation covered areas of physical and emotional intimacy, being liked and appreciated for who we really are. We questioned the reality of authentic beauty beyond the composition of our DNA.
Truly stunning was the realisation, that here we are at a very mature age questioning “Who Am I”.
Out of her own mouth, I heard Anne-Marie say, “I want people to look at my photograph and feel I have a lot more to contribute and share.
Just consider; love, contribution, being of service to others are virtues rooted in the realm of beauty and spirit. Our bodies are ageing, who we were in our 40s is an old conversation. What we look like today is the reality of what we look like.
Our spirit is everlasting and unchanging.
Study Anne-Marie’s photograph.
Allow yourself to feel what she is communicating.
Thank you for reading.