I am very happy to welcome my friend Elvyra.
She is my friend.
We met through her son Valentino, who is also my friend.
Our friendship has been going strong since 2009.
When she agreed to participate in this project, I felt and knew she would be a wonderful addition to this conversation, I was not wrong.
Elvyra comes from Lithuania and has made London her home.
The word inspiration is perfect for her because you she left behind her family and friends coming to England and not being able to speak a word of English. Whilst working she attended school to learn to speak English - her English is perfect.
Why am I so inspired by Elvyra?
As we spoke and shared our lives, I was deeply moved by her story and vulnerability.
She shared stories of her life growing up in a large family of brothers and sisters. Her life was not easy, it was a testing ground for her identity and self expression.
We all have challenges in life and it would be easy to blame life. Please consider this; life is on our side, life happens FOR US not AGAINST US. Who we become, is the point, how we choose to live in the face of our challenges shapes our humanity.
Elvyra is a woman who embraced life and discovered her power and will to live life on her own terms.
She runs her own business in London; a gorgeous coffee shop, people love her, her coffee shop is a haven for the local community of North London. Her personality radiates warmth and compassion for others.
Look at her photograph.
The instant I created this image I was STUNNED.
I was excited for her to see the image on the back of my camera.
As I was directing her how to pose, she fell so NATURALLY into this position and I caught this moment. It is beautiful and communicates confidence, approachability, a subtle hint of vulnerability and yet, I can feel her will, courage and strength of character. A character born out of trials and confronting life.
Now, when she saw the image on the back of my camera, she looked surprised, delighted and slightly shy.
Why I thought?
It occurred to me that seeing herself like this, in this split second, caught on camera, made her feel, IS THIS REALLY ME?
Yes it is Elvyra, take it from me.
I have photographed enough people to know when someone is not being real.
She is real, authentic and lovable.
What do you see looking at her image?
How do you feel?
When I asked Elvyra what does beauty mean to you, she told me “it’s all inside, beauty is inside. Trust is very important to me”
Beauty = TRUST
Right there, you can see her expression in the world, Elvyra is all about trust and rapport. Yes, she is a very beautiful women in terms of her DNA composite and yet her inner beauty goes deeper, if she trust you, you have friend, you have a confidant, you have an extraordinary champion in your life.
This is a gift and treasure beyond price.
I came away with something of value. It occurred to me that this project is all about exposing women to their deeper beauty, they must see and feel inspired by who they are.
We cannot see ourselves as others see us, the camera doesn’t care, it will record the truth and or lie. Either way, the final image will reveal the “truth” of either the “truth or the lie”.
This project is all about accessing the truth, supporting my ladies through conversation so that they trust me and themselves enough to just surrender and allow their natural expression to shine through. My skill as a photographer will do the rest - immortalise an authentic expression forever.
This is a beautiful thing to me.
Thank you Elvyra, you gave me a wonderful gift. xxx