My theme for today’s challenge was Love … quite unsurprising in view of the fact that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Have you bought a card for your Valentine this year? Or are you a last minute bunch of flowers from Tesco’s kind of person?
Or maybe you don’t celebrate a Valentine’s Day at all … and that’s ok!
Because the kind of love I want to talk about today is self-love! Love yourself first! Self-love is essential for our mental health, our wellbeing and for any healthy relationship. As RuPaul says “If you can’t love yourself, then how in hell can you love someone else?”
When was the last time you said kind words to yourself? When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and you saw beauty? Kindness? When was the last time you stopped and felt the love around you? When was the last time you felt grateful?
This photo idea came into my head while scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration … but what I had found was the complete opposite. A lady was sitting in a subdued position while some negative words had been written on her skin in Sharpie. Now, I totally understand the concept … but it did make me feel like it was reinforcing self-loathing rather than encouraging self-love.
So I decided to do the opposite!
I did toy with the idea of either using myself as a model, or an actual model for this … but I didn’t want the object of my photograph to have an identity. Because I wanted each and one of you to be able to identify with it …
So one afternoon, I walked into the New Look store in Chichester, with my business card and asked the girl behind the till if I could borrow one of their mannequins for a couple of hours, for professional reasons. Needless to say they were slightly confused, but very accommodating, and I can’t thank them enough. Five minutes later, I was walking home with a mannequin under my arm, and I only bumped into a couple of people I knew. I tried to pretend I was completely normal …
I also decided to use a slightly different lighting. When I photograph people, I often use my Westcott Apollo Orb light box, but on this occasion I wanted to see what would happen if I bounced my naked flash off the white wall behind me. It’s a technique you might use when your flash is attached to the camera to avoid the harsh shadows of direct light pointing at your subject. Also, a technique I hadn’t used since I started using light boxes over 4 years ago. So it was a bit of an experiment, but a very successful one at that!
I love the white on white image, it is by far my favourite! But since I had a mannequin in the studio, I figured I’d try it on the black background too. What do you think? Which one do you prefer?
So from now on, let’s all try to make an effort to be kind to ourselves, be more loving, more forgiving, accepting ourselves the way we are. Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves, how lovely we are, how happy we are, how brave, worthy, sexy, joyful, pretty, unique and loved we are.
Love yourself first!
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day for Thursday!