I was the girl in high school who towered over most of the boys in my class. My height was the bane of my existence. Heels were an absolute no-no and not a day would go by without one of my girl classmates pointing out just how tiny they felt standing next to me.
Like a lot of the teenagers out there, I had a terrible bully in grade 12. He focused in on my worst insecurities and tortured me. He would say things like ‘you look like a man’ and would make monkey noises as he passed me in the hallway. He once photoshopped my head on a gorilla’s body and e-mailed it to a bunch of my classmates. I would dread taking the bus for the fear of having to dodge spitballs and would sometimes wait at school until the sun went down so my Dad could pick me up. I’m not throwing myself a pity party here – I’m saying all of this because it got better. I made it through – I graduated and walked into the real world. I discovered the beauty of being tall. I now not only embrace my height, but I adore it. I love the click of my heels on pavement, wearing skirts that show off my long legs and my hips that just don’t lie.
One of my favourite things about photography is taking people’s insecurities, chewing them up, and spitting them out. Everyone has at least one thing they hate about themselves, and they always find a way to make it slip during a photoshoot. I often hear questions like “Do I look fat?”, “Can you edit out my double chin?” or “Is there a way to photoshop my wrinkles?”. To be completely honest, I don’t hear any of this when I’m behind my lens. I’m not focusing on insecurities – I’m focusing on what I find beautiful.
My most recent family shoot was with the Lore family. I’m lucky enough to work with Janet (whom I lovingly call my ‘work mom’) at my part time gig. Her 3 lovely girls decided to surprise her with a family shoot for Christmas and I was beyond stoked. When the day came, she pronounced that she didn’t want her photo taken – “I look too old” she said. I told her to shut up (don’t worry, I don’t do this will all my clients – only with the ones that understand my deep appreciation for sarcasm). So, with Nose Hill Park as our backdrop, I distracted Janet from her silly insecurities while focusing on what I find beautiful about her – amazing head of hair, contagious laugh and her delightful small frame.
Moral of the story: Tell your insecurities to take a hike.
Fun fact: Janet produces the New Hour Final at Global Calgary. The next time you are tuned in to watch the daily news think of her wondrous mane and how fabulous she must look while listening to the police scanner.