Gulp. Deep breath, here goes.
This is a picture of me in a bathing suit.
Why yes, I am 20 pounds overweight with an extra chin, and if you look close, you'll see I have a growing set of "laugh lines" too. So at this moment you're either thinking "Man, that's brave." or "Yikes, she's a mess." Either way, I'm supposedly an adult, so I'll get over it.
Every day I hear the phrase "I hate the way I look in pictures." I hear - "I hate my nose." or "I'm too fat."or "Can you photoshop my wrinkles?"
I'm here to say "Please, for the love of everything - STOP IT."
Because what you see, and what those who truly love you see are NOT the same. Not even a little bit.
What you see: A smile you think you hate.
What I see: A photograph of you, with your grandchildren - who are laughing, happy and loved. I see an image that your children and grandchildren will cherish more than words can ever say.
What you see: 20 pounds more than you had 5 years ago.
What I see: A mom, who sacrificed her body to carry her babies. I see a newborn in her arms, who she can't stop looking at adoringly. I see love in it's most innocent and perfect form.
What you see: Wrinkles, age spots, crows feet, gray hairs.
What I see: I see years of love and laughter, earning each and every wrinkle and gray hair. I see a beautiful family tree, that started before you, and carries on because of you.
So come on friends, give yourself a freakin' break. Look at something bigger than yourself in the pictures that get taken of you. Do you really think that your family loves you less because of your gray hair or your weight?
I struggle with my own confidence daily, but I'm trying. It truly scares me to post that picture of me in a bathing suit. I'm no different than anyone else when it comes to my self image in photographs. But I won't hide from the camera because of it.
I won't hide because of the two year old in my arms in the picture. What I see now, and what he will someday see are not the same. I hope that he will see that he's loved and that on this particular day he had fun with me at the pool.
As photographers, we do our best to try to put you in your best light to make you feel better about your flaws. But more often than not, you try to find them anyway.
So I'm asking you to look beyond the flaws, just once. And then maybe again, and again after that. Make your relationships matter more than your insecurities.
And if you can't do it for yourself, do it for the people that love you...
...in any light.