This past weekend, I participated in a photo shoot arranged by a friend. She had a long time close friend who is an amateur photographer with a specific and openly stated attraction to larger women. It was an opportunity for us to do something fun for ourselves, and an opportunity for him to practice his passion for photography with two pretty delightful (if I do say so myself) subjects.
It’s not my first time in front of a fancypants camera and lighting rig. It’s not even my second or third time. This is a thing I’ve done before with friends in the past. The exhibitionist in me absolutely loves it – being exposed and captured (photographically) gets my blood flowing. I also generally like to see the aftermath – the images I’ve seen from past shoots have helped me learn to appreciate the ways that I can be sexy, and help me grow my confidence.
So far, I’ve only seen a couple of the images from this past weekend – some previews he’s sent over. It took me a few minutes of staring before I realized why these seemed so different from the others.
Because of the photographer’s appreciation for my body type, the images he has captured (that I’ve seen so far) almost celebrate the parts of me that are usually obscured or out of focus in other images I’ve taken or have had taken before.
It took several hours to process what I was seeing when I first looked at the previews. The way I appear is not how I imagined I looked when I was posing. It was mildly uncomfortable – like when you see a flipped picture of yourself, and that freckle is on the wrong side.
But one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that if you’re feeling uncomfortable about something, it’s worth investigating further. So, I kept staring at it. I’d go take a meeting and then come back and stare at it some more.
Over the course of a few hours, I started to see the shapes differently, a least, in one of the images. I’m still coming to terms with another one that puts my belly on display front and center, almost as if it’s the focal point of the capture.
It was interesting to me – the way I can see myself the way the photographer saw me. All the bits of me that I try to avoid confronting, he was clearly celebrating. That’s why I think it took such a long time to process what I’m looking at.
Because, I am accustomed to seeing and appreciating an image of myself. I’m accustomed to looking at a picture and thinking, “Oh, I don’t look as bad as I thought I did,” or “Oh, I’m not as fat as I thought I was,” and feeling my confidence grow from it.
What’s new about this one is that I’m thinking “Oh, I look even more round than I thought I did….
…but it still looks beautiful.”