This may seem like an odd post for a wedding photographer but I promise it will all make total sense. I'm not trying to be a page 3 model, I'm simply facing some demons.
All my life I have been such an easy target for bullies, by dressing differently and dyeing my hair colours of the rainbow I have welcomed bullies. Two of the easiest words to come out of their mouths were 'fat' and 'ugly'. I know I'm no size 8 model and I don't have a face like Sienna Miller, but those words have stuck with me and made my life absolute hell. I just do not love myself. I fight demons every day who call me fat and ugly and as a result of this long term bullying that started at such a young age, I actually believe this to be true.
I annoy myself with these constant thoughts so god knows what it's like to be my friend or boyfriend. Having to constantly listen to all this self-abuse. It's tiring.
When I take out my camera at a wedding I am instantly inundated with negative comments from all the women around me and I'm constantly having to tell them that I won't Photoshop them "younger" or "get rid of their bingo wings" as they don't need it and they are beautiful as they are.
There is absolutely no way that I would ever use any form of photo manipulation to change how anyone looks. We are all real, beautiful people who all look different.
But... who do I think I am going around telling women off for saying negative things when I myself think the worst of my looks? So I decided to take some action and have a 'body confidence shoot' with the amazingly talented Alexandra Cameron.
It was absolutely terrifying, but in the end I had nothing to be scared of. Alex made me feel so much more comfortable than I ever thought I would feel and it was over a lot faster than I expected. Then it was just a waiting game for the photos to come back. I genuinely expected to hate them all. I thought I was going to cry. But they came and I loved 4 out of 6 of them. 4!!!
Now that to me is an achievement. I know what I dislike about the other 2, but I also know what needs to change in my own head in order to like them. I'm so angry and disappointed that I've let bullies from my past affect my life so much, so much so I'm ready to change. It's only take 12 years since leaving school to realise things have to change.
I'm hoping that in my own journey to self-love I can help others as it's totally unacceptable to be in a world where we don't love ourselves.
So as a note to those of you who want me to 'make you beautiful' when I'm photographing you, I simply cannot make you beautiful as you already are and I am there to capture the beauty. Beauty is the couple who cannot take their eyes of each other. Beauty is the father who is holding back his tears as he sees his daughter in her wedding dress. Beauty is the smile of someone who is genuinely happy. Beauty is the uncle who rolls around on the grass with his nephew.
Beauty is everywhere, I cannot make you beautiful but I can show you how beautiful you already are.