In every session, event or wedding I shoot … I try to find something that connects me to “the story.” I perceive my role as a photographer /a storyteller who cannot speak with words, but only with pictures, visions and feelings captured in a frozen moment of time. It’s something I innately do to help draw a connection with whom or what I am photographing to best tell their story — the joy, the bliss, the excitement and sometimes even the pain.
Last year, I launched a new line of photography geared toward empowering girls and women — single ladies, married women, mothers, moms-to-be, sisters, aunts, best friends — to help them feel beautiful, strong and comfortable in their own skin. And I wanted to begin this project with a special group of women I knew would bring magic and beauty in front of my camera.
Meet Maria …
I met Maria in a broadcast journalism class during my time spent at Long Beach City College. I remember instantly noticing her kind and warm personality, she’s one of those people that naturally radiate — someone who could get along with ANYONE, and she also happened to be totally funny + gorgeous. My friendship with Maria is one I thank Facebook for because through it, we’ve managed to keep in touch all these years. So when I decided to launch my beauty portrait line, she was among the first on my “immediately contact” list. And when she jumped in with both feet and agreed to be one of the first group of girls I’d photograph, I was ecstatic!
Well the night before her shoot, I received an email from Maria letting me know that a series of unforeseen events had happened that left her dealing with a lot of heartache — someone she loved had betrayed her trust and she found herself in a whirlwind of emotions and not sure whether she should show up for her shoot or not because she wouldn’t be in the right state of mind. It’s funny, because we had this entire back and forth conversation through a few emails and while I know words you read can never do justice to the depth of your feelings, when I read her email I knew exactly what she was feeling, it was all too familiar. I knew that hurt before in a past relationship, I knew how much pain she was in because I had been there before and I let her know that. And among my last few words, I wrote:
“I think it’s good to do something for yourself and get away from that at least for a few hours. Whatever you decide, do what’s best for you. If you come, I promise to keep it fun and and help you try to escape for a little bit 🙂 But if you want to postpone for another date, I totally understand!”
I cannot explain to you how happy I felt when she responded with the words, “I’ll be there.” And that next day, she came as scheduled. I remember opening my front door and feeling an instant pang in my heart when I saw her … I have wore those same swollen eyes that have likely had little sleep but have wept for hours, I have held that same painfully tired smile that masked so much sadness inside. My friend was in pain, she was so sad and broken hearted and all I wanted to do was make sure she knew, that in due time, it would all pass.
For the next few hours, we focused completely on the present — my awesome hair & makeup stylist Karis pampered my beautiful friend with hair and makeup, we carefully choose her wardrobe and I photographed the heck outta her. Knowing what I knew she was going through that day, I could still see the pain behind her vivacious spirit. But I also saw a woman that I knew would come out of this rough patch in a better place and with a much better appreciation for life as a whole — well because that’s what women like my dear friend do 🙂 They find out they have more strength that they could have ever imagine, they realize they deserve nothing but the best because they are the best, and they realize that when life sometimes veers off path into tough times, it’s because there is a better path to take.
Well I am happy to say, this wonderful woman has indeed come out on top — a better and stronger person with so much to appreciate in life, both personally and professionally. My girl is doing her thing!!!
Maria, I love you to pieces and I hope whenever you see these images they show you not only how beautiful you are both inside and out, but also remind you of how far you’ve come! Sky’s the limit from here on out 🙂 XOXO
(Before makeover photos are a fun part of showing my wonderful clients how a little pampering can change one’s entire look and how the carry themselves. It’s all part of the transformation process in one of my modern beauty session. I think women are honestly the most beautiful in their natural state, completely untouched and fully present and comfortable in their own skin. But getting dolled up is good too — it’s good for the soul and the spirit and YES it is a TON of fun!!!)