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30 Years Later: An Exercise in Extreme Self Love

I had this idea for a long time before I executed it last November. To replicate a shoot I had done 30 years and 40 pounds ago, and write about the process. I figured it might ‘bring some stuff up’ but I was surprised at how distressed I was when I first saw these images (a photographer friend helped me recreate the shoot, the originals were shot on my own with a cable release).

It’s not that I don’t know what I look like, but this shoot really gave me the opportunity to obsess about my sagging jawline and neck which somehow that bothers me more than some back rolls, which means I’ve logged more hours/years into loving/accepting my body’s changes and the gravity of aging is the next frontier – and yes I know its a privilege, but such are the struggles of the super vain who have sought to find their validation in these pervasive patriarchal standards

In our culture Thin + Young = Beauty

and I’ve internalized that but good…AND…I’m here to show up, take up space, be the change.

This is what reclamation looks like

Kind Eyes was born out of my own Beauty Wounding and I had to Kind Eyes myself through this process. I had to dig deep for self love and sometimes it’s more like body neutrality which can be a step on the self love journey or a place to land in and of itself.

I have been communing with Saturn and feeling all the weight of Time bearing down on me, and somehow I have come out the other side feeling super fierce. I am proud to say I love these images stomach and all and that means all this work I’ve been doing is sinking in – I just saw a flat tummy app on Instagram and I was so horrified – I am grateful I have made peace with my womanly stomach and surely peace with my neck is on the way (and I’m grateful to my goddess bestie who told me my shape looked like any work of art one would find in a museum when I was lamenting about my stomach. That was a really helpful shift in perspective. Girlfriends are awesome like that.)

Sisterhood really is everything*

I am grateful to my friend who told me she sees angst in the younger images and confidence in the now.  I am grateful that I can see my Beauty and feel my depth and celebrate this moment in time when I bravely took ownership of my body and my narrative.

Just for the record, I did not retouch or filter any of these images. This is me at 58.

Yes I have been known to stick some botox in my face to attempt to slow down the aging process and
yes those are my real boobs. Recently I was watching an interview with Billie Eilish and she was asked her favorite thing about her body and she said “my boobs, I love my boobs” – same, Billie same.

I offer this as a companion piece to a Valentines’ post from 2014 – in it, I wrote that this younger version of me had no idea of her beauty, worth or value. I am happy to report that now I do.

I am the oldest and biggest I’ve ever been, but I am also the most radiant

Wishing you all SELF LOVE NOW

February 14, 2020

http://www.kindeyes.com/before-there-wer…s-self-portraits/ ‎Edit

Thank you to Ashly Othic for the photo assist
@livinthedream_photo

*Sisterhood: I have the most bad ass pussy posse who have my back and are always there to shine a more favorable light on my dark tortured soul, All thanks to Mama Gena forever

 

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Kako at the Bibliothèque Nationale

Meet Kako. She’s gorgeous, full of spark, sassy, creative, well-traveled. She lives in Paris with her gorgeous mostly
well-mannered teenage son. We have known each other for 22 years, since the year I lived in Paris (I’ll let you do the math)

note to self: might be fun to do that again

We are all getting older. For the chronically vain (yes, that’s me), it is an ongoing opportunity to practice self-love and adoration. Owning one’s Beauty is a choice, one that we must make again and again.

At the moment, I’m winning the battle against self-negating thoughts and judgement – I am living in self-love in a way I never imagined possible. When I can give that gift to any woman, it thrills me to the core. When I can give it to a dear friend, it is all the more meaningful.

At the time of this shoot, Kako was about to turn 47 and she was going through some man trouble. These photos turned out to have a deep healing effect on her bruised psyche and she was shrieking with glee to see how gorgeous she is…encore et toujours

I took these images 3 years ago. I was still living in a prison of unhappiness with my ex and had not yet freed myself. Being in Paris cracked me open using Pleasure as its crowbar. It was the first trip I had taken on my own in years – not with my mom, not with my ex –  but with old friends who knew me, who remembered I was fun and creative and made me feel that way too. Doing these shoots was as much a gift for me as for her. Reconnecting with my passion for photography reconnected me to my creative spirit, my art spirit. I know she took pleasure from seeing herself through my eyes and feeling confidant that she was still rocking it.

Turning 50 this month, happily back together with Mr. Trouble and about to travel to the US twice this year, Kako’s future is looking pretty bright. A bientôt ma chere, et bon anniversaire XO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Power of Selfies

As a photographer who has taken self-portraits throughout my life, it was very natural for me to start taking ‘selfies’ with my phone – after all, I’ve been doing it for years with ‘real cameras.’

IMG_5579The idea of a “selfie” sometimes evokes a negative reaction from people. Maybe they think it’s narcissistic, an example of how social media is ruining the world. For me, this video is a must-see for anyone interested in girl’s and women’s self image – it really illustrates how the act of photographing ourselves can be an act of empowerment,  a way of claiming our unique Beauty for ourselves, as well as how insecurities are passed on from generation to generation.

One of the young women in the video states, “I was surprised when I heard the girls talk about their insecurities. When they said they were insecure about things, those were the things that made them different, but the things that made them different made them unique, and that made them beautiful”.

As Sophia Loren said many moons ago, “the Beauty of each person is found in their imperfections.”
What a wise child to come up with that on her own, from her own heart…but it is a TRUTH…and if taking Selfies can help girls have a more self loving experience going through their teen years, or hell, 50 teen in my case, I think it’s a wonderful thing.

Jessica Lovejoy of the Huffington Post makes the point that “we are creating our own definition of Beauty” – one with which I whole heartedly agree. For more on the positive effects of Selfie-ing, Click here for the full article.

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This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to take a self loving selfie, by yourself or with your mom, daughter, or loved ones and take a moment to celebrate wonderful glorious alive YOU, wherever you are on your journey to self love…Claim your birthright, your DIVINE BEAUTY <3

For more on my journey to self love through photography, click HERE XO

 

 

 

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Before The Selfies…Self Portraits from my Heart of Darkness

I have selfied for so many reasons…but mostly  for the same reason I am motivated to photographs others, to document a moment in which I felt HAPPY, to celebrate my life. There are selfies with my adorable teenage cousins, selfies with my mom, selfies with my nephew, selfies in Paris, New York, Hawaii.

For me, taking these moments with myself are generally an act of self love, a time out to connect with myself in the midst of family chaos, a foreign situation, a date gone bad, or just because I’m wearing a sparkly dress and I feel awesome.  In the social media curated  version of my life, I am always having a good time.

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I spent much of my younger life battling a debilitating depression, and when I look at the self portraits I made then, I see the me that is seeking confirmation of ‘enoughness” – that I really am beautiful, that I really have value. I wasn’t making pictures back then because I was having a joyful moment, but because I was trying to find myself in a moment.

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These polaroids, while awesome artifacts I cherish now, were upon viewing judged ‘not good enough’, hence no film was shot. But notably not so with the series below.

I took this series of nude self portraits for an assignment, for a class I took in Colorado at the local CC after I had already graduated photography school, just to get myself shooting. I was 27 yrs old, my dad had passed away, the boyfriend I had moved there to be with had broken up with me, and I was just starting therapy. I did not know my beauty worth or value. jam-7-22014-02-13_0010jam-5-2

so this is an ode to my completely raw unretouched self, in all my perfection that I couldn’t see then. All these selves still live in me and I am grateful to have found a greater peace, to be able to choose to own my Beauty and validate myself.

One Lifetimes, Ladies…Let’s Love Ourselves

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

Elizabeth Etienne - I remember some of those pics and I remember that girl. And that time. Such magnificent images and so totally different from the kinds and quality of images we make today.

Yes you were sad from time to time but I also think you’ve always been simply a deep thinking person- a soul searcher, a traveller in your minds eye and someone who was and is always on a quest to explore life, and the camera’s medium. Call that depression or call it just a quiet moment during your self reflection in relation to the appreciation for life.

You are and always were a great photographer and who isn’t more readily available to shoot than ones self. You’ve also always been an awesome writer and now you have the opportunities to share them both as you fine tune your craft and appreciate the roots of their early beginnings.

Such a beautiful girl and such beautiful images. Thanks you for sharing all of you with the world.

Bunnie - So absolutely awesome!! Thank you for sharing. Happy Valentine’s Day, my sweet Jill.

Sara - Thank you so much for sharing. So timely for me.

Leslie - So beautiful, raw and transparent, thank you for sharing!

The Power of Selfies - […] For more on my journey to self love through photography, click HERE XO […]

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