Anyone who comes to us for a session is asked if they are happy for us to share their images. This client has chosen to keep her images private, but would like to share her experience with you.
When she first got in contact with us, she had been working on her confidence, self esteem and self belief, and saw the 'Embrace Your Body' project as the perfect opportunity to embrace how far she had come.
What prompted you to want to take part in our ‘Embrace Your Body’ project?
"I was prompted to take part from your advert on Facebook. Having gone through a recent programme of CBT, and working very much on getting to know myself, managing my feelings, and building my own confidence and self-esteem, one of those aspects was my feelings towards my body.
I look back over the years at the time spent worrying and being self-conscious about certain parts of my body, right from about the age of 8 or 9 years old. And now I hear my 10 year old daughter doing the same. As the years have passed and my body has changed, aged, and got more imperfections, I look back and wished I hadn't worried, it was certainly better then that it is now!
I hate that my daughter finds fault in her perfectly healthy body. Which got me thinking, rather than focusing on what I would love to change about my body, why not celebrate and appreciate what I do have. After all, as the years continue I will look back at this time, as I have my younger self, and wished I hadn't worried. So .... this year I have been embracing my body, feeling more comfortable with it, wearing shorts for the first time in about 25 years, and feeling grateful for my health and strength.
When I saw your advert it just hit me, I should do this, celebrate my body for how it is now, and be able to look back and appreciate it for what it is. I actually felt quite excited about it all when you called me (your enthusiasm helped) I knew this was something that has interested me in the past, as friends of mine have done it, but I didn't think I would have the confidence to actually do it myself. I have also learnt recently, that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone usually has positive mental effects."
How did you feel about the session itself on the day?
"On the day, I felt mainly excited. I definitely had a wobble, whilst having my hair done! I become a bit nervous and thought I would feel very uncomfortable being in my underwear. However, Robin and Holly very much put me at ease, and made me feel quite relaxed very quickly.
A big part of this was Robin telling me how to pose and keeping the whole experience relaxed - I was quite comfortable just following his instructions, and Robin kept it light hearted and fun. I was surprised how much I was enjoying it, but even more so, how I wasn't at all self-conscious about my body — it was just a body, my body, and it is what it is."
How did you feel about coming back to see your photos?
"I was actually much more nervous about coming back to view the photos. Having come away from the shoot feeling very empowered, during the time in between I had convinced myself I wouldn't like the pictures, my make-up will look too heavy, I won't like my body and it will emphasise all those areas I don't like etc etc.
I was worried I would end up with an even bigger hang up about my body - I am a catastrophic thinker after all!!"
How are you feeling about yourself now that you've seen your photos?
"I can honestly say when I walked into the studio and saw all my pictures up, it took my breath away and brought a tear to my eye. For starters, I had to look harder to believe it was actually me! Then I was stunned at how beautiful they were, not me being beautiful, but the photos were so beautifully done, real art! I loved them all.
The photos were exactly what I hoped for, to see my body in a positive way, appreciate it for what it is and celebrate its beauty. I have actually always thought the female body (all shapes and sizes) is very beautiful, and Robin has a magnificent talent of capturing it.
I have come away feeling embowered, confident, proud, and extremely grateful towards my body but also to Anna, Robin and Holly for helping me appreciate it."
Is there anything else you could say to someone who's feeling apprehensive coming along for their own session?
"I can't put into words how highly I would recommend this experience. I hear so many people (as I did) say 'I couldn't do it' but I know you can and you won't regret it!"
The Embrace Your Body Project is all about empowering women to love themselves and their bodies, as they are, right now.
It's about embracing our bodies, whatever flaws we may think we have, and accepting ourselves.
It's about showing that nobody is perfect, but that we are all beautiful in our imperfections.
And it's about sharing that experience with other women, to help them on their journey to body confidence.