After Shirley came back to see her photos, we emailed her some questions about her 'Embrace Your Body' portrait session, and how she found her boudoir experience.
What prompted you to want to take part in our ‘Embrace Your Body’ project?
"The last two years have been very traumatic for me.
Just as I was about to move house after splitting up with my husband, I discovered I had a large ovarian cyst which needed immediate surgery, as the doctors did not know if it was cancerous or not. Thankfully it wasn't, but I still had to cope with moving house and having a major operation within 5 days of each other ... on my own ... in the middle of a pandemic!
I have now made a full recovery but I have been left with a 22cm scar down the centre of my belly. A lot of women would hate this, but I see it as reminder of how strong I was during that incredibly stressful time, so I wanted to take part in the project to celebrate my new body and inspire other women to embrace their imperfections too."
How were you feeling, before the session, on the day itself?
"I was fairly confident but was worried about my ability to pose as I'm not the most coordinated of people! The session was quite exhausting but great fun. Everyone I met was friendly and put me at ease."
How were you feeling about coming back to see your photos?
"I was really looking forward to it, especially as I had seen the most important one - a very tasteful black and white shot of my torso showing the groove of my scar - on Robin's camera just after he'd taken it. I couldn't wait to see it printed up properly and I wasn't disappointed!"
How are you feeling about yourself, now that you've seen your photos?
"Very proud. The results showed my body literally in the best light and I was amazed how curvy and sexy I look."
Is there anything you would like to say to someone who’s feeling apprehensive about having a session of their own?
"Do it, do it, do it!!
You may think you are not attractive, but Anna and her team will prove to you that you are!"
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.