This is a story about about self-esteem and how becoming a portrait photographer completely changed the way I perceived other people, and inadvertently myself.
Insecurities and self-esteem: We are our own worst critic
After meeting and photographing many different people, people who I thought were absolutely gorgeous, I’d almost do a double take when during our conversations, they’d tell me how not-beautiful they felt.
After that happened a few times, I truly began to appreciate the reality of this saying “We are our own worst critic”.
As a portrait photographer, I repeatedly experienced this thing where I’d spend a good amount of time with a person, finishing a portrait of them, look at said portrait and think “wow, who is that person?” I mean, how could a picture make you feel like you were looking at a completely different version of the same person?
This significantly changed something about how I saw people. I started to see them as much, much more than what I perceived within my first moments of meeting them.
And because I began to see other people this way, I slowly began to transfer that to myself. I didn’t notice it while it was happening, but one day I realized that it didn’t bother me anymore, not even a single bit, that these dark spots on my face may be here for a very long time.
I was okay with it. Suddenly, it didn’t matter to me anymore (as I applied my glossier skin perfecting tint) that my skin might never be as clear as those of the models I saw on Glossier ads, the same ads that made me buy this product.
For what seems like the first time in my adult life, seeing beauty and feeling beautiful deep down in my core, has become my default state.
I feel beautiful
Because I have thought the same about every single person I have ever photographed. And if I think that these people from all walks of life, who come in different ages, shapes, sizes and complexions are beautiful, then surely I cannot be the odd man out. I’d have to be pretty darn special, and nobody is that special.
I feel incredibly powerful because I am able to create beautiful portraits of people, some of them the best photographs of themselves that they’ve seen yet.
We are a sum of our life experiences, and our scars, wrinkles, sun spots, broken and healed bones and bi-weekly adult acne breakouts are just as much a part of who we are.
Finally, if all else fails (on days when the lows creep in, and I start to feel not so good about myself), I gently remind myself that everybody is just winging it. And they’re too wrapped up in their own life, dealing with their own challenges, to even notice what I think are my glaring imperfections or shortcomings.
I’d love to photograph you, and show you a portrait of yourself that maybe one day you’ll look at, and realize that you couldn’t be any more beautiful even if you tried.