I’ve been wanting to take this photo for a while. Years, actually. The reason it’s taken me so long is it terrified me. The idea of taking a photo showing the real me, the unretouched me, was an idea that filled me with dread and empowered me at the same time, equal measures of the opposing emotions.
Note: This post contains a portrait that may not be work-friendly.
When you’re a photographer, you have Photoshop and the skills to use it at your fingertips! And it is so easy to touch myself up! I can mold myself into the most ideal version of myself!
Here’s the thing, I live in a world where I am constantly photographing the most “desired” women. I shoot them so frequently that slowly but surely, over the years, it has broken down my self-confidence to 0. I compared myself and saw I came up short — so short, in fact, that I felt like a Hobbit next to everyone.
My favorite things about people are their imperfections. I adore the story behind scars, the pattern of moles, the shape of one person being completely different to the next… Yet with me? I just felt like a failure, a goblin, a nobody.
Why do I want so bad to be thin? I’m not sure, it might be that the entire world celebrates thin people, attractive people and if you don’t fit the ideal you’re told to try and be that way, to lose weight, to have better skin, to work out. You’re shamed for being fat, and more so nowadays, you’re shamed for not being ‘healthy’.
The health culture has turned into its own elitist club where you’re frowned upon if you eat a burger. I don’t want to be invisible or be ashamed of my size, my belly, my cellulite. I want it to be okay to be unique and be accepted — no elitism, no beauty hierarchy, no shame.
So here is me.
I haven’t retouched my body, I haven’t nipped it in or smoothed it out. I’m not posing to be flattering or stretch my body out. This is me. I hope that this makes those who also are scared of their truth to feel braver, more accepting. For those out there who are lucky enough to currently fit the world’s ideal of beauty and size, I hope you don’t look down on me.
I am flawed and I’m not going to hide from it anymore. I can create photos no matter what I look like, and that’s empowering too.
About the author: Alexandra Cameron is a professional photographer based in the UK. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Cameron has experience shooting weddings, bands, actors, products, events, fashion, beauty, and self-portraits. You can find more of her work on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.