I went through The Revelation Project for the second time in early November. It was a trip.
In preparation I filled out my pre-shoot interview and gathered my thoughts about any props I might bring- fashion items, things that might be meaningful to be photographed with…
Because I have done the Project once before – I wanted to maybe explore other parts of myself. I really just wanted to push the edge of the various aspects of “me” in ways that I’d never really embraced before. Because there are three main segments to the photography workshop piece I wanted to see three aspects of myself:
1) The “My Style” way I usually dress which is jeans and earrings and hip but not too “done”.
2) The ( I cant even bring myself to say it yet) side of me… and
3) The Fashionista side of me who likes to be glamorous and edgy.
Ok- I know I need to tell you what #2 is now so here is where I will invite you to share my vulnerability:
I have this aspect of me that fancies myself as some kind of cloaked lady of the woods. Ok. There I said it.
Since I am barely ever outside – this is pretty hysterical.
I’ve always wanted to star in some medieval movie like King Arthur, or Robin Hood, or Lord of the Rings or something- It’s so whacked and yet- it’s so much a part of what I resonate toward. Embarrassing- but, is this because as adults we don’t usually let ourselves “pretend” or give ourselves permission to just “play”? Not sure- I’m going to go out on a limb here and venture to guess that this is not normal. I guess I’m willing to embrace that. *sigh*.
I searched high and low for the right costume/outfit to bring this personality of mine to life (Go Sybil!) and settled on this great “gown” from Closet Revival which is one of my favorite stores in Newport and an awesome shopping experience. If you like gently worn clothing- racks of vintage gowns mingle with edgier modern fashion. Shoes, handbags, coats, and things you just can’t find anywhere else pack the store – which I think is also clean, and well organized – something you also don’t always find in a re-sale shop very often. Kim Fuller met me there about a week before my shoot and we spent a tremendous amount of time giggling in the dressing room as I tried to fit my increasingly curvaceous form into pantsuits meant for twiggy. We ended up with all kinds of crazy gear including a white gown, a teal fur coat, a pink tulle skirt, a brown velvet bustier, and some jewelry.
The day of my shoot was clear and bright with the perfect amount of overcast and because a lady of the woods is kind of hard to capture in doors – we went out.
The first portion of my shoot I was dressed in my typical style- where I felt most comfortable and natural and yet, I still was having trouble finding my center. It was so un-nerving having all eyes and attention on me. I kept reminding myself to breath but I was actually hyperventilating.
Then, for the second portion of my shoot… (Oh, dear lord whose stupid Idea was this anyway?) can someone say AWKWARD!
First of all I barely EVER wear dresses so I was tripping over the hem and second of all, my “romantic and feminine” get- up was making me itch!
The girls ( Andrea, Terry Lee and Kim) had created some sort of technology tangle for me in the woods – I think they were going for a artsy, nature meets technology juxtaposition.. Oh, god! so so funny.
and as much as I tried to relax into my pre-imagined role – I was anything but. I felt like a complete jack ass! ( oh and Kim Fuller DID not edit or approve these ones that don’t have a logo to be seen by the public so mums the word- please!)
Until I couldn’t deal anymore and then I just laughed. If you can’t laugh at yourself – what’s the point really- right? The absurdity made me laugh even more when I saw the photos for the first time. BAHAHHHAAA!
The final portion of my shoot was the most fun and carefree. I was finally relaxed enough to just play and I got into my final outfit and felt great so I started to jump and run to get some of my nervous energy out. This was Kim’s favorite outfit. We’d chosen this pink tulle skirt thing, a chocolate velvet bustier, and a hot teal fur coat. They paired me with a pair of white cowboy boots for the cherry on top. Oh, and lets not forget the flower headband to hold my hair off my face so that I could no longer “hide” behind it.
I walked over to the location with my dog, Jack because he was joining the fun and on our way we passed an elder woman who walked very slowly and deliberately.. until she saw me and stopped. She stared at me as I walked past her and I proceeded as though It was perfectly normal to dress this way while out walking my tiny dog and mentioned as I passed how glorious a day it was.
The hidden path behind my house was the last location and it was covered with leaves and had scenic salt box houses lining the perimeter. It was late in the afternoon now and I felt exhilarated as well as relaxed now that my adrenaline had run it’s course. I finally surrendered to the last part of the shoot and just enjoyed feeling like a kid dressed up like some fashion contestant on What Not To Wear. I found a final freedom there and worked that path like the super fashion runway it never was- so fun and so funny!
My “Revelation Project” had only just begun. The photo – portion of the project is only one aspect of the journey and as I lay in bed that night I found myself reminiscing about the day- what it felt like to dress up, laugh, try new things, get creative, give myself permission to just go with it all. Part of the experience is about being in those moments- where you leave your already always being with the world behind and try on a new possibility. The most important thing a woman brings when she comes is her willingness.
The many facets to the experience are difficult to capture at times, but the impact can be profound in more ways than you might imagine. I was, for the day – in the care of those I trusted. I was able to be seen in ways that I am both comfortable with and uncomfortable with – with absolutely no judgement ( except for my own) and I was able to surrender to a deeper piece of myself that day- the one who is more courageous and who coaxed the side of me who hides behind pieces of hair and looks at the world with only one eye- to come out- and face the lens/myself.
The project isn’t about looking good… but just looking.
Who will you see?