It’s pretty easy for us to forget who we are or even who we wanted to be after years of care taking, raising a family, or just plain years later.
For many of us – it’s not that our husbands, boyfriends, or partners don’t make us feel beautiful or worthy – the catcher is that we don’t quite feel the part ourselves.
There are those of us who have never really seen or been able to appreciate the inherent beauty of our selves and the expressions and attributes that are uniquely and endearingly ours. Instead I think we hope that some day we’ll stumble out of bed one morning and peek into the mirror and suddenly see that woman who’s finally appeared (but who really looks nothing like us!) She’s longer, leaner, shorter, smarter, curlier, calmer, funnier, smoother, thinner, straiter, whiter, shapelier, darker, perkier, leggier, blonder, hipper……. and in the meantime we punish the one who looks back at us from the mirror, unconsciously chastising her for not somehow getting it right. again.
If you are anything like me then you might get lost along the way in the land of low self esteem, resignation, cynicism, and self criticism (I have a frequent flyer card).
My neighbor Robyn Ivy is an incredibly accomplished photographer who like many of us – look’s like she has it all handled. She’s a hip Mother of two, recently divorced, smart, talented, lovely, insightful and pee your pants funny. I never would have guessed she even had moments like the afore mentioned had she not also been the kind of authentic and refreshing person that she is ~ laying it all out there. I was both amazed and mildly horrified by her candor- and so began a friendship.
The night before she came over with her camera she’d been pretty upset. Her new foret into dating was kind of difficult given that she was pretty unwilling to be vulnerable with anyone, and the moment she finally let him in, …he bolted- pushing every button of insecurity she possibly had to the penthouse floor. There was nothing I could do of course, except listen, hand her a tissue, and nod my head empathetically…
Because great and twisted minds think alike our best revenge was to embark on a photo odessy that was aimed directly at getting relief through humor, make- up, and good girlfriend snarkiness and although both of us snickered our way through the various poses and and contrived sprawls with the intention of loading the images on Facebook ( he was still a “friend” after all) we found instead that something entirely different actually ended up happening that had nothing to do with him.
As we went through the photo’s and edited them, sure -we laughed and giggled and snorted, but the process itself was quite remarkable because it provided a catharsis that went far deeper than either of us imagined. The entire process, as well as the outcome had truly empowered her and gave her back something she felt she had lost somewhere along the way: herself.
In the weeks that followed the results of the shoot had a lasting effect, a kind of “balancing” effect and for some reason gave Robyn permission to hit the “reset” button and take inventory of the things she wanted to accomplish. Somehow seeing herself in the photos allowed her to step OUT of her head and see herself in a way she desperately did not even know she needed.
Since then, we’ve gone on to get similar if not more powerful results from the subsequent women we have photographed. I’ll continue to post the results as well as a few interviews over the course of the next few weeks and you can see and hear for yourselves the kind of impact this project has made so far on each of these amazing women.
After some discussion we decided to call this “process” something that we would continue to develop and document. We decided on the name The Revelation Project because, throughout the process, “something” gets found, unveiled, or revealed that was not previously available or accessible. I’m sorry if it sounds hokey… I’m just the photographer.
Here are the photos of Robyn taken that day. Since then we have photographed a total of 15 women and counting… follow their remarkable insights, stories, and interviews by subscribing to our posts or following our progress on TLC’s “Parentables” blog where we will also be documenting our collective progress. Thank you always for your feedback, comments or cries of outrage!