Guest Post: Using Photography As A Mirror
By Catherine Farquharson
We are only as beautiful as we feel. When we feel beautiful, we stand taller, our eyes connect and shine, and our energy has a gravitational pull. Often when we feel this way, the world feels more interesting, and our dreams seem more possible. We all know this, and we all want it. For many, this belief is the essential piece to complete that self love puzzle. We know that if we can attain that feeling, we experience a higher quality of life.
It’s that simple.
Yet, instead of making moves in alignment with that desire, many of us make choices that produce opposite results. We make choices that hold us back and make us feel sluggish, dull and ineffective in life. When that happens, we still want the results that shining makes us feel, without doing the self-care actions that bring it out.
As a photographer, I work with people at all different stages of this ongoing, often life-long process. Sometimes people want their photos taken because they feel amazing and want to celebrate a particular period in their lives. More often than not, however, I am approached by people who, for whatever reason, “have to have their photo taken”, and it seems like coming to me is equal to the pains of going to the dentist.
This experience continues to be interesting to me, because while I work with the external image of people to get the photos we are both striving for, I am actually working with their inside beauty to bring that image out. Despite that, they come to me, a photographer, thinking that it will be me who makes this transformation for them, instead of themselves. They don’t realize it’s really them, because they have a belief that says it’s inconceivable that they are this beautiful — inside and out.
So, I just play along, and make it seem like I am photographing their external selves. All it takes are some light conversations about who they are to see what makes them tick, where their humour lives, and where their values are. I have been doing this work for ten years, and it still brings me so much joy to see someone light up as they talk, and show their true selves as the trust develops between us. As that happens, I click away.
It turns out that no matter how exquisite of an experience we have in the shoot together though, it is still an “image” we are after. Initially, they are feeling like their true beautiful selves, and instantaneously it seems, they are pointing out flaws in their body, or worse, attributing the beauty they see in the photo and the “magic” they say I work, instead of to themselves.
Here’s the thing. I can’t work with what isn’t there. I am, what I call, a Documentographer: a photographer that documents real life, and helps bring the beauty that is already there, to the surface. I work with the real goods. The images are not altered or created in post production. What you are is what you get — the most beautiful version of the truth.
As I said at the start, you are only as beautiful as you feel. An external experience such as having your photograph taken can be a positive step toward helping you stand taller. Let your photos show you how beautiful you really are. Give yourself that permission. Let it be your mirror.
About Catherine Farquharson:
I am a life photographer and story teller that uses photography as a way to explore. With it, I connect, create, and of course, share.
For my clients and subjects, this means what we do is real, and fun. I help you see what you experience — your relationships, your own beauty, and moments in your life. Whether you are an artist, entrepreneur, family or subject in a magazine, my approach is an authentic one.
I love to tell photo-stories from all over the world, which has lead to me to shoot destination weddings in India, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Curacao, Costa Rica and across the the US and Canada. As well, I am committed to documenting humanitarian projects, such as important initiatives in Kenya, Tanzania, India and Rwanda, or through shooting documentary stills such as, the HBO documentary of the first interracial prom in Charleston Mississippi, Prom Night In Mississippi.
For me, photographing people is the capturing of their essence, and sharing back what I saw and felt. Wherever, and whomever they are. Everywhere and anywhere. Connecting, understanding and sharing.