Alex came to me in hopes of coming away with photographs of herself that she was proud of, and that she felt beautiful in. The moment I met her in person, with her vibrant pink hair and her beautiful skin, and the kindness and love that seemed to radiate out of her – I knew we were going to smash that goal.
I’m going to let Alex do the talking now and share her experience with you:
“The moment I saw Jennifer’s photography, I wanted to be photographed by her. I used to be a florist while Jennifer was a wedding photographer. Her shots of our flowers were always my favorite, and for a long time I figured I would have to bite the bullet and get married just to hire her. So, when she moved out the wedding industry and focused on portraiture, I was psyched that I had a better opportunity to work with her.
Even though I wanted to do this, I still put off the experience for years. I always ended up thinking that a professional and artistic portrait didn’t have a practical purpose in my life. So, if I didn’t “need” it then it wasn’t “worth” the money. (Insert eye roll here). Also, I honestly hate getting my picture taken. I’m not going to lie, I started to believe it was my face and not the fact that I have been photographed in terrible lighting with an iPhone by slightly intoxicated friends for the past decade.
Seriously, the last time I liked how I looked in a photograph I was 17. With all this garbage floating around in my head, I just kept ignoring the desire to go for it. However, year after year, I kept having the same urge to reach out to Jennifer. Finally, I pushed past the noise and went for it and I’m very glad I did.
This whole time I’ve followed Jenn on social media, I’ve seen all of these powerful stories of overcoming trauma or fierce statements of badass-ness. I’m always moved by them and I can see these stories in their images. They’re powerful and stunning. This is another reason I love Jennifer’s work so much and I wanted that for me, but figured it wouldn’t really get conveyed since I don’t feel like I have that kind of story. But I also realized, I wasn’t doing this to showcase a triumph. I simply hoped my experience would allow me to become more aware of the positive unique aspects of my physical self. I wanted to try to unearth the contemporary adult me.
I went into this with the mentality of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” but more like, “feel like the person you want to become, not the person your doubts are tricking you into believing.”
This might seem like a truckload of insecurity, but I truly can appreciate my appearance when I’m looking in a mirror. But man, it is a blow to the self esteem every time you see yourself in a picture and think, “Holy sh*t, is that what I actually look like? Yikes.” That rotten thought has been making itself comfortable in my subconscious for a long time, and I’m finally over being restrained by it. So, my final motivation was to test myself by participating in putting in energy into self discovery.
So if you ever thought, “I would love to do this, but…” Then let me tell you, just do it.
I can’t recommend this experience enough. From beginning to end Jennifer was warm and excited. She loves what she does so much. It just radiates out of her. It’s pretty infectious. She has so much pride in her art, the process and how you enjoy your experience that you truly end up feeling stunningly beautiful. It has been wonderful.
Jennifer is literally a gift. Absolutely genuine and caring. She has an amazing ability to connect with people.
I went into the shoot with the mindset of forcing myself to deal with lingering insecurities, but I didn’t verbally let Jennifer know about them. So, it was really reassuring to hear her compliment all the areas of my body that typically make me uncomfortable to show off. I have never felt so relaxed with a camera pointed at me.
This was a journey and it was so worth investing in. Don’t listen to your downer thoughts and just treat yo’ self. You will feel so good about yourself after.
The day of the shoot you also get pampered with professional hair and make up styling. Theresa Balistreri was my stylist and she was so friendly and professional. She has a talented eye for color and shape. She was even able to get my hair to have a beautiful soft curl in it, even though it acted like a toddler having a temper tantrum in public by constantly going limp. Theresa was a real joy to work with. (Thank you Theresa!)
Moral of my story, if you have any feeling of self doubt, do not fear, Jennifer will quickly put those to bed for you.”