“You never want to look in a mirror,” Lula said. “Men love mirrors. They look at themselves doing the deed and they see Rex the Wonder Horse. Women look at themselves and think they need to renew their membership at the gym.” Janet Evanovich, Seven Up
Women are completely different creatures to men. There are more women than there are men and we have a much earlier sell by date. The suggestions from the mass media and fashion world lead most women to believe they should really look like fourteen year olds. These and other social factors have created unrealistic aesthetic ideals, which have riddled most women with an infinity of complexes. Most men are at very least accepting of the way they look. If they are Italian and uglier than a mussel (Italian saying), they will still find a mirror irresistible.
Most women shred photographs of themselves. The most common thing I am told by a bride is that she is not photogenic. Even features men find attractive like a big bottom, can send many women into a tiring and endless spiral of self-hate.
I spent 20 years hating the way I Iooked. Which wasn’t really surprising considering that at 19 I weighed 98kg. I was told I would never change anything I did not know and accept first. Years later, I have lost all the weight but have many days where I feel like a hippo with PMS. I have taken to taking images of myself just then, when I feel fat and ugly. The remarkable thing is, I am never as fat or as ugly as I think I am. The really strange thing is, the better you feel about yourself, the easier it is to take care of yourself. Self-hate is an energy drainer.
I love the look on a woman’s face when she sees a picture of herself that she does not hate and maybe even likes a little. It’s become my obsession. Maybe because I know what it’s like to be crippled by the life threatening disease of self hate. Isn’t it strange how when we look in the mirror, what we see is completely tainted by our emotions and preconceived ideas and beliefs. But something magical happens with a photograph. Some how a photograph is far less tainted by our toxins of self-hate.
A wedding day is one of the most beautiful days in one’s life. It is also one of the most stressful. Being stressed is bad enough but having your photograph taken, when you are stressed and hate having your photograph taken can be pure torture. Brides tell me I look better in spontaneous images because I am un-photogenic and I hate the way I look in pictures. But the truth be told, the less photogenic and the more complexed you are, the more you will benefit from a little posing to hide the parts you don’t like.
This does not mean there will be non-spontaneous images. But rather that time should be made to shoot some flattering portraits. And there is no better person to do it with than a person who knows what it means to hate the way one looks. Men can never really understand this side to women. Men don’t realise that the very first thing a woman looks at when she sees an image of herself is if she is looking okay. Most girls don’t even expect beautiful, they are happy just to accept something that is not humiliating or devastating. What do I mean by devastating? Winged arms, double chins or cellulite. Equally terrifying are ridiculously embarrassing poses. Most men don’t notice these things and few are sensitive enough to make insecure female subjects at ease. (NOTICE I SAY MOST MEN).
Having lost 30 kg three times, I have gained a unique ability to make people feel at ease and more accepting of themselves. Passing on the light gives meaning to my work.
“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” John Joseph Powell, The Secret of Staying in Love