Friday last week I packed my bags and camera and along with Robyn, (my incredible Mum) we began the 10 hour drive over to Melbourne, Victoria, to spend two full days photographing 18 amazing women.
In the amazing space of Luminosity Studios in Melbourne's Box Hill, would be where we would meet 18 of the most diverse, fun, energetic, vibrant and inspiring women.
We arrived on the Friday night and after settling in to our room and chowing down on some much needed dinner, I spent the remainder of my time before bed emailing and chatting with many of the women I would be meeting the very next morning. There was much talk of nerves, excitement and conquering fears from the women and a lot of reassurance and encouragement coming from my end.
Saturday morning approached and we excitedly entered the studio. We met with our hair stylists Tyla and Alishia and our makeup artist Claire at 9am and got all setup. The women soon arrived and each entered very nervously. As we slowly introduced everyone and they all became familiar with each other we soon noticed that the studio had turned from a space of quiet nerves to a a buzzing of chatter and laughter. Something very special seems to happen when a group of women come together with the sole aim of supporting one another. Each were there to conquer her own fears and overcome individual hurdles, but with one all-encompassing goal in mind -- raising awareness around the importance of positive body image among women today.
The Sunday was much the same... We arrived at 9am, meeting our hair and makeup guru, Bernice and setting up ready to do it all again. Another amazing group of women and another beautiful day of mental transformations. The most incredible thing was watching the mental transformations take place throughout the day. The personal barriers that these women pushed through to achieve their final image is truly inspiring. Overcoming fears surrounding their perceived flaws, fears of judgement from others and the very act of viewing oneself in nothing but underwear (and being ok with what you see) were just a few things these women faced during this emotional and empowering day of women coming together to support, encourage and comfort each other.
We wrapped up Sundays shoot with a quick slide show of all the images we had shot in Melbourne and a big round of applause and a few high-fives! The ladies spent the next few hours sharing their images and experiences proudly on social media with friends and family. "life changing", "...my face still hurts from all the smiling I did..." and "What a weekend!", were just a few of the things these women were saying after the weekend. I couldn't be more proud of these ladies and am so incredibly humbled that these women all believe in this project as much as I do.
Thank you to all that came along over the weekend to face your fears and take a stand in raising awareness around body image among women. x.
Until the next shoot...
Special thanks to the following people for helping make this shoot possible.
Jason Lau Luminosity Studios
Bernice Mansfield Bernice Makeup Artist | Hair Stylist
Tyla Miller Tyla Miller Hair + Makeup Stylist
Claire Warmenhoven Calire Warmenhoven Makeup Artist
Alishia _Hair By Lishh
I was always fairly certain that what I was trying to achieve with this project was worthwhile, but the shoot on Sunday 100% confirmed this!
Each woman, with her own insecurities, her own goals, her own type of confidence and her own expectations, entered the studio on Sunday for what would been an incredibly, fun, nerve-racking and highly emotional day.
At 7am on Sunday the 12th of July, we set up our gear at Total Photographic Supplies Studio in Kent Town, Adelaide. We put out the Tim Tams, muffins and fruit and cranked up that ever eclectic (mostly 90's) music that's always sure to put anyone in a good mood!
We had the amazing Natasha Keneally again heading hair and makeup for each woman and making sure they felt comfortable and confident in themselves before each of the ladies stepped in front of my camera.
This shoot was particularly special as we were also filming for the promo video for the project. The entire day was a crazy experience for each woman and for me too. Not only being photographed but filmed also! I never could have predicted how emotional and special the day would be. I feel like I've formed life long friendships with these previously complete strangers. Their stories, their bodies, their journeys, all so incredibly diverse and incredibly special. I will forever remember this day and these exceptional women!
So a HUGE thank you goes out to the eight ladies that came in on Sunday the 12th of July to not just participate in the project but in the promotion and education of this message. A message the talks of body diversity and body acceptance. A message that says, this is me and this is ok. A message that talks of the importance of self-love and respect for others too!
With the help of each individual woman and her story that is told through the shape of her body and etched on her skin, we can start to show people the true diversity of the physical body among women today!
For a behind the scenes look at Sundays shoot, you can follow us on Instagram at @underneath_we_are_women and Like us on Facebook.
As always, many thanks to you all.
Today we shot the first four women in my new series, Underneath, We Are... Women.
It was a day of excitement, nerves and excitement and NERVES and finally ending in mostly EXCITEMENT!
The women each came into the studio, knowing only that they would be photographed in their underwear. What they didn't predict was how much they would enjoy the entire 'experience'.
They entered the studio feeling scared, nervous, unsure, reluctant but all left the studio feeling brave, empowered, proud and confident!
Each woman had her own reservations about her participation in the project but each were surprised and taken aback by how they looked in their photographs. Seeing the reactions of each woman as they saw their images on the screen made me realise and reassure even myself as to why I am shooting this project!
To ensure that each women received an experience that matched that of a high fashion lingerie campaign shoot, we brought in the incredibly talented Natasha Keneally. Natasha gave each of our ladies just a little dose of fabulousness in the form of her hair and makeup expertise. She made certain that each woman looked AND felt amazing before her shoot.
With the girls ready to go, we asked each woman to de-robe and jump in front of the camera. This was easily the most confronting part of the day. Letting go of your inhibitions, stepping waaaaaay outside your comfort zone and literally baring all. But that was the hard part done! With a healthy dose of relatively eclectic 90's music blaring in the background, the girls soon got into the swing of things. They let go. They laughed and giggled. They got cheeky. They got sexy. And, they got confident!
We rounded up the day with amazing conversations, Tim Tams, and general feelings of "well heck, now that I've taken my kit off and been photographed in my undies...bring it on world!".