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Beauty and Beholden

This past Monday, I had another photo shoot with my photographer, Celeste Giuliano. It marked the thirteenth photo setup I’ve done with Celeste, since 2007. Of course, it being the thirteenth shoot, we were cursed with a few difficulties (late trains, blown lights, and rain!), but I had an amazing time, as I always do.

I first started these photo shoots as a way to feel better about myself. I’ve never considered myself a Gorgon, but, I’d started to feel plain, unnoticed. Kind of worthless, actually. Especially when I looked around and saw all these beautiful others, who weren’t me.

Gorgone ceramica

By Italiamoderna at it.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Celeste’s pinup shoot sounded like a great idea to get out of my personal rut. I contacted her, and she sent me some possible photo ideas. I started simple, but, over time, experience, and nurturing, I feel like I’ve really grown into the sexy, assertive woman I’d always wanted to be. Testament to the true photographic auteur she is, Celeste has given me a lot of free reign over the years, too, to push outside the boundaries of “typical” pinup shoots. I went from a rather tame Veronica Lake look, to an Andrews Sister nosecone pinup,  girl boxer, 30s vintage Follie, a dark-haired Barbarella, and beyond.

Pinups_CollageAs well as being inspired to do these photo shoots, they also inspire me. For days, even weeks, after a shoot, whenever I look into a mirror, I remember how empowered it feels to be proud of who I am. I don’t see the flaws in myself, but what makes me beautiful. I try to remember those feelings when I look at my work, too.

When we review scenes, chapters, or whole stories for editing, we often focus on the imperfections. That’s not a criticism of editing and revision; it’s important for us to note where our stories can be stronger, what we can change to make them better. But, sometimes, in seeing all those imperfections, we can lose sight of what’s beautiful.

Never forget the essence of your story. It may not be as handsome, as charming, as strong, or as popular as the one you saw while strolling through the aisles of your book shop. But it’s got its own beauty. Nurture that. If you do, you’ll feel – like I did, after my latest photo shoot – like you’re fifty feet tall.