Earlier today I was looking through photos on my computer of our sweet man.  I have some frames to fill and ended up re-living some special moments as I hunted for images to fill those frames.

I found the above image in a folder from when our little one was a teeny tiny baby.  I almost passed by the image.  Not because it didn’t catch my eye, it did, not because it doesn’t speak volumes to that time in our lives together, it did.  No, I almost passed by this image because I thought I looked fat.  Yep, there, I said it.  I had just had a baby a month before that.  My body had done something incredible.  Over the 40 weeks prior, my body had turned food and calories nourishment and energy into a living breathing human being.  I was a vessel for a new life to travel from the mind of the Father to this world, where he is on our minds everyday.  I can’t see a pregnant woman, or think about Jonah’s amazing beginning, with out being in complete awe how humans come to exist.

But in this photo, one of the first things I did was criticize myself. Yes, I saw the beauty in the moment.  The beauty of the way that I was looking at Jonah with the love and adoration and awe of a mother.  I saw my sweet dog in the background and the slight clutter of the room, which I neither cared to or had time to tidy up before the photo.  This photo is so beautiful to me.  But I quickly moved past it, I thought, “I won’t ever share or print that one, let’s keep looking.”

How completely tragic and how hugely does it miss this point.  One of my biggest aims in photography is to tell the truth about life.  The beauty-saturated, amazing, messy, incredible truth.  I want my clients to allow me to see that in them, and document it, and give it back to them, from my heart to theirs.  But then here I am, trying to present a “perfect” view of myself, pushing aside the beauty for something that I feel is more acceptable.

So in an act of defiance to myself, I share this photo with you.  And I ask you to look at your beautiful and wonderful and messy life and ask you to embrace it, and perhaps let me document it if you are so brave, we are in this together.

Photo by : Blythe Winslow

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Jess
January 21, 2016
Reminds me of this post, which I love just as much as yours. It's helped me be a LOT more accepting of photos and focus on the moment that is happening, not how I look - just like you said :) Beautiful post, beautiful picture! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/victoria-erickson/i-like-this-picture-of-my-cellulite_b_5474053.html
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    Stephanie Lyell
    January 22, 2016
    Jess, Thanks for sharing! I read this and just loved it...it does remind me a lot of what I wrote. So glad that people are looking past a very narrow view of beauty and embracing the beauty that surrounds us everyday!
    Reply
Debbie Pappadakes
January 21, 2016
Absolutely beautiful post, Stephanie. Your sweet words make me feel even more lucky that we were able to have you document our engagement and wedding. We've never had someone capture our true selves on camera quite like you did in that "beauty-saturated" and incredibly honest way. We'll treasure each photo always, just like I hope you will treasure this photo that you shared here!
Reply
    Stephanie Lyell
    January 22, 2016
    Thanks Debbie!! It was such an honor to document your wedding, and a huge blessing to have people who "get" what I want to do through photography! I hope you are doing so good.
    Reply
Amanda Reifsnyder
January 21, 2016
One of my favorite pictures Jon has ever taken of me was an in-the-moment shot of me mothering a baby who had snuck out of bed, the two of us bathed in the glow of the Christmas tree. It's beautiful, and I love it, but I was at my highest weight, so it's never been my profile pic, or printed and hung. Maybe I'll get brave and follow your lead! I am more than just the sum of my pounds, after all!
Reply
    Stephanie Lyell
    January 22, 2016
    Amanda, Yes!! you should embrace it! It sounds like an incredible photo, one that you will treasure for many years. A photo that holds immeasurable beauty! Print it, frame it, put it in your wallet, do something with that gem of a photo :)
    Reply