How to empower an empowerment photographer: make her feel pretty. A few months ago I was part of an unconventional empowering photo shoot. Normally that could mean any number of exotic and hilarious things. In this case it means my friends turned the tables on me and made me feel unexpectedly beautiful. We had planned a girls night out, but my photography studio and good music called us. So we decided to stay in, dress up, sing and dance the night away.
In the beginning of my career I was so fueled by learning I would throw myself into the process of just PLAYING. My girl friends and I would do our hair and makeup and we would experiment to our hearts content. This resulted in unexpected failures and even better unexpected ART. Some of my favorite photos and paintings were born during a playtime photo shoot.
I truly believe if you can transport your heart to the place where you are one with the creative process (where you are open to both failure and success) you can discover so much about your work and self. You’ll fall in love with the process and the resulting artwork. It’s magical to find the place where you happily lose time.
Lyndie and Brittany insisted that I get dolled up and get some photos too. I still can’t get over the generosity of their gesture. I’d planned on letting them take a shot or two of me, and I would do the majority of them. They insisted that I be the center of attention.
I warned them that they were dealing with a perfectionist and that it might get frustrating to be ordered around. I directed them on how to hold the camera and help me pose. They were patient, kind and loving. And there was so much laughter, I think our abs will be sore for weeks.
It’s been so long since I was part of a photo shoot that was purely for fun. This was not for my portfolio, it wasn’t for my website, it was purely to feel beautiful and sexy. To be on the receiving end of someone cheering you on, telling you you’re stunning, making you believe you’re as beautiful as you wish you could believe… It was empowering and made me understand better what I’m trying to do with my life.
It’s difficult to describe how therapeutic it is to see photos of myself where I’m SO much smaller than my previous 250 pounds. To see myself and think, “Dang! I’m skinny! And pretty!” Those five little words are precious and powerful. And I said them. In my head! Which means my heart knows it’s true.
This was so unexpected. I’ll never be so happy to miss a girls’ night out. Considering how much I love a night out dancing, that’s saying something. These girls were able to empower an empowerment photographer. That’s no small feat.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, Iman Woods.