Where is the “Real Me”?

I am usually the one behind the camera; the one taking photos of everyone and everything; the one capturing the memories of this moment and of that event. Oh, I try to hand my camera to someone else occasionally so that I’m in a few of the photos in the family scrapbooks. And my older daughters sometimes catch me in unguarded moments and snap a picture or two.

Candid photo taken by daughter Celia Emmelhainz

Candid photo taken by daughter Celia Emmelhainz

I’ve become friends with a woman who started writing a blog as she approached her 50th birthday. Today she is putting the finishing touches on a photography project she started during that year. And she has become a professional photographer. I absolutely LOVE her work. Somehow she makes magic with her camera and shows the beauty of each person she “shoots.” (I’ve suggested before that you visit her photography website HERE.)

Jo captures beauty with her camera...

Jo captures beauty with her camera…

Last summer I celebrated my own 50th birthday by taking a trip to London to visit my sister. Among other things, I emailed my friend and asked about a photography session. As the date drew closer, I realized I was worrying…stressing…not sure I was ready for this. After all, my place is BEHIND the camera, right?

Worrying...about being the "model"

Worrying…about being the “model”

I spent time pondering why I was so uncomfortable having my photo taken. I realized that part of the issue was being disappointed when I look in a mirror…or look at a photo of myself. After all, I have wrinkles. I have thin hair. I have lots of extra padding (lots and lots of extra). That’s not the “real me,” the one I think of when I think of who I am. What happened to the beautiful, slender, young girl I used to be? Where did she go?

The "Real Me" was just waiting to be recognized!

The “Real Me” was just waiting to be recognized!

So, with a bit of fear and trembling, I met my friend. We enjoyed getting to know each other better in person. I met her husband. We had dinner together. I spent the night in her lovely extra bedroom. And in the morning, we headed out to the surrounding countryside.

Beautiful countryside...

Beautiful countryside…

...and a peaceful old church.

…and a peaceful old church.

It was actually far less painful than my dreadings. We laughed. We talked. We got a little silly together. And she took photos…LOTS of photos. I stopped thinking about how I might look and just enjoyed the time with my friend.

Having fun...

Having fun…

Getting serious...

Getting serious…

...with a smirk or two thrown in for good measure!

…with a smirk or two thrown in for good measure!

And somehow, when I got the photos back from her, she had done it again. She made magic with her camera. I look at the pictures and see a beautiful, mature woman. And in the process of being brave enough to trust this friend to capture the “real me” in photos, I received a marvelous gift. I now have reminders to smile at the woman I see in the mirror.

The Magic: Beauty Revealed!

The Magic: Beauty Revealed!

Thanks, Jo. You helped me reach for the magic and be able to truly celebrate who I am at this stage of life! You released my inner beauty and made it visible each time I look in the mirror.

PS—check out this blog post by my friend, Jo Blackwell. In it, she challenges each of us to see the beauty within us. And she includes a variety of photos she has taken of beautiful women (including ME!!)

Photo Credits: 1st photo taken by daughter Celia Emmelhainz, all other photos taken by Jo Blackwell.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 08:41:17

    Such beautiful photos, Dear Jill. Thank you for sharing. Love you, Sharon

    Reply

  2. Admin
    Feb 01, 2013 @ 08:51:22

    I am so humbled and honoured to read this, Jill. The fact that you write that you see the beautiful, maturing woman I saw through my lens makes my heart sing. I’m linking to this post on my business blog today, and hope you are happy for me to quote your words as a testimonial. I wish I could reach more women who want to “release the magic”! Much love, Jo x

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Why I aim to produce more than just a picture… | Celebrate Life with Jo Blackwell Photography
  4. Claire Barber
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 03:23:37

    This is a really inspiring blog entry! Thank you! So many women I know seem to spend so much time wanting to be stick thin and worrying about how we measure up next to other women. This is all about celebrating who we are now – not giving ourselves angst about who we think we ‘should’ be. Love it! And the photos are gorgeous, too. Congratulations to you and Jo! X

    Reply

  5. Celia
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 07:44:22

    I love the photos, especially the last one! ❤ ❤ Jo did an amazing job of capturing you. And now I have an image to aspire to for when I'm 50 😀

    Reply

  6. Trackback: The Saturday Interview 38 – Jill | project5o

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