Back in 2008, myself and nearly 70 other women, who have never met before, did something we have never contemplated doing before! We stripped off our clothes in public, for a photo shoot designed to confront our various body issues, with the aim of liberating ourselves forever, and freeing ourselves from our self imposed misery! As these incredibly brave girls, filed through the door, with nothing more than their fluffy dressing gowns to protect them, many of them arriving completely alone, there was an enormous feeling of “oh my god, what am I doing here?’ After all, there was no materialistic prize bringing them here, nobody but themselves that made the decision to take themselves along to a strange location, and reveal themselves to a room full of strangers, in a way that prior to this event, was strictly for those moments home alone, in front of the dreaded mirror.
It’s hard to describe how this shoot has changed many of our lives, but thanks to the hundreds of emails I received this week, the affect has been greater than I had ever hoped. Everyone had their own story and reason for being there on that special day. Here are just a few:
Louise – St Morris – I have been battling with an eating disorder for the last 5-6 years. It’s a constant up hill battle especially when it comes to mirrors or being photographed. I still can’t believe I got my gear off, not even my fiancée gets to see me naked that often, but I am so glad I did. Being able to get the courage up to do that makes me think I can take on anything, maybe even starting to see myself how my family, friends and fiancée sees me, as me!
Claire – Hillbank
As a young mum who had her second child only 10 weeks ago I have been feeling down about myself – stretchmarks, scars from emergency c-section – the joys that come with childbirth!!! As women we can be our biggest critics and it was beautiful to be a part of a group of women that was so supportive of each other in a way that enabled us to be happy with ourselves
Schammy – Hawthorndene – I took part in the group photo shoot, and it was the most empowering and liberating thing I have ever done. This has shown me and others that we are all amazing and beautiful in our own right, and we don’t need society saying what we should look like. I talked to my young daughter and sons about this later that night, a life lesson we should all learn. And even better I felt so empowered and good about myself that I instigated a conversation with my ex-husband, about things that I had wanted to discuss for a while. And it was a good talk, (one we have not had for a while).
Sophie – Hackham ‘ …not only was I proud of myself of doing the semi-nude photo shoot, but my boyfriend was so proud of me that as I walked in the door, home from the shoot, he asked how it went, told me he was proud and asked me to marry him! I now have a beautiful diamond ring and a fiancé!
On a very cold winter’s day, it was as if a beautiful ray of sunshine had somehow broken through the ceiling, and lifted some imaginary dark cloud that was hanging over our heads. There were literally tears of joy, and beaming smiles from every corner of the studio. It was if a whole different bunch of women had suddenly filled the room, and left holding their heads a little higher. They were proud, light, and hopefully women that would walk back into their lives and be happier mother’s, daughters, sisters and friends.