PHOTOGRAPHS THAT SPARK JOY

Everyone know the verse from the bible” ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  So that implies that we all love ourselves. But is that really true?

I find that people are often very critical of themselves, and I myself am not an exception. We are often so focused on our little imperfections (a grey hear, a “sleepy” eye, a little extra wrinkle here and there), so we completely forget to see the full picture of who we actually are!

Times and times again the following happens. I’ll be showing someone a really great photograph: perfect lighting, great pose, nice genuine expression with a sparkle in the eyes, and then I would hear something like : “my eye looks so weird.., my hair is sticking out,  or my nose is so big.. or anything in those lines.”  People become so focused on that one little imperfection that they have in their head, that all they see on a photograph is that one THING that they do not like!

Let me share a little story with you. From my childhood I had one front tooth that was crooked. I grew up in Russia, life was quite hard back then, so fixing my tooth really was not my parents’ priority, so I suffered in silence…. I really hated that ugly little tooth. I thought it was is making me totally uninteresting and unattractive to everyone around me. I did not smile properly, instead I had a fake smile-like expression that made sure that my tooth was covered. Whenever I saw a picture of myself, first thing I would check was whether or not that little tooth of mine can be seen?

About 4 years ago I finally had a chance to get it fixed. I had a a brand new crown on top of that tooth and my smile was brighter and wider than ever. I was smiling at everyone in the office where I worked back then (expecting lots of compliments).. but to my surprise nobody seemed to have noticed anything different about me. And the same was happening with all the other people, friends, acquaintances… none of them seemed to have noticed that my crooked tooth was no longer there.

Couple of weeks later I went back to my home town and I was sure that at least my childhood friends & my family would notice the difference. But the same thing happened back at home, nobody seemed to have noticed anything different about me.

I remember that moment, I was sitting with my sister in the kitchen. My sister is my closest and most trusted friend,  she knows me inside out. So when I asked her to look at me and tell me if she can see something different, she looked and looked and looked, and she said “sorry, I can’t find anything..” So I said to her: “have not you noticed that my crooked tooth is now fixed?”… And then she told me: “What tooth? I never even noticed that you had a crooked tooth!”

That was a big lesson for me…The only person in the world who worried about that tooth was ME! and if I had known it earlier, I probably would have learned to like and love myself a little sooner.

My role as a photographer is extremely important…. Through my images I want to help people to re-discover how beautiful they really are and walk away with the images that they absolutely love!

Love so much that they simply fall in love with themselves!