Any event we go through in life ends up being integrated into who we are, or who we next become. Whether it's something blissful or painful, we navigate it as best we can given the tools we've acquired so far. While these are uncontrollable happenings, we do have a say over other experiences we go through that can contribute to our arsenal of tools. If chosen wisely, these events can alter us in ways that will better equip us to move through those incidents that lie beyond our control.
The following was written by Miss L following her Freeform intimate shoot experience. It's been a fascinating journey for me to get glimpses into the internal processes that these incredible women have been undergoing before, during and after their shoot. Miss L's description is as beautiful as they come and I hope that she's now left with a greater toolkit for life.
"My Freeform journey began with the thought: "I love this concept, I love what Rudi’s doing but I would never do something like this!" – which then became the reason for why I did it. I figured I owed it to myself to confront my initial aversion and prove to myself that I am worthy, I am beautiful, and I am sexy. The whole freeform idea made me feel very vulnerable; I feared my own judgements and hyper-self-awareness would make me awkward in front of the camera, and that instead of ending up with empowering sensual photos, I would cringe at my trying to act sexy but failing miserably.
Things changed when I received a message from Rudi saying, “Worst case scenario: You feel uncomfortable, tell me as much, we stop shooting and just have some tea”. That was the perfect reminder for me; that this is for me, no one else, I am in control and I don’t have to do anything which I don’t want to. And so, knowing that I am in control, I decided to fully surrender to the experience. I wanted this to be a gift to myself and I had been turning my own gift into a self-judgment feast.
Like everyone, I’ve struggled with my own self image and ideas of beauty and I wouldn’t say that I’m forever free of those struggles, but now when I have doubts I have something concrete to go back to. Images can hold a lot of power, and it’s pretty powerful looking at nude images and recognizing the gaze looking back at you is your own. Being vulnerable is hard but one thing I’ve learnt is that a lot of power can come from vulnerability. I loved the Freeform experience, I love my photographs, and I love the feeling of knowing without a doubt that I am beautiful."
These words from Miss L leave me feeling warm and elated. It seems that my intentions for Freeform are manifesting exactly as I'd hoped they would. Thank you Miss L for sharing your process with us. Your courageous vulnerability has surely impacted everyone who's read your words.