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Self Portrait Marathon: Session 3 - Just as I am

Just As I Am Self Portrait Session Professional Poser

I had it all planned out. I was going to try a version of a photograph I created years ago with natural light and shadows.

Styling ✅

Lighting ✅

Props ✅

Make up ✅

Hair 🤔

I was ready.

I failed miserably. Turns out the sun… ☀ Way better at creating those harsh shadows I needed.

I’ve never done such things with strobe, so I expected a challenge. Rather than spend more time troubleshooting, I decided to move on and ended up right back in my safe place. In comfy clothes, being stilly and smiley. 😋

My goal for this shoot was a more serious look, not something my face is great at without making those around me nervous that I’m angry, lost, or on the verge of a stroke. Though I didn’t get what I set out for, I am much happier with the results. I came right back to a Just As I Am Self Portrait Session.

Life is way too short. I promise myself, I will try harder next time for what I set out for. But, in the meantime, how much fun did I have creating these images with myself?!

The me time I get to spend reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for, is FAR more therapeutic than goldfish. 🐠

This time of year guides you to reflection as we close one year to open another.

2023 was a hard year. The hustle caught up to a lot of us. Some really took a beating. It got harder to answer, “How have you been?” with anything other than an eye roll and a grunt. 🙄

I noticed this change for a lot of people. I feel the need for empowerment and encouragement now, more than ever.

Now more than ever, we need to walk in victory, instead of hanging our heads.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” --James 1:2-3

The lessons that I learned this year are abundant. I feel like I got to know the now version of me. I am and always will be that same girl y’all new from grade school. But she comes with accessories in the form of joy, gratitude, life experience, and less patience. Jk… 😂

This year I was at a crossroads at the beginning of 2023, approaching burn out quickly. It was either fold up shop, or change how I was operating.

As a business owner and an artist, the education never stops. There will always be something to learn. Industry evolves and so must we.

In 2023, I invested in more education for my business. In college, I learned how to be a struggling artist. I learned how to create debt that doesn’t bode in your favor. I learned how to surround myself with much of the same. So, while my art creation and expansion is on point, I never learned how to get out of survival mode.

And when burn out hits you, it’s a perfect opportunity to reset and transform. Art is meaningless when you lose your passion for it.

I am so grateful for the trials that prompted the lessons that prompted the change.

And when I look at these photographs, I see everything God has used for good in my life. Everything that was painful, uncomfortable, and exhausting that God turned around for my benefit and elevation. Every curse broken. Every blessing multiplied.

I see strength.

Yes, I see imperfection. Yes, I see the flaws. Yes, I see the wear and tear. But, I also see the beauty in those things. I’m starting to appreciate them more. The elegant symmetry of those lines that have their own narrative.

I am excited and hopeful for the future. I know it’s in God’s hands and He’s got me. So many opportunities to be creative. So many opportunities for transformation. But no matter how much change comes, I always come back to just as I am.

I leave you with the lyrics to “Just As I Am” written in 1836 by Charlotte Elliott

“Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidd'st me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

Scroll through to see "Just As I Am" Self Portrait Session 3.

BONUS: Did you know I come from the dance world? I've been a dancer since I was four years old and teaching for over 20 years. It is my first art love and I snapped a few dance shots in my playful state. It felt good and hurt all at the same time. There was limping involved. Enjoy!

Did you miss the last Self Portrait Marathon Session? Read Here

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