Ellie’s journey.  She is 44 years old.  She walked into my studio with a mission. She began to tell me she had body image issues and her journey was to believe and appreciate herself, and to be her very best.  One part of her journey was to lose 100 pounds; she reached that goal and her reward was to document that achievement.

I asked Ellie to describe herself to me and she responded; “funny, smart, loyal, trustworthy, empathetic, compassionate and eclectic.”  When we started making portraits I could actually see these words coming through my lens and in her eyes as she smiled and giggled.  I felt her energy and beautiful spirit and it made me feel happy.

I asked Ellie what she liked about herself and she replied;

“my hair, I love my hair.  I love it when it’s all curly from being washed, I love how dark it is, but also my strands of wisdom (grey) show up against the dark of it.  I love how tall I am.  I love how strong I am.  I love my shoulders and how strong they make me feel.  I love my little waist my ‘violin shape.’  From a lifetime of not seeing my natural beauty, I’m working on embracing myself fully and accepting my heritage of sturdy yet soft and strong body type I’ve inherited from my French ancestors.  I am still self-conscious about my rear and thighs.”

I asked Ellie about her hobbies; art, nature, embroidery, learning.  She loves flowers and lace and camping.

I asked her how she saw herself being photographed “sweet and innocent/maybe sexy too”  She is known to her group of friends as “warrior.”  If you spend time getting to know her you will understand why. This explains the images of her with paint on her pretty little face 🙂

A gift Ellie gave me; stop judging myself and love who I am, what I am, and work to change the things I can.  I notice as she speaks that she used the words “self-conscious” instead of  “don’t like or hate.” I like this approach and decide to change my mindset for my own issues.

My mission was to make her see with my eyes.  LoveLoveLove to you Ellie.Ellie Debose EllieDebose EllieDebose EllieDebose EllieDebose EllieDebose EllieDeboseEllie