Why I don’t digitally alter your body without your request

We are not born hating our bodies.  We spend our earliest days in wonder, discovering fingers and toes.  Parents dote on every ounce and kiss every chubby fold.

Then we grow. Everyone remembers the first time someone told them that some part of themself was less than lovable.

I have an announcement to make and I want you to understand where its coming from and also what it means when you choose to hire me.

In the past I wanted you to love your pictures so much that I did some slimming, chin lifting and zit zapping.  Recently I removed a birthmark from every picture of a perfectly beautiful child thinking it was a boo-boo.  The same week, one brave momma asked me to put her chin back in a couple shots. She could tell something was off.  

I felt ashamed.  I made changes because I felt at fault: I chose the angle that showed love and connection instead of the most flattering chin.  I thought a red spot was an aberration, not a norm. I was making a judgement about what was or wasn’t beautiful about a body when I decided to manipulate digitally without permission.

I am trying hard to stop judging bodies.  Key word: trying. Mostly, I am trying to gift myself with this love. After reading Sonya Renee Taylors, “The Body is Not an Apology” I realized how important it was for me to begin with how I see others. When I see every aspect of other bodies as beautiful and good, I extend that grace to myself as well. And it’s working.

We live in a filtered, Photoshop culture where skin-lightening, fine-line-smoothing and bulge liquifying have become the norm.  Every image you see on social media has likely been altered. Even your camera phone is programmed to smooth your selfie and you can’t turn it off.    

If retouch helps you to love your photos more, all you have to do is ask!  I have no problem doing retouch, I just don’t want to drive that decision.

And this: when you love an image of yourself in your gallery, you are assured that you are seeing you. No bullshit, no fiction.

There are no bad bodies, that’s what we’re teaching our son.  This is part of practicing what we preach professionally as well as personally.

Yours in gratitude, radical self love and authenticity…. Mel

Leave a Reply