What makes you feel beautiful?  For me it’s not always about how I look. Sometimes it’s about how others look at me.  Or I feel beautiful when someone really takes the time to listen.  It’s hard not to feel beautiful in a spectacular setting or gorgeous scenery.  I can see beauty in others when they do a beautiful act of kindness or gratitude.  There is beauty in a skilled artist plying their craft.  And a genuine smile is always beautiful.

Sure – great hair and skin help, makeup can enhance, as can an outfit that fits in all the right places (or hides in all the right places) but inner confidence always shines through.  As a makeup artist and photographer, I dwell on the definition of beauty a lot.  I dislike society’s rigid definition and the commercialism and materialism that goes with that.  I am against covering someone up and making them appear different because that is what is expected or we are told makes them beautiful.  Strangely, it took me a while to be okay with glamour portraiture – was I was surrendering to other people’s beauty standards?  I soon learned it was actually empowering.  A portrait of you, at its most basic – is you.  We are just showing you how beautiful you are, how the rest of the world sees you, using our skills to silence that inner voice that may tell you you’re not photogenic and producing pictures that bring you joy.

A couple of beauty related quotes that resonate with me:
“Beauty without expression is boring” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The mirror is the worst judge of true beauty” Sophie Nam
“Beauty is whatever gives joy” Edna St.Vincent Millay

At the moment I feel most beautiful when I’m training (strong is the new black y’know) and when my body can do all the things I ask of it. And when my baby wakes up, looks up, recognises me, and smiles.

So what makes you feel beautiful?

photo credit: Derby Digital

cute baby

originally published 28th Feb 2017 via Richard|Mayle Portraiture