Photography changes us. We are becoming less interested in words and more interested in images. Photography has changed the culture too. Dorothea Lange documented the plight of the migrant farm worker in the years after the great depression, and soon after Ansel Adams began documenting the beauty of Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Both photographers brought to the attention of the world something important. With roll film and smaller cameras more people were soon able to create images that were important to them personally. Now everyone caries a camera and a video recorder with them everywhere they go.
In my own experience I know that many images have had an effect on me. I’ve noticed that others are often changed by my images. The last year or so my wife and I had been studying with a woman from Australia who teaches how, through camera angle and posing, a photographer can make any woman look fabulous. When we first started looking at her images we thought they were all models but soon learned they were ordinary women you’d see every day. As we learned from her and began photographing women, getting the fine details of correct posing and camera angle, we soon saw how women reacted to the images of themselves. They could not believe that they were so beautiful. It was mostly because they never allowed themselves to be beautiful.
I know women are their own worst critics, and in today’s culture women are held to the unrealistic body and beauty images of Photoshopped models. One of the reasons I wanted to do this type of photography is because I think all women need to see that they are beautiful. It’s one of the reasons I also love photographing the ballerinas from the dance school. Even these beautiful young women have already been programmed, through our media and culture, that they are not beautiful enough. I’ve seen the transformation of the women I photographed in the way they carry themselves and their self assurance.
Because Tracy and I feel it is so important for women to feel beautiful and become more empowered, we have decided to have the local community help us by nominating one woman each month who has inspired them to come in and be photographed. It could be someone who has triumphed over adversity or some hardship. It can be just someone who is beautiful on the inside but who would never got to have a beautiful photograph taken of themself. We’ll leave it up to you. We will provide hair style, make-up, photography, and a finished matted 7×10 print at no charge, just so they can see how beautiful they really are. So Red Lodge, think of someone who has inspired you and write a short email explaining why we should photograph your woman and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Beautiful Woman.” Please keep this in the spirit of its intention. No, ladies, you can’t nominate yourself.