Like many of us Margaret had a hard time adjusting to the changes that come with growing older.
“No matter what my husband said, I still believed what I thought I saw in the mirror.”
She found me after googling “turning 50 and dreading it”, hoping to “find some kind of peace.” Happening across my old blog, project50* Margaret began to read and realised she wasn’t alone in her feelings of sadness. It took her months to make contact – then a few more to pluck up the courage to commission a portrait session.
As always, I asked her to send me a photograph of herself that she liked. I saw a nice looking woman who appeared to be happy in her own skin. So what was it Margaret was seeing when she looked in the mirror?
“I hated myself, hated my body and the way I looked – instead of thanking my body for getting me to age 50 I treated it with such disgust and hatred. I wouldn’t have treated my worst enemy that way.”
I knew that this experience meant a great deal to Margaret and wanted so much to help her rediscover herself by showing her what other people see when they look at her.
“I was so nervous at the shoot to start with and Jo could sense that immediately, but eventually, after giving me a quick look at one of the photos on the camera, I was amazed and could have cried there and then. I relaxed. It then became fun and she helped me so much. Never at any point did it feel forced or artificial and most importantly she never indicated that she found me anything other than pretty!”
Well… of course I didn’t – just look at these gorgeous images!
When Margaret left me I could see that she already felt uplifted and I rushed to download the images so that I could send a single preview to her phone. That way, I believed she would not spend the next week dreading coming back for her viewing – she looked fabulous!
When Margaret came back to view her gorgeous images, she brought her husband, Des, with her. Such a lovely man, his pride in his wife was obvious to me.
“As I walked into (Jo’s) front door, I could see myself on the computer screen – I looked beautiful and I could hear my husband swallow loudly behind me and touch my hair. At last I could see what he had been seeing for 27 years. In the end I bought most of the images – simply because I know I will want to look at them over and over again.
I asked Margaret what she would say to any other woman who avoids the camera, as she did, because they the don’t like to see the evidence that they have aged.
“This was the right time in my life to do this. I would not have wanted images of me as a 25 year old because I will never look like that at 50, but as a 50 year old, these images make me realise I am still a beautiful woman.”
Meeting Margaret and creating these images with her made me realise the true value of my work. It made me want to seek out more women like her, to help them re-discover themselves. Beauty has no age. We all need to celebrate what we have now, not what we perceive that we have somehow “lost”. What we lose in freshness and youth is more than replaced by the elegance, wisdom and character we gain over the years.
Come and see me – let me prove it to you. You are beautiful now, and you deserve to exist in photographs. Contact me using the contact form above for more details, or call for a friendly chat on 07725 802690. Leave a message if I don’t answer straight away and tell me the best time to return your call.
Several weeks after collecting her framed images and her beautiful album, Margaret sent me another email. In the subject line she had written: “look at me!”
I am so proud of you, Margaret. From someone who hated looking in the mirror to a woman who is proud to display her portraits in her home is a wonderful affirmation of your decision to love yourself again.
Margaret’s beautiful hair and make up courtesy of the very talented Debbie Reed – thanks, Debbie!
*project50 is still online, but is now dormant. A collection of blog post can be accessed (for free) by subscribers to my new blog, my Inspiration Station.