Before Christmas I ran a competition to offer a portrait or boudoir photography session to whoever had the best reason for wanting one. I was overwhelmed by the lovely and sometimes heart-wrenching reasons why people were seeking some professional images, but lovely Imogen here spoke so candidly about her struggles with body dysmorphia I knew I had to try and help her.
I have often thought that good portrait photography provides a rare opportunity for the subject to see themselves in an objective light, through the eyes of the photographer - to me the perfect antidote to the one-dimensional reflection we look at in the mirror. I personally think mirrors encourage us to over–scrutinise ourselves and warp what we see and I can perfectly see how disorders like body dysmorphia develop. For what it’s worth perhaps we’d all be happier without them, but there we go…
With that in mind, I wanted to help Imogen see herself in a different light, as her husband and the rest of us see her, so that hopefully her boudoir photography experience with me might be a stepping stone to changing the way she feels about herself. I know she was incredibly nervous about the whole idea but she courageously put her trust in me and I hope I’ve had a positive impact on how she feels. Imogen has very kindly has written an insight into how her disorder shapes the way she sees and feels about herself, and I'm grateful to her for being so candid.
"It is widely assumed that it is the media and a contribution from society that drives body dysmorphic disorder, not so. I do not look at other women and wish that I looked like them, it is entirely internal, a deep loathing when I look at myself. Disappointment in a body that has already degraded significantly in my 28 years. Feeling as though I do not deserve nice clothes as I can not do justice to them, and certainly not that a photographer such as Gemma would wish to waste time photographing such flaws.
A sense of foreboding took over once the shoot was booked. But this was time wasted! I thank Gemma wholeheartedly for a wonderful day and even more wonderful images. With body dysmorphia, how you felt at the time a picture was taken and what you see when you look at the image are so grossly entangled. The shoot was such a positive experience, full of girly giggles, and this has impacted hugely on what I see."
Well, from what I can see she looks incredible, I'm sure you'll agree.