A few weeks ago, I was picture stalking other senior photographers and I came across an amazing photographer based out of Chicago. He had started a really cool project a few months back that focused on natural beauty. The goal of the project was to show that although makeup, nice hair and great fashion are fun, they aren't what really matters. At the end of the day, when all of that comes off, what do you have left? I feel like society, Hollywood and social media have completely warped the definition of true beauty and have led many teens to feel like it is all about the superficial things. Depression, anxiety, bullying, eating disorders and self esteem issues run rampant in the teen community and that's part of the reason I wanted to jump on board and be a part of this project. What started as a project for him has turned into something viral and there are photographers all over the US following suit with Thomas' idea. Originally, I was going to have just my reps model for me but then I decided to open it up to the public because I really loved the message we were trying to portray and I wanted many girls to be a part of it. The rules were simple: Come dressed in casual clothes (jeans/shorts and a black or white shirt), no makeup and have your hair looking like it does everyday. Nothing fancy and minimal jewelry. Each girl needed to send me a description of what true beauty means to them. The girls did a great job with this! I loved reading what they wrote :)
I rented a studio from my photographer friend Erin. She helped me pick a good backdrop for the look I wanted to achieve and then she snapped some shots of me. I wanted to be a part of the project too! Here's my favorite shot she took and below is my description of natural beauty:
"True beauty comes from within. Its about what's in your heart, what you do when no one is watching and how you treat other people. It goes far deeper than what can be seen on the surface. Sure, makeup, nice clothes and pretty hairstyles are great but at the end of the day when it all comes off, what are you left with? I'd rather spend time investing in helping people, making new friends, strengthening old friendships and building my relationship with my Savior as opposed to constantly worrying about how I look or if my clothes fit the latest fashion trends. Again, there is nothing wrong with looking nice but that's not what matters most."
This shoot blew me away. It went better than I ever could have imagined. The only negative was that we had been having torrential downpours for days so many streets were flooded. Unfortunately, three girls weren't able to come but everyone else made it. The first hour I photographed seventeen girls ages 14-18. I only knew one of them prior so I loved meeting everyone. The second hour I photographed 5 out of the 8 of my reps (I will post their pictures and descriptions of true beauty in another blog post). I was bummed my other three reps couldn't make it but I had a blast with the ones that could! Every time I'm with these girls, I feel so blessed to have such a good #classof2018 rep team working for me and I was glad they could help me with this project.
Everyone looked so beautiful. For many people, it takes confidence just to leave the house without makeup on, let alone be photographed that way but these girls ROCKED the shoot. Feel free to check out my instagram to read what each girl wrote about true beauty and to see more pictures of them. You can also look at the hashtags I posted with each picture to see other girls that have participated in this project. In the meantime, here are some of my absolute favorites: (click on any picture to see it enlarged)