THIS IS A GUEST POST COURTESY OF CHELSEA HILL OF CHELSEA HILL PHOTOGRAPHY
I walked into the living room and caught sight of her standing, hands on hips, head back and tilted carefully to the side. “Mama, where is my picture?” A few weeks back I had taken down the photo that hung on that spot on the wall. A thick wooden slice with the image of her and her brother printed on the front. They both stood looking directly at the camera, and she had wiry blonde curls flying in the wind. Her newly four-year-old cheeks still round with the whispers of babyhood. Him smiling proudly, missing teeth screaming to the world that he was somewhere in the sixth year of boyhood. Now I find her here questioning me about her photo and its whereabouts. “I took it down weeks ago, I ordered a new print to hang here”. Instantly I knew this answer would not do. Her blue eyes filled with tears, she said, “I loved that picture, Mama, I looked beautiful in that picture!”
Something about our conversation stuck with me all day. And I found myself thinking about it late into the night after everyone went to bed. I stood on tippy toes and retrieved the photo from the top of my closet and returned it to its rightful spot on the wall. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered reading an article about the positive effects of having family photos around the house. I agreed, of course, but never had it applied to me the way it did that day. I spend a hefty portion of my time injecting my children with my positive thoughts about them. I tell them “you’re special, you’re smart, you are beautiful”, but I had no idea that the simple act of hanging a photo had resonated with my daughter so much.
Sitting with my thoughts that evening, everything came full circle for me. Time and again I’ve received messages from my clients claiming that my photos of them had boosted their self-confidence. Undoubtedly the people around them have expressed their fondness for the way their eyes sparkle, the turn of their nose or the certain way their eyes squint when they smile. Words fall flat when we are so used to seeing ourselves in front of bathroom mirrors or warped in store windows. With the right photo, however, the proof is undeniable, you are beautiful. Showing others that, particularly children, is the highlight of my career and what fuels my passion.
The next morning when my children spilled out of bed, rubbing their eyes and stumbling through the living room. I waited for her to notice. I sat beside her and pulled her close. She looked up at me and I cut my eyes quickly towards the wall, hinting at her to have a look. Her back straightened and she more squealed than spoke the words, “Mama do you see? Do you see I look beautiful in that picture!”
I do see, I see very well.