She cried. Yep, she cried when she saw her images in her hand. What a powerful moment that was for both of us. Let me tell you a bit as to the why.
I've known Dana for a while, probably the better part of 3 years now closer to 4. She is a strong woman who is caring, empathetic, and giving to almost a fault. Dana is a woman strong in her convictions and takes no BS but can certainly understand a different perspective, though she will tell you she thinks she is a "b". I know this to be wrong and I needed to show her this.
So, I convince her to finally do a shoot just for her. The whole makeup, hair, styling, photo session, the who she-bang. She took me up on it and it was all set in motion. I planned out outfits for her that I though matched her personality in all her facets. My hair and makeup stylist, Luci Lux was on board and we had an incredible time. I knew what images I had taken and when I started working on them in post production I saw everything I knew about her to be captured in them. A couple of weeks late we were finally able to meet up and she could see her images printed out and tangible. She could hold them, observe them, take them in. When she opened the archival box she started crying and it all came out. She had never seen herself like that. Not only did she see beauty she saw her gentleness, her courage, strength, perseverance, and empathy. The thing that hit me the most is when she said, "i see all the strong women that came before me, in me, in this picture". Holy gut wrench, Batman! I couldn't hold it and I started crying too. I knew right then, what I did for her mattered and that they aren't just mere pictures.
This woman, Dana, who gives so much to her family and friends, and her now 2 grandchildren, of which btw the youngest grandchild decided to start making her debut at our meeting, saw what everyone else does and she has the images to prove it.
Existing in photos does matter, not just for our loved ones but for us. It is important we give ourselves the gift of appreciation of self and assurance that our existence matters. Photographs can give us this and it is powerful.