Where has all the confidence gone?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt ugly. Anyone? How about fat? How many of you were the skinny “scrawny” kid? What about just plain, damn “Unpretty” (TLC, remember them? Yea, I’m revealing my age a bit.)

Chances are, most of you raised your hand, at least in theory anyway. And you know what? That’s CRAP! I’m a hand raiser. I have felt all of these things at one point or another in my life. Besides the too skinny one, I’ve never had that particular “affliction”. I remember talking to my friend Diana in fifth grade, I reiterate, FIFTH GRADE, and telling her my thighs were too fat. Granted, I have always been a muscle-bound, boy butt-kicking, sassy, lass, but still, fifth grade!?!? And I was worried about how “fat” my thighs were? That’s sad. I literally just got a text as I write from one of my models about how finding a prom dress is a struggle. She’s perfect and sweet and stunning but I don’t think she sees how amazing she is.

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We’ve all been bombarded by mass media’s version of beauty. It’s everywhere; these “perfect” models we see day in and day out in magazines, books, television, the Internet, Instagram, Facebook, MySpace, FaceSpace, MyBook, blah blah blah blah blah, you get the point. However, what we are beginning to realize is these perfect specimens of humanity don’t really even exist; they are a Photoshopped chopping block of eraser and liquefying tools.

Anyone catch the Target ad controversy a couple of weeks ago? Boy, was that awkward. The model needed thinning out like A-Rod needs more steroids (Whaaaat? Who said that?). The designer made a beautiful girl look like Frankenstein’s beach bathing cousin. Here is the link so you can see for yourself; http://www.policymic.com/articles/84935/absurd-photoshop-fail-from-target-highlights-what-s-wrong-with-female-beauty-standards

This is the epitome of why so many women AND men (the fellas are affected by this a lot more than we give them credit for!) have difficulty accepting themselves how they are. This bi-monthly column will focus on how we, as photographers, can help our clients see their true beauty. Not only that, but also how WE need to see that in ourselves.

I’m blessed to have Amanda Holloway and the Kitchen Sink Alumni group to go to for help and encouragement, but even what I see from these beautiful, talented and successful alumni is a lack of self-confidence sometimes. So many of you know their work, it’s outstanding. I’ve reached out to a few of them to look at some stuff for me and they said they couldn’t believe I chose them! I feel like it’s ingrained in us, this lack of confidence. We need to believe in ourselves and be confident in who we are (Rah! Rah! Rah! Go team Photog!). If we’re not, what kind of role model can we be for our clients? I’m not claiming we should all run around talking about ourselves in third person because of our self-importance (remember that Seinfeld episode?) but why can’t we be proud of our accomplishment’s gosh diddly darn it?!?!

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See? Proud!

And who the H-E-double hockey sticks am I, you ask? I’m Tara Mesyn, a former high school teacher who taught the most amazing class in the history of the world, Media Studies. I have watched kids transform and almost awake, if you will, after talking about how media distorts what we think beauty is and what “they” tell us it is, and how that affects the way we see ourselves. I am the mama to a one-and-a half-year-old daughter who wants to make sure she doesn’t grow up worrying about flipping “thigh gap” (if you aren’t sure what that is, Google it, you will find plenty of images and articles on the epidemic). I am a photographer who wants to make sure her clients have fun, can be themselves and feel beautiful or handsome. And I am a woman who still sometimes feels like the insecure seventh grade girl who was teased because she had, and still has, more muscular arms than many of the boys (that I would choke them out with after the made fun of me..teehehehehe!).

Please check in for my next column where we will chat about how hair and makeup can do wonders not only for your client’s confidence, but your own as well!

Until next time, stay classy SSG readers.