It all started at the beach. Young, modest and insecure; I found myself wading in the water wearing a one-piece Speedo covered with a t-shirt and board shorts. I’m not sure why I felt my thighs were embarrassing or that my body was something to be covered and unseen, I just know that by being covered up I was hiding. I was afraid.
It was at the beach that I saw mothers, women confidently in bikinis. I watched them in awe, and disbelief. How did they not feel concerned with all the people around them seeing their imperfect bodies? How did they get the confidence to so nonchalantly show themselves to the world?
Years have passed and I am now a mother myself. I think back to these moments I had when I was young, so insecure, yet, so amazed by the confidence these women exuded. Their freedom and confidence gave me permission to be OK with myself.
I could dress like myself.
I could be myself.
I could breathe.
It’s been a process, and I’d be lying if I said that I figured everything out. The whole journey has left a lasting impression on me and it is the reason why I photograph women in a way that claims back our womanliness and celebrates the female body for all of its strength and loveliness.
This shoot is a culmination of these things as well as so much more. Each woman pictured has been on her own unique journey, and I couldn’t be happier that we all ended up spending a chilly evening standing together in Mill Creek, Edmonton. My hope is that others will see these incredible, strong, smart, beautiful women as a source of encouragement and strength. That perhaps for a few, it might just be the first step on a road to self-discovery and self-love.
Let’s look out for each other, friends. Let’s take every possible opportunity to build each other up. You don’t know when a young girl, covered up in a speedo, will be watching.