Beautiful Rebecca approached me to photograph the milestone of her 40th birthday, as a celebration of who she is – emerged from the other side of her past as conqueror and warrior. Such a gifted writer, I felt my heart ache but was inspired when I read her vulnerable yet stunning narrative. Her honesty just resonated so much with my own journey…
(This is Rebecca’s story – published with her permission)
“When I was little, I attended ballet lessons every Saturday morning. Each week the teacher played the piano and instructed us to curl up in a ball on the floor; pretending to be seeds. As the music continued, we were asked to slowly grow; up and up, to become beautiful flowers. Any flower we could imagine! Except, I always grew way too quickly; to find myself standing alone amongst a field of seedlings. Self-conscious, vulnerable and wondering why it took everyone else so long to join me…
Just like that tiny seed, I grew too fast and awkward. Never quite accepted. Never quite enough. Always on the outside, quietly watching, whilst secretly and shamefully wishing somebody would come to my rescue.
I grew awkward, never quite accepted. Never quite enough. I began collecting words: ‘serious’, ‘moody’, ‘intense’, ‘prickly’, ‘intimidating’, ‘ambitious’. I’m always on the outside, secretly and shamefully wishing someone would come to my rescue. No one could ever see past the labels and presumptions, to just see ‘me’. And then for a while… I lost myself. A shocking and terrifying inevitability.
I travelled to Japan to sit down in nature. Alone for the very first time, I noticed all the different sounds water makes. I felt the heat from the sun-warmed igneous rocks under my bare feet, before plunging them into the freezing water of the Daiya River. Finding peace in a place that was formed from the lava of a volcanic eruption.
I came to my own rescue. My story is made up of a million different kaleidoscopic parts. I am half colour and light, and partly shrouded by the shadows. I now try to welcome both.”
As I pondered how I would tell Rebecca’s story, I heard this message whispered within my heart, “Dress her in beautiful words.”
These are the words Rebecca wrote to light her way forward.
These images are a breathtaking symphony – a fusion of Rebecca’s words and my vision; not just of the incredible woman she is now, but of who she will yet bloom to become. A beacon of hope that will light the way forward for others…
Beauty from the ashes. This is Rebecca’s story.
Rebecca, I am still in awe that you gifted me the opportunity to unfold your story. Love and a million hugs xxx.
“I no longer feared the darkness once I knew the phoenix in me would rise from the ashes.” — William C. Hannan