{ back into focus }

April 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

One of my friends is an amazing photographer who recently took a series of pictures of me to put my self image back into focus. Many woman after being sick for a period of time or go through a hysterectomy when they are young can forget that they are still young, sexy woman. That feeling gets lost along the way (I’m pretty sure it’s some where between worrying if you’ll wake up with a beard from the hormones and being surround by the cast of Cocoon every time you go to the doctors office)


My friend did an amazing job and I wish all women could experience having an amazing photographer showcase them in a way they haven’t seen themselves in years. She recently wrote a blog post about our session and I wanted to share it with you:

Watching a young woman struggle, search for answers, and be denied proper health care has to be one of the biggest heartbreaks I’ve encountered as a friend. Watching the emotional and spiritual change in someone because of health issues just compounds the situation.

My dear friend Michelle began feeling ill about 3 years after we became friends. It took two years for her to finally convince a doctor that the radical choice of a hysterectomy at age 29 wasn’t the insanity they thought it was, but was actually a life-saving, life-bettering choice for her. It wasn’t an easy choice to make, and then to have to battle the system for her right to choose – all of this took more strength than Michelle thought she had. It’s been over a year since her surgery, and while her health has been on-track, and her recovery has certainly been better than her illness… those of us who ‘knew her before’ still felt something missing.

Michelle sparkles. She’s spunky, witty, clever and talented. None of that has changed, but it had dimmed, and I watched her fight her way out of a darkness she didn’t realize was there until she began to pull herself out of it. In the last 12 months, I’ve seen her begin to take more risks, to accept less of what she is handed, and start to demand more of what she is due.

When I asked for volunteers to try new posing and portrait techniques, I didn’t expect Michelle to say yes. I’m thrilled that she did, and I’ll allow her to share her experience in her own words:

My testimonial:

Initially when Lani showed me Before & After images of what she wanted to try in her business my reaction was “Well of course they look great they’re all beautiful women in the first place” and “those women must have huge amounts of confidence” both of which I wasn’t really feeling at the time, so when Lani asked me to model for her camera my initial reaction was not an astounding yes. My head was filled with “I can’t pose like that” “I don’t want people seeing me trying to look pretty”  “they’re going to think I look ridiculous” and “It’s a good thing Lani knows Photoshop” But the whole thing got me thinking, When did I become so fearful? I used to be fearless, I used to love posing for pictures, I was a model for The Art Institute’s photography students (where everybody saw your images and had to critique them) and I didn’t blink. Today you couldn’t get me in front of camera unless it was nighttime and I was in full makeup, even then I could undoubtedly see all the flaws in the picture. I am guilty of what so many women are as well: we have a distorted idea of what we look like. We no longer recognize the women looking back at us and can easily find the beauty in others but are convinced we look the monster in Predator.

When did I become full of fear? One day I woke up with a stomach ache… and two years of being on every medication, misdiagnosis, a variety of unpleasant symptoms that made my weight yo-yo and finally led me to full hysterectomy and going through menopause at 29 (You think you had a bad time with thirty? throw in some hot flashes and getting AARP packets in the mail)

These sessions aren’t about the pictures or how you look they hone in on how you FEEL. Lani tries and finds that part of yourself that is buried or that you felt is lost. Within two clicks of the camera you are fearless again and totally at ease. Once you see the images you have a moment of “who is that person?” and then you realize it’s you. She finally takes your self image and puts it into FOCUS.

 I couldn’t have said it better myself. THANK YOU Michelle, for finding your Fearless.

To view the article in the original source: http://www.laniharmon.com/fearless/


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§ 3 Responses to { back into focus }

  • Piebird says:

    Little Toad, you are fearless, funny and beautiful! stay on the high road, and thank you for sharing your journey. your blog was one of my 5 “liebsters” http://cookteachgrow.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/liebster-favorite/

  • laurengraceevans says:

    That photo is really lovely 🙂

  • Anonymous says:


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