How Love, Trust and Respect helped my partner be Vulnerable and Recognize His Own Self Worth : Fraser Valley Couples Intimate Lifestyle Photography
Jessica and I have been together for almost 5 years now. In that time I have become a feminist. I’ve learned that feminism isn’t women against men, that is misandry. (Thank you to Jessica for educating me on this) It’s about realizing that gender does not dictate what you are or are not qualified to do. I realize that as a man, I personally, am not inherently bad or oppress women. Being a feminist, for me, means realizing that those jokes you don’t mean and are just supposed to be funny are not funny. It’s not funny to break another person down in the name of “just a joke”. Feminism is about equality, plain and simple. To me it’s about treating women with dignity and respect. Jessica is my best friend and partner and I mean that in every sense of the word. I also learned I have more in common with many of her female clients than I realized.
For several years I have watched women come to her studio while I’m outside working in my shop. In almost every case I see the same thing. They show up, usually bundled up in more clothes than necessary for the weather, and kind of hunched in on themselves. It appears that what they are doing is just an experiment and they don’t expect to like and enjoy what’s about to happen because they think they could never look as good as the women they see in Jessica’s photographs. In every case, where I have been around to see them come back out, I’ve seen a woman transformed. They have their shoulders back, they are smiling and they radiate confidence. It’s amazing to watch this experience from the outside and to see how, in just a couple hours, they learn to see themselves in a way they didn’t before.
When I met Jessica I was in the best shape of my life. I struggled with obesity, most of my life, and had worked hard to shed 100 lbs. But even at that point I would not take my shirt off in public. Like a lot of women I had been shamed into believing I was unattractive and fully believed it. Due to an injury I had to leave the gym and slowly I put the weight back on. I never gained it all back but I have gained enough that my insecurities were now mixed with a sense of shame. In Jessica’s eyes the weight didn’t matter and she has asked me, more than once, to do a couples session with her. I have flat out refused for a long time but she has gently persisted.
Yesterday after denying her again, she opened up a dialog about how I’m really no different from those women that walk by me overdressed and huddled in on themselves. She assured me she wanted the photographs for us and wouldn’t share if I wasn’t comfortable. It occurred to me that I expect all these women, who walk passed me, to come out with a new outlook and that they all trust Jessica with something more personal than words can describe. Jessica is my best friend and the love of my life so why couldn’t I give her that same trust. I reluctantly agreed.
I can honestly say that at first I felt very uncomfortable displaying my flaws for even just Jessica to see but it quickly became something else. The camera disappeared from my mind and it became about sharing something intimate and freeing with the woman I love. I experience a lot of emotion when I look at the images she created of us and feel like they accurately show my love for her. Together we are perfectly imperfect and in the end it’s not about looking like a model. I trusted her with my biggest insecurities and she did not break that trust. I feel closer to her now because of the experience and even love the photographs so much that I want to share them with the world. I would recommend that everyone should try this at least once. It’s not just for women or for men, it’s about celebrating yourself, or in my case my love. -C