I have extreme self- esteem issues, so when I asked Sarah to take nude images of me I was initially hesitant. My thought process when booking the shoot was that it could raise my confidence and self –esteem just slightly, and I’d seen Sarah’s work previously so I thought perhaps she could make me feel a bit beautiful. But after seeing the final images I can say with absolute confidence that Sarah’s photography and the experience itself absolutely exceeded all expectations.
I chose to do nude images, rather than images in lingerie, as I felt having no mental mask might have some kind of “freeing” effects. I was plastered in makeup, hair extensions and jewellery because (as I said to Sarah when she questioned this) “If I’m going to be naked I need as much hair as possible!” The makeup and hair made me feel somewhat less nervous about being nude in front of a camera, although I was still filled with unquenchable anxiety.
When Sarah arrived at my home, with that wonderful smile and fearlessness that she seems to wear with utter confidence; she instantly put me at ease. After all, I had created some kind of bizarre scenario in my head where she’d arrive, look me up and down and say “clothes off then, I haven’t got all day!” But it wasn’t like that at all. I put my playlist on to calm my nerves. With my music on, it was time to take the images, Sarah requested we do a few where I’m just wearing only a large baggy jumper. Despite the fact she was eventually going to see me uncovered, Sarah turned away to allow me undress with dignity, which I appreciated to no end, and put me further at ease. We did a few of these shots and then it was the moment of truth.
With a “rip the plaster off” attitude, I went for it. Completely nude Sarah never hindered any confidence in me. She reassured me I had a beautiful body, and explained the various (albeit difficult) positions which would make me look most appealing to the camera. I think what made me feel so confident was that I felt that Sarah absolutely believed what she was saying when she would say how gorgeous she thought I looked, and until that moment, I’d never believed it myself. After all, I have significant issues with my own body; my weight, lack of bum, breasts ridiculously saggy, self- harm scars on arm and thigh, dinner lady flappy arms and especially my weird lack of chin/ jawline old lady under hang; yet despite all of this, Sarah managed to make me forget about all of that, and throughout the entire shoot, I absolutely felt like a princess. I was Blake Lively, or Sienna Miller, or Kate Middleton, being photographed for Vogue or whatever.
It eventually felt completely natural. Like “Yes! This is my body, I am completely naked and loving every second of it!” With thorough professionalism throughout the entire process, Sarah managed to break my barrier of self- loathing which has weighed me down my entire life, and more than that, it was so much fun! We had a few giggles and silliness, and it felt just like I was hanging out with a friend. The camera stopped mattering and I was just in the moment it felt like I was laughing with someone I’d known my entire life. It was so easy almost, like it was supposed to happen.
Once the shoot was over, I was still buzzing off the incredible confidence I had gained from being nude in front of a photographer, which is something I never thought I’d say. The very next day Sarah messaged me with images, and sent me a few pre-edited with undeniable excitement: “Kate, you are absolutely stunning!” and what I saw I will never forget, it was me, looking like a professional model, me! As some kind of beauty queen! Within a few days Sarah had created the album I had requested, and I don’t think in my wildest dreams I could have looked this good. Sarah is incredibly talented, knows what she’s doing and is a brilliant photographer; but she does so much more than that, she raises self- esteem – turns blobs like me into Kate Moss, I am extremely grateful. I cannot encourage you enough, if you’re struggling with who you are, or have body issues, book a shoot with Sarah, you will not regret it!