We, me and my fellow portrait photographers are an interesting bunch of people that are interested in people in a very different way. We, as (portrait) photographers, have such a huge responsibility ... We get people in front of our lenses who follow our craziest directions and trust every move we make with our lights and settings, murmbling under our breath about "overexposed" and "lift that chin a little bit to the left". And yet, at the same time all of our/my clients trust us. Without question. That we can do what I do best. And that is capturing people with our camera, showing them how beautiful they're.
Past night my boyfriend was here and he asked me "if someone éver questioned my vision?" . And I realized I never had a situation like that. In fact, I never even questioned that myself! And at that point: I realized it was the last push for me to realize something I've been getting signs from the universe from to realise: "A Camera For A Cause".
For a long time I've been wanting to do "more" with my art, work and name. I started sharing more, build my entire business now on an educational service and capturing people for portrait photoshoots. Those things fill me with great joy, to see people smile after seeing their photos and to be able to pass on my knowledge and see other photographers grow in their art. But I wanted more, so much more. Simply because I want to see people smile.
I'm not a stranger to my own insecurities and fights with myself for years on end. From bullying to the teenager-insecurities and struggling with my body image. To accepting I'm simply a hyperactive weirdo that talks too fast and too much and has a love for anything bright and colorfull and weird. I used to hate myself. And it's not very uncommon. All these very personal yet véry common things in this time and age are all around us.
I've almost always been able to reassure my clients that it's okay to have a beautiful portrait of themselves, that there is no shame or "arrogance" in wanting something where they look gorgeous. That they do have the right size and age. Why should anyone care except themselves & why can't we freely celebrate our beauty? That they're réally good enough.
Because sometimes, we are our worst enemies. Thats why. Because of that I've decided to launch this little project which I hope might bring at least one smile to someone his or her face once a month: A Camera For A Cause is an entirely free and voluntary service I will be hosting as photographer in my studio here in Antwerp once a month, where I will open my door for someone who is struggling with a mental, physical, chronic illness, disease, problem, ... who has or is battling self-harm, who is thinking (s)he isn't good enough to be here, who think (s)he isn't beautiful enough because x or y or any reason ever given or made up . For those struggling to eat or struggling to stop. For those who cut and bleed because they think they are not good enough, who is battling or have overcome something heavy, ...
I will host a short, but powerfull photoshoot session with my entire collection of éverything I've collected to your disposal to create your own set, where I will hopefully be able to show you that you are worth it, to bring a smile to your face, to have something to look back on when shit is going down.
I do this because I want to make people happy who réally need it. And hopefully also those who want to share their own story which me which I can share on this blog so they can inspire others to hold on, stay strong & fight for what is beautiful.
Due to my véry limited time schedule, I'm only able to host once a month an "ACAC" photoshoot (if there is enough response on this); but I hope it's at least one person I can give some hope and joy in their life. If I can do this as a portrait photographer and person for someone else, I would be ever so grateful for having this opportunity and trust.
Do you want to share your story? Contact me on "email@example.com" with the subject "ACAC - Your Name" and tell me why (long or short) why you want to be photographed. I will probably randomly pick a person and arrange date with them for their session. Again: these are entirely free, I will approach and work with you like any of my clients from a (mini) session. You will get to play and hang in my studio, dress up & feel special and you will receive photos afterwards. The only thing you have to do is being able to come to my studio in the heart of Antwerp (starting from April 2017 on).
- This is inspired after seeing what I can do for people; after I had Veronique in my studio, the reaction of one of my participants on my workshop when she told me about her medical condition which will get her into "finger/hand armor" (I will be photographing this lady & her armor soon) & also after seeing a video from a tattoo artists who offered free coverups for a while for people who self-harmed them and wanted to hide their scars. I want to do the same, but then with something I'm kinda good at in: and thats taking photos. Because just like ink on your skin, they will also last a lifetime. And I think if I can use my talent to make someone smile with my photos, it's the best time I can ever give to someone. Without hesitation. -