Look with your Eyes, See with your Heart

_MG_1596It’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog for the love of writing and sharing the drivel in my head.  But this week as my photography took me to another place, I remembered why I started this job and really missed sharing that drivel of mine… So here we go.

So currently I’m working on a commercial job with my gym: taking before and after shots of people who are undergoing a 12-week body challenge. This week I’m photographing between 50 – 100 people, nearly all looking to lose weight and a few Olympic athlete look-alikes (that made me suck in my gut as they came in) just looking to increase their stamina.

This kind of impersonal, in-out photography is so different from what I know or love (hence I’m working for myself, not Pixie photos…) because for me, inspiration comes really from making a connection with the subject in front of me. It didn’t help that NONE of my subjects wanted to be photographed the way they looked, let alone do it in their underwear infront of a complete stranger.

So I felt really nervous going into it but now at the end of it all, I have to say I’ve drawn just as much joy and inspiration out of this job as any other, if not more.  As I download the images, it’s not the muffin tops, cellulite or flabby skin that I’m seeing (as I’m sure all the participants are worried about) but it’s actually their faces, sometimes their smiles but most of all their stories…

There is a story behind every person –  e. v. e. r. y.     s. i. n. g. l. e.    o. n. e.

I only had three minutes with each person… but when that person is in their underwear and at their most vulnerable, 3 minutes is a long time – long enough to really give me a reality check on how I SEE people:

Sometimes, it’s alright that a woman just wants to wear a plain, boring, sturdy bra rather than a frilly Victoria Secrets number… because she only has the one boob and that boring bra does the best job in making her look even….

Sometimes it’s alright to be 20 kilos overweight…because that person has just LOST 40kg.

Sometime it’s alright for guys to be just as ridiculously body conscious as girls – they just want to make make their KIDS proud.

Sometimes it’s alright when people don’t look at you when you are talking to them, because there are a million and one insecurities that are plaguing them: “OMG does she think I’m fat? Does she think I’m hideous looking? I can’t turn around and walk away because she can see my back as I waddle away”

Men are just as vulnerable as women.

It’s alright when SKINNY people don’t look you in the eye either. They also have a million and one insecurities with THEIR body that are plaguing them.

– – – and the clincher that had me in tears and made me write this blog – – –

I want to do this because I think my husband will really hold his head up high when he stands next to me, like he used to do.

– – –

My heart BROKE.

 #EmotionCentral #BlubberFest, #KleenexAddict, #ThankGodforRunProofMascara

– – –

Here’s a mother of three, overweight, drained and not quite realizing that motherhood had stolen her spirit.  Her low self-worth was so evident in her guilt for spending money on herself for the 12 week challenge as all she could talk of was what her family could do with that money. I think as a mother, I identified with a lot of that – the guilt, the not putting myself first bit, the guilt and oh did I mention the guilt? So there were a few hugs and tears and suffice to say that appointment went over the 3 minute mark…

 

So the moral of this blog? oh so many…

Don’t judge… Because you never know what people are going through…

Try and really SEE people… because seeing muffin tops, cellulite and flabby skin means you are just looking.

We all seek approval – firstly from our parents, then from society and then from our kids. Perhaps let’s start passing down the message that SELF-APPROVAL is the most important…

It’s been a great week. I can’t wait to see these people again in 12 weeks time. My fear now is, that at a time when they want to show off their new bodies, I won’t remember what their actual bodies looked like because all that is etched into my brain is their story and their face. But at least, on the whole, it will be a much happier, prouder face to photograph. A face and a story on a much happier soul….

xx

 

 

 

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About Chamilka (CJ)

Chamilka Jayawardana (affectionately known as CJ to all those around her) is a Professional Photographer based in Melbourne Australia. Accredited with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), Chamilka founded CJ Photography in 2010, which specialises in Maternity, Newborn, Children and Family Portraiture. Inspired by her children, her photography aims to capture authenticity, feeling and above all stories – intangible things that can be revisited long after the moment has passed. CJ Photography has since moved into Weddings and Commercial works as well.

An equally personal driving force behind her second venture, CJ Photo Escapes, has been her cultural background and her desire to give back to the country she was born and lived in during her early years. Fluent in English and spoken Singhalese, CJ has chosen to combine her love for photography along with her love for Sri Lanka and its beautiful people, to share with the astute traveler this quaint part of the world through the eyes of the lens.

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3 Responses to “Look with your Eyes, See with your Heart”

  1. Kathryn March 1, 2013 3:35 pm #

    Hi Chamilka – just wanted to say what a beautifully written blog. I am a trainer at Goodlife and can identify exactly with your feelings. Im so glad you got something out of this job too. My clients tell me that you did a great job and that they felt comfortable with you. Just wait till the after photos and you will see such a huge change in attitude – that’s what makes working in this industry so rewarding!

    • Chamilka March 1, 2013 4:32 pm #

      Oh thank you so much Kathryn. I’m sure I’ve seen you a hundred times before but I can’t wait to put a face to your name. Thanks for passing on your client feedback and so glad you like the post. It was quite an emotional week (especially Thursday) – ha ha, I’m such a sook. xx

  2. Rebecca March 4, 2013 5:42 pm #

    Beautiful words. Your turn next challenge 🙂 We’ll all be there to help you through.

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