I never thought of myself as beautiful.
Oh, I liked parts of myself, but mostly I was a bag full of self hate and self deprecation. That has a lot to do with how I viewed myself and the community I’m a part of. The gay community is full of beautiful people and I never felt like I belonged. I didn’t look like them and felt I never would.
Even growing up, I knew I didn’t look like the popular kids. I came to an understanding that I would always be the ugly duckling. However, even the ugly duckling became a swan. Everyone always told my I was handsome, but I didn’t believe them. When I looked into the mirror, I did not see beauty.
When I contracted LeannaDawn Photography, my intent was to have professional photos taken for my web site, to have a stronger presence online. That was it. I had recently ended a relationship and Dawn pointed out that these would be empowerment photos.
Having never had professional photographs taken before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Dawn immediately put me at ease and took me through the shoot like a pro. She shot me in all natural light and it was surprisingly easy.
Then she showed me the photos.
To say I was stunned would be an understatement. That was me looking back at me. Dawn simply took the best possible pictures she could to show me as I really am. It was a life changing moment for me. It was the first time I realized that I am beautiful.
I almost cried when I saw the photos, not from shock but from happiness. Dawn had captured me just as I was and I am eternally grateful. The process was simple on my part, Dawn did all the work.
The reaction to the photos has been amazing. Friends and family loved them. My Mum was especially impressed saying “Maybe now you’ll believe me when I tell you how good looking you are.” Oh, I believe all right!
I had one person that I had dated tell me that if I looked like that he would never have left me. I had another who asked me what kind of editing she did with Photoshop to make me look like that. Dawn brightened my eyes, evened out my skin tone. But that’s it. She took photos to show me as I was.
It wasn’t only the naysayers that had a profound reaction. I was stunned. This was me, this is what I showed the world on a daily basis but I was seeing myself for the first time as I really am.
I had been the swan all this time but it was the first time I had not felt like the ugly duckling. Dawn gave me a great gift. She took photos of me that managed to take away how I viewed myself and helped me to see me as I really am.
Thanks Dawn. You’re an angel and I am eternally grateful.