Just As I Am Project

Well it seems to me that the job of artists in society tends to be to shed light on issues that we face on a daily basis; and given the description that I just gave I would propose to you that Jerry and the cast of Seinfeld were in fact the artists of the century for the 20th century. I draw a lot of inspiration from the light-hearted jokesters in that they seemed to fearlessly bring into the open things that we all thought and were afraid to say while making us laugh about it. As I develop as an artist I have found that it is in fact very difficult to do what Jerry did, it is hard when you feel the judgment of those around you to stand up and do what it is that you think is right or to say what needs to be said.

Just over two years ago I received a phone call from a friend, one of the best and most influential friends I will ever have. Tim is an art teacher in a Christian school in BC and on this particular week he had taken his grade 10-12 art students on a trip to the local art gallery as he was prone to do a couple of times a year. Tim described the experience as they went through the upper floor of the gallery and saw some wonderfully inspiring “Christian” art, that is beautiful water colors and landscapes but then to his horror as they went down into the lower gallery they were hit straight on by a cartoon character in full frontal nudity doing something very derogatory. Tim decided it was too late to turn back and proceeded through the gallery with his students electing to spend some time with them afterwards discussing what they had seen and their thoughts on it.

“Why was there nobody who looked like me in there” was one girl’s response, “They were all perfect bodies.”
“Why are there no Christians doing nudes in art” asked another girl.
“I didn’t feel uplifted in any way from what I saw” stated another.

Art has the power to change our lives, as long as we as artists come at it not as “how can I shock the viewer” but rather “how can I open up my soul or the soul of my subject in such a way as to touch the soul of the viewer.” I have never had the pleasure of going to Europe, but those that I have talked to who have seen the David or the paintings within The Sistine Chapel both of which were created by Michelangelo say that seeing these works literally takes your breathe away. What is it about beauty and the body that is so inspiring??

David the Israelite king whose appearance Michelangelo was trying to capture said in Psalm 139 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,” I don’t know about most people, but growing up I didn’t feel wonderfully made; I was a skinny awkward kid who never felt comfortable in my own skin. The terms “Bone rack” and “beanpole” will probably haunt me all of my life, and now as an adult I feel as though most of the time I am a beanpole with a big lump in the middle where my thundering abs should be, my chest too small an undefined, shoulders too droopy and arms too spindly; again I feel more fearfully than wonderfully made.

For the past two years I have been thinking about the project of photographing art nudes of anyone who would come in to stand in front of my camera and be photographed “Just as they are” but as is often the case I have spent the last two years in fear of how a project like this would be viewed and so put off doing it. This past year has been a great and hard year for me as Sonya and I have been working on Eve Studios a studio which focuses on building self esteem in women through photography. I have been deeply hurt by the stories I have heard from some clients as they struggle through the question of “Am I beautiful”, and hearing the stories of hurt and pain that many of our clients have held on to for years and decades for some. On the flip side I have had a number of clients who have come in fully confident that they are beautiful and very comfortable with their appearance, and in these cases I have felt immense joy. I have seen incredible beauty in clients of all ages and shapes and can honestly say that they are Fearfully, Wonderfully and Beautifully made.

Just As I Am is a project where anyone from 18 – 118 can come and have 10 mins of photography time to bare their souls as well as their bodies and come to the place of saying this is me, Just As I Am. I ask only a few things of those who wish to be involved, Please bring ID that proves your age, please either write a sentence or two or come with a phrase or two that you feel describes who you are. I welcome men or women to come alone, but also encourage them co come as a couple if they want, or to come as a group; but if you want to be a part of touching the lives of others and in fact be touched with the beauty of who you are please sign up for a timeslot and be part of the healing process.


Fashion Shows and Art Projects

Well, the creative energy of spring must be flowing!

I was just at the Women Business Owner's "Tulips & Tea" Fashion Show and Fundraiser for Osborne House. I had the privilege of sitting with some wonderfully diverse women who all seemed to have a zest for life! I really enjoyed myself once the event got going.

I was deeply touched by the young woman who shared her story of how she finally escaped an oppressive relationship and has found a new life "One Year Later". I loved the passion of the Tina Turner impressionist, who also shared the message she gave troubled girls at a nutshell, "You have value and others better treat you good". I found the fashion show to be a refreshing look at what's out there in Winnipeg. My favorite line of clothing was from Glyfada Dress Design. I have never seen anything like it. Loved some of the other stores on Academy: 9 Boutique, Sue's, and Emile et Etiene. If you're coming to our blog after being at the show, what were your favorite parts of the event?

The other spring thing going on, coming up next week (from the 27th to the 2nd), is an exciting and important art project Rodney and I are undertaking. It's called "Just As I Am" and is going to showcase the beauty of the human body, create awareness of what "normal" bodies look like, and give people the experience of being vulnerable and naked before a camera and how that perhaps changes them in some way. For more information and to sign-up, please visit And if it resonates with you, please...tell others. We want as much diversity in age, cultural background, shape and size that we can possibly get. Come with a group or a friend or spouse and make it more fun!


wishing for purgatory

It's that time again, twice a year I redo the studio floors which amounts to sanding down the floors by hand, adding wood filler to the floors to get the bumps out (again by hand) and then sanding them again. Unfortunately by this time I'm not done yet, I still have the painting, scuffing and painting to go.

Well, I'm half way done or so and I have found out something that is probably very important, I now know beyond the Shadow of a doubt that I'm not a Catholic. What an interesting time to find that out you say, and however did you come to that conclusion, well very simply put last night and this morning I was acutely aware of the fact that I seemed to have scooted right past purgatory and slipped into the raging fire; that is every part of me was begging for mercy and wishing for a chance to buy or pray myself out of this hell that was in my muscles.

Well, gotta go, this was all the break time i could afford to take, until next time, bon voyage!!


Why Every Woman should do an Eve Session

I had the privilege of speaking to a small group of women business owners and estheticians last Wednesday about our studio (which is probably why I missed blogging last week!) I wanted to share with them what an Eve Session is, what some of the benefits of a session are, and why they should consider doing an Eve Session. As I spoke, I could tell that what I was saying was going deep in many of them, and it was a real affirmation of what we do and of our need to spread the word of what we do.

So, I thought I'd include some of what I said there on our blog. Ideally, I would like to video this presentation live and put it on YouTube, but for now, I'll settle for the written version.

I. What is an Eve Session?

The purpose of every Eve Session is to celebrate the true beauty of a woman and build her self-esteem.

We do that by spending two hours of time focusing on capturing who she is in a wholistic manner...not just her sexuality (as in the glamour/boudoir days) or even just her outward appearance, but her personality, her passions, her "presence". Sometimes, this may involve artistic all depends on her purpose for the shoot and her comfort with that kind of vulnerability.

The photographer, my husband Rodney (who was named Manitoba's photographer of the year in 2008) is not only excellent in what he does, but his creativity, sensitivity, and professionalism, make the experience every bit as memorable as the actual images themselves.

II. What are the benefits of an Eve Session?

The benefits are many and varied from person to person. One of the primary benefits I see is the ability of a session like this to answer a woman's most basic question, "Am I beautiful?" You see this question emerge from very early as a little girl twirl in her dress for all to see, just waiting for someone to notice her loveliness. And that question never goes away, although experiences in life may serve to push it down or answer it in a way that wounds us.

Another benefit I've noticed is how a session uncovers a woman's true beauty...her true self. We all carry around images of ourselves that don't necessarily reflect accurately who we are. These are formed from impressions from our youth when we went through awkward years of bad perms, ugly glasses, acne and insecurity...all captured for us in the school photo (which is an injustice in itself).

Other ways we gather false pictures of ourselves is (ironically) from the mirror. We may think this a true can it lie? But the mirror shows us our flaws close-up and out of context...all we see of our face is this and that zit, these large pores, that stray eye-brow, those dark circles (do you get what I mean?) And the full-length mirror might give a fuller picture, but it's all in bad overhead lighting while we're just standing there trying to decide if we look okay.

And then, of course, we form way too many opinions of ourselves from the judgments of others. If we're fortunate, we have a lot of affirming people in our lives, but we all know it's the negative judgments that tend to stick.

But what we don't have firmly in our minds, is the way we look when we are truly shining: we don't get to see the way we look when we are loving on our kids, serving a customer with genuine concern and friendliness, caught up in the moment during a beautiful sunset, laughing out loud, presenting confidently and intelligently in the boardroom or classroom, being immersed in something we love doing...those moments when we are truly alive and truly ourselves.

And that's what an Eve Session can capture us in those moments when we are truly alive and truly a way we can hold on to and cherish for the days and years to come. And that can be life-changing!

III. Why should I do an Eve Session?

I always like to make it a little personal near the end. Because I can't actually answer that question for anyone, what I like to do is ask more questions. We all have to do our own thinking and choosing. Sometimes we just need a little guidance. So, here are three more questions to as yourself:

1. What do I need?
- more confidence?
- feel better about my body?
- feel comfortable in my own skin?
- feel sexy (again)?
- be good to myself?
- recover from emotional trauma? (this has been a big step in healing for some people)

2. What's holding me back?
- feel too fat (this is a big one)
- scared (of being vulnerable, of pictures not turning out, of the unknown)
- too busy
- my ____________ (fill in the blank): stretch marks, cellulite, sags/breasts, butt, belly (we all have perceived thing Rodney will ask at a consultation is: what do you want to show off/what do you want to hide?)

3. What is the next step?
- call Rodney at 221-8413 or send in an email enquiry from our website to set up a consultation (which is basically a chance to see our studio, meet Rodney, and talk about possibilities for your session...but there is no obligation to book at any time)
- book a session time (this can be for the following day (if you're lucky), the following week, or several months away
- do your session and feel amazing!
- book your show time, where you get to see your images and pick the ones you want for your album or wall

Oscar Wilde once said,

"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance".

Why not start today?