The Pursuit of Perfection

Have you ever had a crisis of confidence? Cancelled something important because you didn’t feel “ready”? Got cold feet at the last moment? That moment before you take a leap of faith can be scary. And the day before you share yourself in a new way can be downright terrifying.

In our society, there is one concept in particular that seems to have the biggest effect on women’s confidence and perceived sense of self. It lies in the simple question:

What is real beauty?

As women, we get the message, “You are supposed to be attractive.” The media is clear about this. But while the prescription is understood, many are often left feeling like the standard by which they are being held to is both confining and unrealistic.

Shouldn’t beauty be defined on an individual basis instead of collectively?

As a photographer I understand the power of re-touching. And I am left to wonder:

Why are we comparing our first thing in the morning version of ourselves with a pixel perfect photo-shopped version of others?

I’ve had a few female clients recently make an appointment and generally be very excited for their photo session, and then a few days before the shoot, I get a message saying that they want to postpone for a month or so. They say that they are feeling too busy, too tired or even too heavy and know they won’t be happy with the photos. I feel sad when I hear this because I know the photo session could actually help them feel much better about themselves.

I recently saw this video series created by Dove, and I felt it fit so perfectly with this subject. The tag line of “You are more beautiful than you think”. My portrait photography work in San Francisco means that I see this in action, every day. This concept holds true for almost everyone I meet and I feel grateful to be able to take the photos that prove it.

“When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.” ~George Fisher