Hello Lovely & Suzy Shier +: Love yourself
Meet Sarah, a professional photographer living in Calgary on a mission to photograph 100 curvy and chic women. We found Sarah on Instagram @hello.lovelyyc and loved her photographs so much, that we had to catch up with her to hear more!
So to start off, why did you decide to pursue this project?
Almost 2 years ago, I stumbled across the #bodypositive movement on Instagram and started following incredible women like @Gabifresh, @Killerkurves @GlitterandLazers, @honorcurves and many more. The Body Positive movement resonated with me, and gave a voice to how I felt about body image in society with respect to young girls, teenagers and women alike. And as a wedding and portrait photographer especially, I am surrounded by requests for photoshopping all sorts of body parts or worse, seeing women (I’m looking at you new moms!) shy away from the camera, from proving their existence in photographs because they hate how they look/hate their bodies.
I was so lucky growing up to have a mom who always made me feel beautiful no matter my size, who encouraged me to be active and involved in sports, simply for the love of the game. I never ever felt body shamed, my body was never a conversation EVER. And for that reason, as an adult woman, I felt like I had a pretty good body image. But diving into the body positive world was a whole new perspective; it was profound and eye-opening to see these beautiful women loving AND celebrating every wobbly inch of their bodies without apology. To me, body positivity is not about not ever changing, but loving yourself and doing everything from a perspective of love, not hate.
With my new-found knowledge and perspective, I wanted to show women as they are, to themselves and truly, to the world. I also wanted to show children and young women that it is possible to love yourself, be confident and happy AND plus sized.
That’s amazing, what has been the most rewarding part of it?
The best part has absolutely been everyone’s enthusiasm for the project. I feel like I am in permanent warm fuzzy/goosebump mode. I am feeding off the energy of everyone else, and the happiness it seems to bring to the women I photograph. I’ve loved meeting so many new people who I never would have met otherwise.
Beyond your style photographs you also talk about self-love on your Instagram, what’s a piece of advice you would tell someone struggling with self-love?
I’d say it’s ok to struggle. No one is perfect, I certainly have days where I feel gross. But changing your perspective to love and acceptance (and later reverence), changing how you talk about and view your body, picking just one thing you love about yourself… It can help so much and from there, it’s important to build on that love, even if it’s really small to start with. One of my rules for Hello Lovely is that you have to love yourself, or at least be open to the idea.
That is really great advice, and so important, so how close are you to 100 photos?
I am almost there and thanks to Suzy Shier, I am 5 closer now!
Where do you hope to go with this after the project is done?
I started this project with only a small vision of what I wanted to do, knowing that it would become clearer after I started. The original focus was definitely fashion based, a great love of mine, but it quickly became so much more about empowering women and delivering a message that it’s ok to love yourself no matter what, and that loving yourself will do so much more good in your life.
Thanks so much to Sarah for taking the time to talk with us. Make sure to follow her on Instagram @hello.lovelyyc to keep up with her project.
Photographer: Sarah www.modernphotography.ca
Hair by: Krista Dumonceau www.lavahairsalon.com
Makeup by: Shirley E www.madeupbyshirley.com