This is the thing I struggle with: it’s so easy to look beautiful. At least for a photographer. You learn to see, find, capture beauty. And you can always return to it – whenever you feel rejected, insecure, anything, and are in need of validation. You share a pretty picture on social media, get compliments and for a while, your world feels okay again.
But it’s a coward thing to do. To exploit beauty as a refuge. It takes courage to resist the temptation of beauty and the validation it gives. Turn your back on it, look the other way. Or beyond it. What lies there? The courage to be raw, maybe? But then – how does that courage look like? Is it the opposite? Or can it be beautiful, too? Maybe it’s a different kind of beauty?
My last six months consisted of testings of my limits. How honest can I be? How far can I go? Looking at my self-portraits from that time, I hardly see any pretty photos. I was in a fortunate position: no matter how many conflicts raged within me, no matter how much pain and confusion my flaws (or well, I) caused – I was fine, accepted, and loved.
It encouraged me to let go of this urge to please in my photography. There was no necessity of having to look good, wearing a mask. So I let go and it felt great.
Then I took a bold step.
I fell into a puddle of insecurity.
Now it clings to me and I’m tempted to run towards beauty. I want to wrap it like a warm blanket around me. Feel its comfort and let it reassure me.
But – “Once you know your truth you won’t be able to lie to yourself anymore.”
I know my truth.
Maybe it’s not courage that’s driving me. I simply don’t have a choice. Self-deception is not an option.
What lies beyond beauty and how does it look like?
I don’t know.
But I’ll find out.
portrait of a dear friend