“Wildflowers can’t be controlled, and neither can the girl with a soul boundless as the sky, and a spirit as free and wild as the ocean.”
― Melody Lee
Last year, I started a project called “She’s a Wildflower”. I didn’t really know what to expect and how it would turn out. But I did know that I wanted to capture the natural, raw and honest beauty of women. No makeup. No filters. Nothing to hide. And this is what happened.
Over this past month (February 2021) I photograph a group of incredible women and had the honor of witnessing beautiful emotions and true vulnerability.
When I started this project I didn’t really know how to do this and where this might go. All I knew was that I wanted capture authentic, raw beauty – all filters, all makeup removed. I really needed to do this for me, hoping that maybe a handful of ladies would agree to get their picture taken. To be honest with you, I felt quite down after Christmas in 2020. I had planned to take a break from social media and focus on the here and now but that’s the thing about plans. You can plan all you want and at the end you end up doing it anyway.. so here I was, scrolling my way through Instagram because I didn’t know what else to do. As I was scrolling, I noticed how many people, especially women, use filters to edit their posts. Filters, that make them look fresher and younger. Filters, that remove any imperfection, any pimples, any wrinkles that they might have. And then I would stand in front of the mirror and examine my face, my body and guess what.. I did not look like these women on Instagram. All I saw was my oily skin, the wrinkles on my face and the huge pores on my forehead and oh no, is this a gray hair?! I felt bad about myself and I hated that. I started to wonder: Why are we so afraid to let others see our “flaws”? Why do women, who are so stunning and beautiful, cover up their natural beauty with filters and photoshop? Why are we so afraid to age? I mean men are being celebrated for their age, their gray hair and wrinkles. They get the title “sexiest man alive” while women in their 50s are somehow required to still look like 30 and are celebrated for looking so young and fresh all naturally … sure, all “naturally”.
Simply put: Why are we so afraid to be seen? For who we are? With all our tiny flaws and imperfections?
I would say I’m a strong woman and I’m strong enough to stop this stupid comparison game and realize that all these women on Instagram, TV and magazine covers don’t wake up like that. I can do that. But what about other women who struggle to break this cycle? What about young girls who start to believe that this is what they should look like in order to be successful and loved and worthy? We need to show them, we need to show us, how stunning and incredibly beautiful raw, natural beauty truly is. What makes us so beautiful and unique are exactly those tiny imperfections and flaws that we’re so desperately trying to hide from everyone. Allowing others to see us for who we are is scary and freaking vulnerable but it is so magical at the same time. Vulnerability is human. Vulnerability gives us an opportunity to connect with each other, to support each other. Vulnerability is what makes us so incredibly beautiful and unique and special.
And that is exactly what I was trying to capture with this project. Vulnerability. Raw emotions. And the strength that comes with allowing someone in. Allowing someone to see you. All of you. And with all filters removed.
So I invited 17 amazing women to step in front of my camera. Without any makeup or anything that would distract from their beauty and emotions. I asked them to sit down on a chair, whichever way they wanted. And to just be. To show me their emotional being, their vulnerability, their story. No posing. No instructions. I stepped back and observed and saw magic unfold itself right in front of me.
And then I asked them a question.
Do you think you’re beautiful? I think you’re absolutely stunning.
I invite you to go on this journey with me together. Honoring and celebrating each individual magnificent lady for being brave to be seen by me and now you. For sharing their stories, not with words but through their emotions.
So, let’s fill our social media feeds with true beauty, unfiltered beauty. Beauty that inspires us. Let’s show the world that we are perfect just the way we are. With each pore, pimple, wrinkle and gray hair. With each curve of our body. Whether we’re tall or small. Whether we’re young or old. We’re all beautiful!
To all my stunning and brave ladies: I want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for doing this with and for me. You truly inspire me and you turned this project into something I could have never imagined. Thank you for being vulnerable, open and authentic. Thank you for trusting me despite not know where this is going. You’ve all taught and shown me that true beauty comes from being vulnerable. Thank you!!!
P.S. I keep falling in love with these 17 ladies over and over again each time I look at their images. Some of them had told me about the things they didn’t like about themselves before and during our session but when I look at these images, I don’t see it. All I see is beauty and strength. I see women who don’t give up, who aren’t afraid to start over again. Women who chase after their dreams and live their lives unapologetically.
I hope this project inspires you and shows you just how stunning natural beauty truly is. And that we shouldn’t be afraid to show the world who we are. And remember, you too are a wildflower.
March 8, 2022
“Wildflowers can’t be controlled, and neither can the girl with a soul boundless as the sky, and a spirit as free and wild as the ocean.” ― Melody Lee Last year, I started a project called “She’s a Wildflower”. I didn’t really know what to expect and how it would turn out. But I did […]
Copyright 2022, Nicole Berndt Photography, All Rights Reserved | Template Design by Alisabeth Designs