I like stories, and I like learning about other people’s experience because I believe it can inspire and prompt me to do something about my own life.
Today I’m going to tell you about my first experience on the other side of the camera lens. This is a story of me as a ballet dancer, not as a photographer.
I must confess, I started to get anxious while we were still arranging this photoshoot. Once we had agreed with the photographer and set the date for our shooting via email, I shut my laptop and panicked. I thought that since I had some time left (about a week) before shooting, I would try and get as ready as I could, I would do everything I could to look my best. And what do you think was my first thought?! Of course, I decided to lose some weight – the decision that seemed most logical at the time, and which later I would regret very much.
That following week I went to class with unusual determination and trained with more vigor, deceiving myself that in a week this would yield some kind of result. Not having many leotards, I borrowed some from my friends. I also attached ribbons to a new pair of pointe shoes because I thought I needed new, clean shoes for the shooting.
The day of the photoshoot had come.
To say that I was nervous is to say nothing. I was feeling very weak, as I had been losing weight, although with my built it barely showed. I simply had no energy to do anything.
In just 5 minutes, my feet were sore with the new pointe shoes: we had decided to shoot with bare legs. An hour later, I absolutely had to take off the shoes. I was ashamed to ask for it because as a ballerina I was taught to endure pain, but it was truly excruciating and I could not bear it anymore.
Without shoes, I didn’t like the sight of my toes. My feet have this particular feature, that is, the arches look naturally good but not as advantageous as if I had been wearing shoes. So, it was only an hour into the photoshoot but I had already become increasingly self-aware and ashamed of my body.
Very soon, I began to be disappointed in the idea of the photoshoot itself. I don’t really remember what exactly the photographer was telling me but I remember her expecting some suggestions from me. After all, it was I who was the Ballerina, not she.
All in all, I was numb. I had to do something, but what? What kind of poses? What positions? I was losing my mood at the speed of sound. The seeds of self-awareness had grown into a huge garden of insecurity. We had worked for about 3 hours, and all those hours I felt nothing but discomfort and wanted it all to end quickly.
Now, analyzing my first shooting from the point of view of my experience both as a ballet dancer and as a photographer, I can share one special insight with you.
Being a professional ballet dancer with high standards, you still must find in your craft a little room for self-appreciation. Yes, I understand that it is difficult, especially when all training is aimed at finding and eradicating flaws. But you have to try. After all, your body is beautiful. As for the photographers, they need to be able to find words of support and understand the model’s feelings but I will talk about it in another post.
By the way, back then I didn’t like the photos. I thought I was all crooked and fat. Today, I admire them because actually I had a beautiful body.
You should love yourself. In this world there is no limit to perfection, and which is why you should love yourself even more.