The Beauty Project - Amber

Although I have loved photographing all my beautiful Beauty Project ladies, I think that Amber's session has been one of my favorites.  Amber is going through a very difficult and painful time in her life right now which has given her self-esteem a major blow.  Her images reflect the incredible array of emotions that she is going through right now, and she wanted to participate in The Beauty Project to capture those emotions. She also wanted to use this portrait session as an opportunity to reframe how she sees herself. Her actual photo session was emotional, but when Amber and her mother came to her portrait reveal, and Amber saw how truly beautiful she is, she broke down in tears!!  Again, I was reminded of how truly powerful this entire experience has been for so many of these lovely women, and I was humbled.   Please enjoy Amber's images and her story.

Makeup by Jenn at Painted Sparrow Artistry
Hair by Curious


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How old are you?  I'll be 33 in April.

Are you from Calgary?  Born and raised in Calgary. I have never lived elsewhere.

Are you married?  My husband left me in January. My heart is still married.

Do you have children? No

What do you do for a living? I work in Human Resources. I strive to give people dignity and empathy in situations where I am forced to deliver horrible news. I do research and try my best to effect positive changes in my workplace. Repect for people "as people" is important.

Have you ever had a portrait session (by yourself) before?  I never have.

Why do you want to participate in The Beauty Project? Because I know there is beauty in me. Right now I am wounded. There is a certain beauty to be found in the melancholy. I can see it on the periphery, but I confess I feel lost. Maybe your lens can help me reframe myself.

What does beauty mean to you? There is beauty in all things. Beauty is a simple framing of life for me. It means acceptance. There is beauty in joy and also in sorrow. Life simply is beautiful, but only if you look at it with love and acceptance.

When do you feel the most beautiful? In the mountains, or out in the prairie grass looking at my mountains. The air outside makes me feel whole.

What does being a woman mean to you? Right now I am questioning that daily.My identity is shredded. Once, being a woman meant being half of a whole. Now it has to be the whole. I know I can be that. Intellectually, I know that my personhood isn't defined by him. Emotionally, it's less clear. Being a woman means strength, and endurance, and integrity. It means not settling or backing down. Women fight. Women are strong. We are caregivers and healers. I am those things. I am a woman.

What do you love about yourself? I love my sense of humor. I love my child-like spirit and my wonder. I love my imagination and I love my fragile heart. I think I am an authentic person. I love my honesty and self awareness. I love me.

Tell me your story: Once upon a time a little girl fell off a swing. She didn't know how to get back on. With bruised and bloody knees she stood up and watched the seing limply float toward her and then away again. She no longer trusted the swing. Maybe it was time to investigate the see-saw.

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Oh my goodness...Amber!  I am crying as I am typing this out because now that I know you a bit better I know that you are all those things and more!!  You deserve to love yourself, and you deserve happiness. I really pray that your participation in The Beauty Project helps you to heal, and helps you to see yourself as the truly beautiful woman that you are.