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What it's REALLY like to have a story and photo session for the Too Much of a Person project

After reading a social media post of D’s about this project in November 2017 - I knew that I had to take part, at least as a participant. I told family, friends and strangers about the project and encouraged them to book their sessions.

It took me a while to book my own session; I knew I had to but I’m not quick to share when it puts me in a position of vulnerability, and the process of taking photos of myself and then looking at them fills me with dread.

However, this project was important to me and I wasn’t going to let my fears/insecurities get in the way of sharing my story. I can’t remember how and when I finally found the courage to book the session, but I am so glad that I did. The quickest way for me to describe the session would be part photoshoot and part therapy session.

So here’s a full breakdown of what happens:

When I arrived for the photo and story session, I was greeted by a cheery Diana….

Story session: I got mic’d up by the lovely BAFTA award nominated sound recordist, Kyle and then sit down to have a conversation with Diana. That’s pretty much it. We talked. It’s like talking to your best friend. Diana makes you feel warm and provides a safe space to share thoughts, feelings and experiences without any judgement. I talked about the times I was called “too…” (Coming soon to the stories section of this website!) and then about if or how I thought each of those characteristics were my actually my power. It’s mostly me talking and Diana listening, I rambled on for a long time and it was cathartic. At the end, Diana uses her camera to record a short video snippet of you listing what you were called too much of and summary of how they could be your power. It’s very simple, clean and takes as long as you want it to take.

Photoshoot: As mentioned above, I absolutely detest looking at pictures of myself and I had spent months practicing poses/trying find an angle that worked for me. I’m incredibly insecure about the way I look and any social media photos are selected from a plethora of photos and a vigorous screening process. The thought of relinquishing this power over to someone else and trust their judgement on which photo would be best to display to the world is terrifying to me.

Diana reassured me that there is no such thing a bad photos, only bad photographers. She then asked me a slightly morbid but incredibly profound question, if this picture was going to be the last ever picture of me, what would I want it to look like?

I wanted it to be a picture where I felt good about myself. I wanted to feel glamorous, strong and confident like all the women on fashion magazine covers. But I struggled to channel that energy. I just didn’t know how to. We pulled out a stack of Vogue and flicked through till we found a photoshoot spread of Zoey Kravitz that I loved and was excited and inspired by. At the end of the shoot, I felt great. For the first time in a really long time, I didn’t care how I looked in the photos, I didn’t ask to see them and honestly, how I looked didn’t matter - which felt amazing.

Post shoot binge: After a long but wonderful photoshoot, we did what all professionals do and binged on some sugar glazed donuts that I had brought to celebrate with. I felt fabulous and – so new for me – I actually look forward to seeing how these photos turn out.

I would strongly recommend to anyone who has a story to share about being called “too much” to dismiss or conform them that they should book a session with Diana. This was exactly what I needed to cleanse myself of the past I was holding on to.

Here’s what some of the other participants had to say about their experience:

... A Fairy Connection. I had no idea what i had signed up for, and i was hungover and got lost on the way there. But when i met Diana i was instantly put at ease. Her soft, gentle, yet explorative and adventurous approach made me feel that we were both going on a journey together and create a magical atmosphere. And it turns out we both have a connection in fairies... it was meant to be. Can't wait to see the project! ...
- Helen Chapman
... Absolutely inspiring and really thought provoking. I kept having more 'Too Much-es' crop up all evening/ night after my session. Sensitively and engagingly handled. Exciting and I really look forward to all the activities of Launch and Exhibition. Thank you ...
- Penni Blythe
... Too much of a person. Loved my shoot with Diana. A beautiful lady with a lovely, genuine heart. Would recommend anyone to get their photo taken by her. She brought out the best in me, my confidence and openness. I cannot wait to see the pictures! Thank you for allowing me to be apart of this wonderful project. Lots of love to you ...
- Kathryn Wilson
... Let's Kick Ass! Diana was very patient as it took me quite a while to warm up, but then I felt I could really let loose! It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to seeing it all together and how the public responds to this exhibit, hopefully we can inspire more women on a much larger scale! Xx ...
- Vicky Carter
... Too much of a person - Hell Yes I Am!! It was such an amazing session; Diana made me feel so comfortable and was so easy to talk to. Talking through my experiences and feelings with Diana really helped me to reaffirm why it is so important to be ok with every bit of my too much and how its my power. And how I can use this power to help other people be ok with their too much. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this experience; really looking forward to the end product! Xxx ...
- Aman Doll
... Too much of a person....I am not. Brilliant project Diana! Your session made me realise few things and validated that being too much can be defined in so many ways that actually the question is can someone be too much or is it us judging and benchmarking. My too muchness is actually my power and my energy and I love it. It's my fire. You are amazing and so easy to talk to, thank you for a lovely time. I hope this project will empower all women that think they are too much and make them realise that it is actually ok to be they way we are. Thank you for letting me being part of it.xxx ...
- Sandra Buonfrate
... Had the most amazing session with. Diana, you made me feel like it was a chat with a friend opposed to having an interview. You have an amazing gift and I love how you are using it to help empower people which is truly amazing. Thank you so much for letting me be part of this. X ...
- Jenny
... Brilliant! Diana, you are such a heart-warming person, and this project is another proof of it: art mixing with care for others and what they are going through, both used to help. Thank you for being too much of so many things, and for sharing these many assets with others. Your being too much is a blessing, and so so so much better than not enough. XX ...
- Virginie Bonfils-Bedos