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: