by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Maya Angelou's poem makes me think about all people who have been downtrodden, kept as slaves, abused, misused. And women, half of the human race, have been in all those categories in all countries at all stages of human history. So when they want to celebrate themselves, that's a big thing in my eyes.
Lots of women approach me about boudoir shoots. It's something they generally want for themselves - both for the experience and for a beautiful record that will last through all the changes of their lives and their body shape. It's a celebration of their female selves, a way in which they can rise, enjoying the "gifts that [their] ancestors gave". In most cases, is something they've been thinking of doing for a while, but either lack of confidence in how they think they look, or just finding the right photographer, can hold them back.
In all cases though, the boudoir experience far outweighs their expectations. From deciding on a make up look, how they want their hair styled, choosing the underwear and accessories, the whole photographic experience and then through to seeing the results and choosing how they want those results printed, women all leave with a huge smile on their face. "It was so much fun"! "Incredible, I didn't know I could look beautiful", "Amazing" and "Thank you, thank you" are all statements I hear over and over again.
Every single woman is beautiful, special, unique, individual. And I'm so thrilled when I'm asked to capture those qualities. Thank you.
Please do go and visit Isabelle's blog post, so you can continue around the circle!