One of my first clients and models in front of my camera for this new style of photography I embarked on, was Sunita Changoe.
“A versatile woman, who know exactly what she wants. A woman with a modus operandi. Making friends with patience has always been a challenge for her, like she always says: ‘If I knew where patience would be on sale, I’d let you know once I have purchased my own supply.’ Her mission is very clear: teaching everyone in a certain way to get back to the original state of power enabling one to embrace life with a fresh and clear vision. Therefore her vision is a world in which each individual takes and receives space to express his or her soul and thereby contributing value to the whole: life and thereafter.
The woman I work for is inspiring in the way she wishes everybody the best as an individual and as an entrepreneur. Being very social, she already connects the person she just met for the very first time with other people who could make this new acquaintance’s life more valuable.
The woman I work for is continually developing herself. She studies, follows courses so all the facets of her diamond, like she calls her life, are always illuminating and radiant.
People working with or for her know that her openness also has another side. She is very private. ‘In life one is entitled to have space for every aspect of yourself, so also for your family and relatives.’ She calls it her personal retreat. ‘There is no need to travel far, to get to yourself.’ She is spiritual, but knows that her body needs to be grounded: ‘’Released from your body and connected to all.’
Working with her sometimes is considered a serious challenge. Like she has the greatest expression of herself as a goal, she demands the same from the people she works with.
She is very allergic to the word ‘try’, Like Obi Wan Kenobi says: ‘There is no try’ and like her father taught her ‘Either you do it well or don’t do it at all.’ This places her in the category of woman with a ‘no-nonsense’ – mentality. She doesn’t see problems, but challenges to go inwards and shed a light on the valuable treasures one holds for him-/herself and the world.
As soon as I open my laptop I see the woman I work for. The picture was taken by the international photographer Cristina Stoian. She was able to capture her vulnerability, her power, her heritage and her essence at once and created with that her own legacy.
The woman that I work for with all my attention, love and passion, that woman … is me. ”
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Even thought we are small, we are a team of passionate professionals that are en love with what we do. I work together with them to make you feel your best beautiful and help you relax in front of the camera.
My team consists of: Make-up Artists, Hair Stylists, Photo Retouchers, Assistants, Stylists, Videographers, Designers:
It’s been fun welcoming you into my home and creating portraits in my living room. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my space with you. But sometimes it feels a bit small and photographing families is a bit more difficult in the space.
This is why, this year, one of my goals is to find a studio for my portrait photography.
I have created a moodboard to visualise my dream space and what sort of atmosphere I want to create in it. So, tag me, or let me know, if you see anything like this popping up in your way/timeline.
This summer I have photographed a truly inspiring woman, Zelda Hall. I’ve met her through CRAVE Amsterdam, 7 years ago(!) and we kept in touch via social media. I’ve always admired her as a wise woman of our community as she talks about such important issues in our life.
She’s a psychologist and therapist in Amsterdam. She also gives lectures and workshops internationally.
Her belief is that the task of a therapist is to provide guidance which helps heal the wounds from the past and confirms our own ability to meet the challenges with which life presents us. She offers a safe space to explore with curiosity and compassion that which restricts your freedom to be truly yourself and to lead a joyful and meaningful life.
This November, she and some of her other colleagues will give a workshop in her series: ‘She Who Dares’, series for all women. I invite you to join them, as I think they are few of the authentic, original ‘guides of life’ throughout the city.
- Where did I come from? How has my early life shaped me?
- What am I aiming for in life?
- And how are these two things linked? How does my past affect where I am heading in life?
Faye will look at directions in life. What are your desired goals? And how can an understanding of your background help you plot a course to enable you to reach them? Astrological symbolism can help you discover and enhance your reputation. What do you wish to be known for? What will be your legacy? But what happens when you change country? We will also investigate how a change of location can give the opportunity to redirect and refocus your life – especially when it comes to your career.
The emotional soil that we were rooted in as children has a profound impact on almost every area of our lives. Were your longings nourished or frustrated? What was encouraged and what was frowned upon? What was most emphasised or suppressed – feelings, ideas, identity or security? We each draw on long tangled threads of our forebears’ experiences and in this session we will explore the tap-root of our ancestral trees to discover the wellspring of our motivations, challenges and approach to the world of achievement.
The world needs women who are unafraid to embrace their true power.
Caught between the expectations in our upbringing and the norms of the outside world, staying grounded in our authenticity/integrity can take some doing.
As women we may find that simply having a female body leaves us open to all sorts of criticism and demands, and sometimes even traumatic violations.
We may find ourselves abandoning the feminine aspect of our nature to ‘get ahead’. Whether it is ‘power dressing’ in a pinstripe suit, having voice training to sound more masculine (think Margaret Thatcher) or being cold and heartless to avoid the accusation of being overemotional.
In her workshop, Zelda will look at how to draw strength from our pasts and find the courage to create our futures as we negotiate the world as women while staying fully grounded in our bodies.
Femininity: The quality of being female; womanliness.Feminism: The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. – Oxford Dictionary
While my own mother wore no make-up, and god bless her, was and continues to be naturally beautiful (I know we all say this about our mothers, but in my case it really is true!), the image of the ruby-red lipstick wearing Latina was something Hollywood always made sure I was aware of. Not wanting to be that spitfire stereotype, by the time I fulfilled my childhood dream of going to UC Berkeley, I quickly learned that there were a few no-no´s about my look:
Make-up? In the bin. Wearing it was succumbing to patriarchal notions of femininity. Besides, people should love you for what you have on the inside and not on the outside.
Beautiful high heels? Toss ´em, another symbol of female subjugation. I became all about the Birkenstocks, flats, and sports shoes (though I didn’t exercise)
Frilly dresses that gave any hint of the female form? Jeans were best but sweats a close runner-up. At one point, I had about 15 pairs of jeans. Dresses? No way. All of us, male and female, were the same and dressed only accentuated societal notions of gender. (And I will never forget a friend offering me a change of clothes when I showed up in my flowery dress…I can only laugh now!)
shaved legs and armpits? Natural was the only way to go.
Interesting enough, the only class I took while at UC Berkeley that supported the idea that femininity and feminism could perfectly co-exist was one on Gender! But everything else about being at CAL made clear that my version of femininity was too backward. So I adjusted.
By the time I hit law school, my dress code was set in stone. I occasionally wore a dress if the situation merited it, and I immediately felt uncomfortable. So it became permanent: I couldn´t shake the notion that my notion of femininity, as I had experienced it, equated weakness.
In the subsequent 15-20 odd years, I married, moved countries, had two children. During that period, my workplaces reflected my attitudes about femininity: jeans acceptable, little if any makeup, plain hair.
And amidst all this, in my early 40s, my husband and I had faced a serious crisis. After several years where the highs were incredibly high, and the lows incredibly low, we had become roommates…without benefits. We lived in stone cold silences, only to reconcile with the sweetest of whisperings, with my husband asking me why I was hiding that diamond inside. Only to find ourselves feeling alone and lonely again a few days later. After seriously considering a divorce, we re-committed to one another. And each of us set on a path of self-discovery in order to get that spark back (you can read about it on my website here).
The result of that emotional re-commitment made each of us face some hard truths about ourselves and about each other. One element for me was discovering that I had, indeed, squelched and smothered a diamond inside. That everything that made me wonderful was there, waiting to be discovered…not by anyone else, but by me. So it was that in my 40s, I began wearing make-up again. I learned how to walk in heels again. I got my first waxing treatment (I can still hear the hair removal specialist’s yelp…that’s another story). I got my ears pierced at a jewelry store in Indischebuurt, where my very girly friend Ileana was only too happy to hold my hand. (I will forever be grateful to her).
Of course, wearing make-up and heels did not make me more feminine: I am a woman, I am feminine (see Oxford definition). I believe in equal rights for woman. I am feminist. But through the entire process, I learned that I don’t need to hide what makes me feel happy and feminine…and that includes rejoicing in my female form. Even Alicia Keys, a supporter of the no makeup movement, said on the Today show, an American morning show, that she has nothing against make-up. “I love make-up too…“It’s about how you feel. It’s about who you are. It’s about being who you are and not being told who you should be. This conversation shows our obsession with the standard we hold women and beauty.” Alicia and I are at the same time having reached the same conclusion. And I no longer buy my story that only makeup-free women are taken seriously. It simply is no longer my story, and I feel liberated. Free. My story is rejoicing in my newfound notions of femininity. And relishing in each and every one of them, high heels (well…2-inch platforms max) and all! And part of that was participating in Cristina Stoian’s amazing project.
That said, I also don’t let it all hang out. But even if I did, the decision to do so would be mine. And that is feminism and femininity at its best.” Leticia Vasquez
Leticia Vasquez is a relationship coach. She loves helping women to find lifelong romance without repeating themselves incessantly, whether by crying in rage, sulking, silently seething or fighting. Her approach is rooted in mindfulness and consists of six tools that can help any relationship be rooted in calm, peace…and passion. www.leticia-vasquez.com
Since Holland is in Holiday mode today, I thought I would take a day off from my newsletter too!
I am all about celebrations and time off and feel they are an important aspect in my life.
With this said, I want to thank you for being here and give you a moment to catchup with me.
This is a list of what I have written so far, since the beginning of this wonderful blogging journey.
Renewing the vows with myself
How to Return to Self-Love in 10 Steps
How to prepare for your photoshoot
The many sides of women
Behind the scenes
First step to Love
Raise your daughter’s self esteem
What is a Folio Box
Beauty trends 2016
How do you see yourseld
I am a Woman
Why not exist in photos
Mother and Daughter Day Video
Mother and Daughter Day
Time to Reconnect with your True Self
With the Liberation Day in mind, I want to set you free, please go ahead and unsubscribe if you feel that this newsletter does not serve you well.
If it does, can you think of one friend that might benefit from it, go ahead and forward this email to them.
I would appreciate that.
Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you ! and enjoy this lovely holiday!
This beginning of spring was all about introspection for me.
I had countless of hours of editing in my studio, so lots of time for reflection.
Questions like “How did I get here ?”, “Why am I doing this ?” ran through my head.
3 weeks into editing and one energy reading later, I realised my payoff “Connect Back to Yourself” is a mantra for me.
I’ve been far from myself for a long time and this portrait business, I finally realise, I do it for myself, to heal myself. If I heal other people in the process, which happens often, I’m double happy. It is quite some realisation!
I was running a business before, that brought me to unexpected places. Places I never thought I could get to, by myself. I was pushing myself so far away out of my comfort zone, that at some moment I drifted away from who I was and it did not feel like fun any more.
For that reason, I feel the need to self analyse, so I know I’m completely happy with what I’m doing, so I don’t get tangled into a ‘not so fun’ situation anymore. If I don’t hear in my head a joyful “hell yes”, I won’t do it. That goes with anything in my life right now.
Does that sound familiar ? Are you asking yourself these questions every year?
It is time to renew my vows with myself and check if everything’s aligned.
I wanted more fun in my life, so I decided to get surrounded by girls and do girlie things, like put on makeup and nice dresses, that’s the most fun I could think of, at that moment. It still is :) connecting to my feminine side and acting from that spot – is what I try to do every day.
I wanted to stop taking things so serious, so I changed my focus from business to personal. I used to do things that you “need to have” and now I do things that are in the “nice to have” category. Eg. I was doing linkedin profile shots before and now I’m doing glamour inspired portraits that will last 100 years, what a shift and it feels so good!
I wanted to connect with people and feel I am part of the community. Being an entrepreneur, it seldom feels like being alone, on an island. So I joined groups of photographers and women, online and offline, eventually I started my own group about self love and body image. The 52 Selfie Challenge. I love it, it’s growing, women post a selfie every week, the love and support of women around is unbelievable. We’re all one, support, help and nurture is what we do best. I will gladly accept you in the group if you like.
I wanted to feel pure, clear in my essence, close to myself. I decided to ditch all the other types of photography I was doing, like events or corporate shoots and concentrate on what I love the most, and that is portraiture, it comes natural to me and it also inspires me. It puts me into this great creative space where I have to think about how am going to photograph you, create mood boards with you, get creative with fabrics, paint canvases, etc.
I wanted to feel joy and connect to my emotional side. Which as a creative person and also a woman, there’s plenty of that going on inside, isn’t there ? But somehow I was ignoring it in my work, trying to be all entrepreneur and masculine about it. I’ve added the “Reveal Wall”, in my portraiture business, a little something that gives me so much joy. To see my clients seeing their photos for the first time, like in a gallery of themselves. It is an emotional experience and deep connection. Through the reveal wall, I let them know that I see them that beautiful, and they start crying. Maybe they haven’t felt that in a while or maybe nobody noticed recently. It is empowering and healing.
…Am I saving the world ? there’s that need that I have in myself too. I know, the Messiah complex, they’re calling it. This took me a long time to figure out. Is it shallow, what I am doing ? I’m not finding any cure for cancer, I’m not feeding any hungry kids. This is what took me longer to realise …absolutely I’m saving the world, one woman at a time. I’m helping women feel beautiful… this is my mission and it is amazing. It lifts me up in the morning knowing that I will make one more woman feel beautiful today.
It is the biggest gift I can give you and I am so happy to do so. If what I’m making for you makes you happy even for a second, my mission is accomplished. I’m doing my little part for the world.
Now that I know what I’m doing is inline with my core values, I know it is going to be satisfying for me, and in turn, for you too. “Do something with the joy of a little child that feeds a hungry duck in the park”, Marshall Rosenberg used to say, the mamnoon energy, life’s too short to give out of any other energy.
.. so my work lately was inwards, now I’m ready to come out and play and with spring here, I’ll be more active socially. I have also finished the clients work that I have had so far, from winter and I am looking forward to the new ones!
Come visit me at my studio! I have open doors for you & free coffee.
Let’s discuss your inner desires for your next photoshoot and see if this is something you would like to do.
While it is a common term within the photographic industry, I feel many of my clients do not know what a Folio Box is.
A folio, comes from the times that photographers had to present their work to potential clients in a portfolio. An artist’s portfolio is an edited collection of their best artwork intended to showcase an artist’s style or method of work, showing different samples of current work. Historically, Portfolios were printed out and placed into a book.
THE BEAUTIFUL PRODUCTS AND HOW THEY’RE DELIVERED
THE FOLIO BOX
As a more private option, the handmade Folio Box, Eclipse from Seamless. It is a beautiful keepsake, designed with luxury in mind, a black, hand-made presentation box that is finished with a beautifully textured material and a silky-smooth black ribbon.
I put these together for people and they will cherish them for ever. It becomes part of their heritage.
I use Seamless Slide-In Mats. While they offer several size options, I prefer the 20x30cm matted to 30x40cm, it’s the European size and it is the default size I use.
The prints inside the folio box are made at LabFotoKiekie. I use them because they’re high quality and they use archival paper, which is the same print as the ones museum use, it’s a print that’s going to last for 100 years. My paper preference is the Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper Supreme in Lustre.