An Open Letter To Eves

Written by Gregory Byerline on March 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Filed under Inspiration • Tags: , , ,

The past six years have been exciting on many levels. Meghann and I moved to East Nashville (home to many a musician, artist, and a host of delicious local restaurants). We traveled to Italy, Guatemala, and Amsterdam. I co-produced two jazz records. Mollie was born. And numerous other great events and milestones.

Also, six years ago I started my photography business. Early on, I only photographed places and things, intentionally bypassing people. The thought of photographing people intimidated me. I didn’t know how to do it, and I didn’t want to do it.

Luckily that was a short-lived intimidation because today I can think of nothing more interesting to photograph than people, and I’m thrilled that I have been able to photograph all kinds of people from all walks of life in several countries. Crossing vast age groups, professions, and other demographic backgrounds, it’s been quite fulfilling to look back at portraits from recent years.

In the U.S., and I presume around the world, females comprise a vast majority of photography purchases made, and it’s a safe assumption that nearly 90% of the people I photograph are females. Grooms definitely factor into the equation plus the occasional male executive or actor/musician/model, but they’re the exception to the rule. In short, when considering my lovely wife (obviously a female), my beautiful daughter, my long list of female clients, and even our dog Sundae (also a female), I live in a land of women … and I’m certainly OK with that.

Given that proportion, I’ve discovered that this multi-faceted and mysterious gender has distinct commonalities when it comes to her photographic wishes, insecurities, and reactions. From the professional model to the girl-next-door, I hear the same comments and concerns voiced by practically all of the women I’ve been fortunate to photograph.

It is from this perspective that I’d like to send this encouraging, open letter to Eves, the much fairer gender than we Adams.

 

 

 

To Eves everywhere, with the utmost respect:

1. Femininity is the pinnacle of all Creation. Ponder that for a moment – the Creator saved the very best for last … completing Creation with Eve.

2. Your shape and figure are astounding, and proof lies throughout art history (the art that openly depicted curves), photographic history (remember those great photos from the 1940s–50s when “normal” was size 12?), and the gazillion dollar intimate apparel industry celebrating the adornment of your form. When was the last time you saw a Victor’s Secret store?

3. It’s less about what you have (or don’t have) and more about how you feel about it or what you do with it.

4. Confidence is sexiest. I didn’t say “sexi-ER”; I said “sexi-EST”. Most sexy, as in, nothing is more sexy.

5. True beauty comes from within. Though being on “The Bachelor” might seem like every man’s dream  – dozens of beautiful women vying for one man’s affections – it really is difficult for a man to watch because most of those girls are flat out mean, conniving, bitchy, and unbearable. It’s painful actually. Remember …”honey gets the bee.”

6. Embrace your post-20s years. There’s more to come after age 29. So much more. More confidence. More joy. More fulfillment. More independence. More success. More challenges you’ve overcome. More richness. Fine wine age slowly over time. I promise you’ll prefer to relive your 30s much more than you think about reliving your 20s.

7. Hips are beautiful; other curves are too. They’re part of what makes you a woman, and they’re what make your jeans fit so well, and, therefore, look so good. Right? Why yes, yes they are. Mm-K?

8. Runways models are essentially “walking hangers”…do you really want that kind of figure? Straight, flat, and wiry? They are selling clothes, not a picture of ideal health and wellness.

9. Aveeno girls are far more interesting and attractive than Playboy bunnies (image link intentionally withheld).

10. Please, please, PLEASE look at your smile and the love between you and others in a photo before looking at your “trouble area.” As a photographer, I attest that every type of Eve I’ve photographed goes for the trouble area first. Every type…including “the” type that others aspire to.

11. If you think you don’t look good in pictures, that’s likely why you end up not looking good in pictures. Remember the earlier statement about confidence.

12. Crow’s feet are sexy. Laughter tracks; signs of a happy life.

13. Everyone ages. Sun bunnies age even faster. Rock a fashionable hat and sunscreen. SPF = Such a Perfect Friend.

14. Mona Lisa is quite homely by society’s beauty standards today, but that mystic smile and those mysterious eyes make up for it. And they’ve made her famous for centuries.

15. It’s obvious who is more interesting to watch during a couples dance. Admit it, even you ladies watch the female dancers more than the male dancers.

16. Everybody has issues. Even people we think are “perfect.” This is the same person, actress Scarlett Johansson (pictured below). All that differs is the presence of a stylist (or four), retouching, and a confident presence of mind.

17. Every body has issues. This isn’t a repeat statement. See the difference?

18. Worry ages you. Rapidly. Smiles cause less wrinkles than frowns and scowls. Laugh. Smile. Radiate. If you’re happy and you know it, tell your face.

19. Looking through several “beauty” boards on Pinterest, I see mostly superficial cosmetic/hair ideas and few internal joy/happiness ideas. Who’s willing to step up and start reversing that trend?

20. When you’ve looked at vintage photos and wondered about those models’ tiny waists, remember that corsets and other shapewear were en vogue then. They’re en vogue again now. Ask your man what he really thinks about those undergarments (and, more importantly, what’s inside them), and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

21. Finally…Pretty is everywhere; presence is everything. Read that again, slowly … “Pretty is everywhere; presence is everything.” Be yourself. You’re the only one who can do that.

Respectfully,

One Adam, hopefully speaking for a world of others (can I get a hearty “amen!” fellas?)

 

19 Comments »

  1. LOVE this! And love the honest male opinion! And yes, confidence IS sexiest!

    Comment by Michelle Ocampo — March 2, 2012 @ 6:08 pm
  2. So wonderfully written! I love this also! Wow…just…wow.

    Comment by Charisse Rhodes — March 2, 2012 @ 8:44 pm
  3. Totally in love with this!

    Comment by Stephanie O — March 2, 2012 @ 9:51 pm
  4. I am impressed beyond words! Very beautifully written and greatly appreciated! AMEN!!!

    Comment by Hillary Shemin — March 2, 2012 @ 10:29 pm
  5. Something every woman needs to hear, and you’ve stated it so well. Thank you.

    Comment by Shelly P Chetty — March 3, 2012 @ 6:53 am
  6. duuuude. preach on! so many great points, but I especially dig the points about
    how rich and full a woman’s life becomes in her 30’s and beyond. more women need to hear this from the men in their life.

    Comment by ali anderson — March 3, 2012 @ 9:40 am
  7. Thanks for the feedback so far everyone. Glad this resonates with you. Cheers.

    Comment by Gregory Byerline — March 3, 2012 @ 11:13 am
  8. Beautifully written Gregory. Thanks for sending it my way.

    Comment by Christine — March 7, 2012 @ 8:45 am
  9. Fabulous! Every woman needs to hear this in their head when they face the mirror each day. Well done! Thank you!

    Comment by Cheryl — March 7, 2012 @ 9:22 am
  10. I love this post! You really nailed every aspect. It is honest, holistic and refreshing. Though I am a woman, much of my thoughts on “beauty” are the same. What women wouldn’t feel a sense of trust when being in front of your spirit, eye and lens? After reading this I would feel confident that you would capture my essence in the most favorable manner for sure. Anyway, this post is eloquent and so perfectly said. :.)

    Comment by Angela Disrud — March 7, 2012 @ 10:41 am
  11. Christine, Cheryl, and Angela…thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.

    Comment by Gregory Byerline — March 7, 2012 @ 11:16 pm
  12. You had me at sexy! This is beautiful and I truly believe that confidence is the key. It wasn’t until my thirties that I realized I could get just as much attention in sweatpants standing in the line at Walmart than barely dressed at a downtown night club. =) I love my thirties and these dangerous curves.

    Comment by Donice — March 12, 2012 @ 9:46 pm
  13. All I know is what I know. And what I know is I’m not 12, 24 or even 40. Frankly, it doesn’t faze me. I am loved so totally. I feel so pretty. I love laugh lines… so much so, I made my own. 

    Comment by Jules — July 12, 2012 @ 12:44 am
  14. Jules…you know the secret of life. Your husband and family benefit greatly by having you in their lives.

    Comment by Gregory Byerline — July 12, 2012 @ 12:59 am
  15. Love this! I always have women hating everything about themselves when I take their pictures and I wish they could see them how I do 😀

    Comment by Terra Cooper — April 15, 2013 @ 2:01 pm
  16. Fantastic! I love my newly developing crows feet…they are evidence of years and years of SMILING!!!

    Comment by Julie Watts — April 16, 2013 @ 3:26 pm
  17. “I wish they could see them how [we] do” is something I’ve been saying for years. Starting to think we may be heading in that direction. And that’s where we come in.

    Comment by Gregory Byerline — April 16, 2013 @ 6:48 pm
  18. Nice. Beautifully written. You are truely talented.

    Comment by Susan Winslow Yeager — April 22, 2013 @ 8:08 pm
  19. Look at you! So great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and reading a bit. Always nice to have the familiar-name-bells ring. I hope you’re doing well.

    Comment by Gregory Byerline — April 22, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

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