A brother of the Bee Gees and me - a kiss and tell story

20046625_10155845972729245_1134209807139159760_n.jpg

The older ones amongst you might recognise Andy Gibb, the brother of the Bee Gees, and if you don’t recognise him then surely the teeth give it away. The other person in the photo is me, an awkward, shy girl of 13 years old, not really understanding why I was in a TV studio, with cages, Phantom Flan Flingers and copious amounts of water and foam flying around. I certainly wasn’t interested in some random guy coming up to me and planting a kiss on my cheek (hence the foam on my face) and everyone telling me to have my photo taken with his arm around me.

I mean – who WAS this guy? And even worse – I SO did not want my photo taken. I mean – look at the panic on my face!

Fast forward 40 years, almost to the day, Andy Gibb is dead for many years of suspected drug abuse and for the past 4 years I have been photographing women who don’t like to be photographed, who freeze just like I did in this photo, whenever a camera is brought out.

My journey to self-acceptance  started around 4 years ago. I was photographing family portraits and weddings and ticking along just fine but over time I was noticing a pattern of women coming to see me and talking about how awful they felt about the way they looked. Often they were at a crisis points in their lives and lacked confidence. The way they talked about themselves was just heart-breaking.

I just HAD to do something about it. I hired a make up artist and a room in a hotel and did some portfolio shoots.

As soon as I started to post these pictures on Facebook, a steady stream of women presented themselves at my door – women with chronic illnesses, depression, troubled childhoods, women  going through relationship breakdowns – they were all different except for one thing: they were not seeing the same person in the mirror as everyone else was seeing. They sense of self value was non-existent, they felt forgotten in all the family “stuff” and felt de-feminised. All they wanted was to feel special, valued and beautiful. But they HATED having their photos taken. It was crisis point and they knew they had to do SOMETHING

The reaction when they looked in the mirror after the makeover and then at the photographs in the back of the camera (I had to show them – I couldn’t wait for these beautiful women to see what I was seeing) was often of “is that really me?” – not because they didn’t look like themselves, but because it had been so long since they had spent some time on themselves. The smiles, the tears of joy were so rewarding.

So why does this work? How have I been able to build a fulltime business out of photographing women? Well I think it’s because I UNDERSTAND.

I know what it’s like to hate looking at yourself in photos. Helping these women has healed me and I am quite happy to pose for photos myself now. They are all that will be left of me when I’m gone and I have no right to deprive my family of memories. But I know it’s not so easy for everyone.

If you have to get your profile photo taken for your business or for work, it can feel like getting your teeth pulled – an ordeal,  and then you would rather not look at the photo afterwards.

BUT if you come to me for your corporate headshots I promise you that you will LOVE the experience. Held in a stunning location, we will take care of your hair and make up and even advise you of your wardrobe. Your images will be timelessly beautiful, polished, professional and memorable – for all the right reasons.

 I am on a mission to get all women to feel confident, to love having their photos taken for work  and to leave beautiful memories for their children. Join me!

janette edmonds