The beginning of this story is wispy–foggy, surreal, a bitty baby of an idea. Ideas that form in the wee hours of the morning (dawdling in dreamland is where I do my best thinking), then flower and pollinate the surrounding gray matter, just enough to be deemed acceptable for saying out loud.
That’s the very scientific version of how I got the idea for this project.
I’m amazed, absolutely amazed, at where it’s gone from its humble beginnings somewhere inside my head. (Isn’t creativity amazing?!)
I’m proud to announce the gallery display of the photos from the “I Am Beautiful Because…” series in the Harold B. Lee Library on BYU campus.
My heart swells even more at the journal you see on the pedestal there. Strangers have written the most incredible, uplifting things in that book–when I was having a terrible day I just came down and read it and cried, cried.
Sometimes I sit by the display and watch people walk by. Some don’t look up. Most move their eyes in time with their walking pace, catching a glimpse but probably late for their homework or their psychology class or their life. Some stop, though, and share bits of their hearts with me. It’s electrifying.
If you’d like to share a bit of your heart with me, there’s still time to see the exhibit in the BYU library through December–my, how it would thrill me if you did!
My name is Brooke Schultz and I’m a photographer and female enthusiast (isn’t that a fun title?) who is passionate about every woman’s right to believe she is beautiful and openly label herself as such.
This project began from this belief, from the feisty feminist in me who wanted to push back against the ridiculous, incessant messages women get about not being good enough. I teamed up with Women’s Services’ Recapturing Beauty campaign, through which I selected women for the project based on what I call “reverse” modeling: I chose each woman solely based on her completion of the statement “I Am Beautiful Because…”
and nothing else.
Having no idea what these women looked like before I met them was exhilarating, and seeing how their statements rang true and emanated from their bodies, whatever size, was utter magic. I caught my breath so many times, put my camera down, and just yelped at them crazy things like, “This is amazing!” and, “You are so beautiful!” Words failed once again to describe what was really going on. What was really going on was the connection of two souls, the vulnerability and the acceptance, the going-out-on-a-scary-limb and the support. In that connection and energy was the beauty.
If you still want in on this project, it’s not too late!
Email me your completion of this sentence: “I Am Beautiful Because…” and we just might be able to add you to the trove of strong, beautiful women in this series. (brookebee at gmail dot com)