I had been chatting with Erin, who you will meet in these photographs, about how surreal it was to be back “here”. And by “here”, I meant in a place of seeking out and directly empowering women. You see, as a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, I created a collection called “she was stunning. a collection of her stories”. It consisted of my black and white (film) photography and writing, celebrating the triumphs and trials of the everyday woman. It was a portfolio project that I turned into a gift collection and wholesaled across Canada. By the time I graduated with my BFA in photography, I was running my first business. Alongside SWS, I also worked on my wedding photography in the Calgary and Canmore area and after 5 years of tandem-running both businesses, decided that the gift collection was too niche, and I would focus all my energy as a wedding photographer. Working with people, telling their stories, immersing myself in their lives and love is what makes my heart sing. And certainly, as a wedding photographer, I get to be part of one of the most beautiful and love-filled days of my couples’ lives. It remains to this day, my absolute dream job. I love photographing regular people and making them feel comfortable and wonderful, my goal is within minutes. I want everyone I photograph to leave their session happy and confident. Which, in a roundabout way, led me to creating a little side project, a project of my heart, called Hello Lovely. About 2 years ago, I discovered a movement called body positivity on Instagram. Bloggers like GabiFresh, GlitterandLazers, LoeyLane, KillerCurves, FatGirlFlow, and many others, were taking ownership of their bodies and LOVING themselves. Not just simply accepting their curves, rolls, cellulite, jiggle, etc etc etc, but truly celebrating their bodies. As a photographer and also as a new mom, I had already experienced my share of body insecurity and shame from those around me. New moms with gorgeous babies refusing to have their picture taken, refusing to ‘exist’ in a photograph because they simply couldn’t stand to look at themselves… it took me a year to finally start my project in September 2016. I decided I could use my skills as a professional photographer to photograph 100 plus size women as a way to advocate and promote body positivity and self love. One of my rules is that you have to love yourself or at least be open to the idea. The response I have received for my project has been overwhelming. I leave each shoot event positively beaming from meeting such incredible women. To my surprise, I got the attention of Suzy Shier, who just so happens to have recently launched their Curve plus size collection. They offered gift certificates to 5 women of my choice, with the idea that we would offer a shopping party and a photoshoot for the women. I brought Shirley E from Makeup by Shirley E and Krista Dumonceau from Lava Hair on board to really glam up the experience. I could not be happier with how everything turned out, from the shopping party with the BEST staff at the Suzy Shier TD Square to my amazing hair and makeup team, to the shoot location and thankfully decent weather. Thank you to the gorgeous women for sharing their stories and their time with me. You all are so inspiring and I feel humbled to be in your presence, to have gotten to know you better. If you want to see more of the project, check out @hello.lovelyyc on Instagram, and be sure to follow @suzyshierofficial and @makeupbyshirleyE and @kddhairsport –Check out the Suzy Shier Blog Here!
Hair: Krista Dumonceau Lava Hair
Makeup. Shirley E Makeup by Shirley E
Clothing: Suzy Shier http://ow.ly/tjs6309aPaK