Vulnerability; the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
I don’t think there’s a better word to describe 2020.
Living in the new normal, being judged for wearing or not wearing a mask, all the while being terrified of the unknown; just walking down the street can feel like standing naked in a crowd.
This photo for me sparks a complex conversation between the narrative of COVID-19 and the intense emotional battle we have all encountered during the course of this year.
2020 may have slowed, and even brought to an abrupt halt, so many aspects of life as we know it, but it has also opened our hearts and sparked CHANGE in the world. During the overwhelming silence of this time I’ve had the opportunity to think, and it has inspired me to move forward on a path I was afraid to go down a few short months ago.
Anyone who follows my work knows that I love creating art for women that shows respect to the female form and celebrates their bodies.
I will ALWAYS offer an option for POWERFUL women’s portraiture.
With that said, I have made the decision to pull back on WDP as a client focused business, and put my focus into creative personal endeavors; exhibitions, teaching, and narrative story telling through my images.
I have had the time of my life on this journey so far, and I hope that all of you continue to follow me on this new path.
All that’s really important to say is THANK YOU.
Thank you for your support, thank you for your love.
What started as a unity + empowerment photoshoot earlier this fall, bringing together 9 different women… 9 strong, unique women from completely different backgrounds with incredible stories of strength + adversity, turned into so much more than we ever could have imagined. 🖤
These women were willing to bare it all with each other and in front of the camera. They cried together, laughed together, and shared deep personal stories + the brightest of life’s joys with each other. Their stories are that of STRENGTH, COURAGE, and TRIUMPH.
Stories of: MOTHERHOOD FAITH FITNESS + BODY IMAGE ATHLETES FIGHTERS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EATING DISORDERS ADDICTION OVERCOMERS LGBTQ STRENGTH CHAMPIONS
Over the course of one month, we bonded together not only as women, but as imperfect human beings… broken, alive, grateful, and proudly still breathing.
THEY are PROOF that as women WE are STRONGER together…
THEY are PROOF that ALL SIZES… ALL COLORS… ALL BODIES… ALL PEOPLE are BEAUTIFUL…
THEY are PROOF that YOU CAN ACCEPT YOURSELF, accept your STORY, accept your BODY… exactly the way it is.
It’s important to remember that our stories do NOT define us… they are only a piece of who we are.
Each of these women shared a story that so many other women can relate to, stories that hit home for all of us. From those stories, I’d like to leave you words of wisdom and strength that stood out to me from each one.
To this powerhouse of 9 women, I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for this incredible experience. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your candid, open hearts, & thank you for trusting me to champion this.
Recovery came easy… I had two beings that needed me, that were looking up to me, it was the push forward that I needed. Once I got sober I realized, I wasn’t feeling my problems, I wasn’t feeling my pain. I didn’t love myself, and I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love. Once I was ready, I was able to conquer the world. Now, if I can put that drive into helping people get sober… I’m good with that.
It can be so hard to love yourself again after trauma, but gaining that strength back IS possible… what happened was never about YOU. “I had found the strength in my mind to leave knowing that my son deserved better. Talking about it has helped me help others in my situation. I strive to be the girl that understands the others in these situations, so they know not everyone judges them and that someone else gets it too.
I remember being obsessed with the sound of a clacking heal. I remember everyone saying “There is a time and a place.“, but I always thought to myself ‘a time and a place to be myself??’ That should be always, it took me educating myself to realize that my body did not match my soul… It took a lot of unconditional love and support, but I did it! I try to not talk about the bullies and haters in my story… but since this is about empowerment I will tell you, that we are all bigger than the problem & stronger than those who try to break us down. Stay beautiful.
I encourage you all to truly take a step back and account for the many blessings you have that have brought you to where are you today. Despite the setbacks and the challenges and all the awful, terrible, unjust things that have happened to you. Think about that. Carry it with you. My deepest hope is that you will listen to my story and those of so many others and act upon it as if it’s your own. Meaning look out for others in how you speak, how you act, how you vote, how you teach your children/family/partners. Because your fellow humans need you and you never know how you might be critical to the survival of someone else.
Growing up as an immigrant I always felt different from the other people that I knew. I didn’t quite fit in as fully American or fully Nigerian. As time went by I ended up finding that to be a superpower of mine, because I don’t like stereotypes. I like to do my own thing and never having one set culture to adhere to allowed me to be who I am authentically without trying to fit into any mold because I knew that I couldn’t perfectly fit in either.
I’mnow living for my happiness. I’ve come a long way from where I started as an adolescent up until adulthood. Learning to believe in and celebrate myself, even on the small successes, even when only a few people are here to celebrate with me. Overcoming fear, heartache, stress, anxiety, and sadness. Overcoming the self-deprecation that I bestowed upon myself all those years ago… Remembering that I’m not here just to exist but to live a life that I deserve.
I have struggled my entire life feeling like I wasn’t good enough, and with loving myself. I spent many, many years hating myself and the body that I was in, searching in all the wrong places for love and acceptance! Throughout my journey I have healed my mind body and soul, and I hope to inspire other women to do the exact same.
Through everything, I became who I am today. I fought for what I deserved, held out until the right man came along, and keep high standards for the people I keep around me. – Everyday is a struggle fighting the demons I thought I suppressed, but I am still proud of who I am – proud that I have fought back against the things that tried to tear me down, because there were many times that I felt like they had won. But I’m still here. And there’s got to be a reason, and I plan to find it and fulfill it.
In the mess, in the brokenness, in the darkness, I could still see light. I realized this, we all have a story, and with that story we can shed light, we can help, we can turn all the brokenness into victories! – As my faith grew stronger… My heart was open to things I wouldn’t ever imagine I’d be ok with… I become friends with women who were broken, and just needed a hug, that same hug I needed when I was young. I listened to them, I loved them… they helped me through things I never knew I could get through. – Knowing I’ve OVERCOME so much in my life is LIGHT to my darkness.
I had the opportunity to work with fashion blogger and model Marlene Mota in New York this summer. Marlene is a full-time fashion blogger, living in Harlem, NY. She has modeled for top designers, as well as the runway and for several publications, with fashion photographers from across the industry. She is looking forward to her future in fashion and building her personal brand.
We planned this shoot with high fashion meets affordability in mind. H&M is exactly the type of brand we knew could complete this look.
Paired with a leather, Chanel handbag and mixed with a fresh perspective of East meets West; this shoot was brought to life by this beautiful location in Brooklyn, NY.
There’s just something about shooting in New York, the city lights, the grit, the dream chasers… there’s no other place that can inspire like NYC!