Happy International Women’s Day!!
Woman to Woman – a portrait series.
I have been wanting to run an International Women’s Day campaign for a number of years. Each yqear would come and go along with my unexecuted plans. This year, like the previous few, February crept up on me and I realized that IWD was approaching fast. With my idea ready to go, I debated whether or not to move forward with the campaign due to the limited time frame for completion. In fact, I decided not to proceed and to push it until next year (again). This idea – woman to woman – kept pulling at my heart so I decided to move forward with it anyway. I knew that I didn’t have much time to put together the photo shoots and that I wouldn’t be able to get as many done as I’d hoped, but I just had to make it happen. I am so glad that I did.
Woman to Woman is a portrait series bringing women together. I really wanted to offer a space for other women to shine a light on that special woman in their life – the one who has had such a strong impact on them and who has transformed their womanhood. I had three lovely women book portrait sessions and I asked them to write about the woman they were bringing along. Below, you will read the beautiful words they have written.
I am honoured to have met these women and I appreciate them being open with me and allowing me to photograph them. Together, we were able to raise $300 dollars for the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Every little bit helps! I am pleased to say that this was a successful campaign and that I am excited to do it again next year. Next time, I will start months in advance of International Women’s Day so that we will have much more time to do more sessions and to raise more funds. I can’t wait.
Thank you to all of the women who took part in this. I appreciate it very much!
Kass – with her mother and two daughters.
Words written by Kass:
Being both the past and future movers of worldly mountains, the things I am learning from my mother and daughters are an ongoing project… But this has been a great opportunity to take a moment to reflect and share for such an amazing cause. In the picture holding my oldest daughter Izzabella is my mother, in her you will find the very definition of strength and loyalty; her heart is the purest source of the most unequivocal and unconditional love for a family possible, it’s been nearly impossible to put the many things she has taught me into words for this project. So me, holding my youngest of daughters, Everley, doing some self-reflection and soul searching can say the most important attribute she has taught me and what has turned out to be a huge part of the woman I am today, is to know my worth and the value of what I have to offer.
I would consider myself on a successful path of motherhood, if my girls know the value of their goals, the value of their beliefs and the importance of their voice when they feel it needs to be heard and to hold their self-respect in the highest regard. It’s important they know that the value of what have to offer is held within them, and not decided by the transient people that come in and out of their lives and chip away at their integrity; to know the world will be hard and will manipulate their image, challenge their beliefs and quiet their voice. I want my girls to look past the negative minds and know they can achieve any of their goals while maintaining their self-respect and value.
My mom has taught me the importance of being a strong and independent woman, to hold my own, to voice my opinion, to fight for what I believe in and to not undervalue my passions and goals. She has taught me not to settle, to not accept anything that I’m not prepared to live with for the rest of my life, to love my body the way it is and to acknowledge my wrong doings and own my mistakes. She has taught me that I’m responsible for changing what I don’t like about my situation, that I am responsible for my happiness and I am truly in control of my life.
She has taught me the importance of my role as a mother and the impact I will forever have on my children. She is a sweet reminder and a soft voice on my most difficult days as a working mother, wife, sister & daughter, that I am working hard towards my future and how I manage those challenges are what my daughters’ see. Some days, maintaining my composure is the actual challenge… She is a reminder that on those days it is okay to fall apart, but to not stay there. She has given me the tools to take a moment, learn from it and try it again.
My girls have taught me to choose my words carefully, literally…they repeat EVERYTHING! They have taught me to think twice before giving a half-hearted answer to their questions, to disregard their fantasy fairy-tale story or to judge out loud a situation they not need to know about. It’s an honest day’s effort to raise strong women to carry themselves in such a way they know their value and will not let outside influences decide their worth or dictate their standards. I want them to look at themselves the way my mother has taught me to look at myself, with pride, confidence and self-respect. I want them to know that self-worth isn’t found in the shape of the bodies in the magazines, in what they may or may not have materialistically but that value is found in integrity, humility, and generosity and to speak for those without a voice. In raising these strong, albeit, scarily independent little girls, they have taught me patience, understanding and empathy.
As a mom they have shown me a different side of the world, that the world can be a scary place for a girl and it’s my job to prepare them and provide them with the tools to best manage their challenges and unknowns. As a little girl being bullied at school to the prepubescent teen who only wants her body, to the boss that takes advantage of her kind heart with little pay and to her boyfriend/girlfriend who pulls at her heart strings and tells her everything she wants to hear and to her future partner that I hope respects her and loves her for who she truly is without conditions and limits. I hope her standards eliminate those without the best intentions, and for those who do get through, I want my girls to know I will be there as my mom is for me.
It’s tougher than ever to be a woman in the world today and it can be difficult to raise daughters to love themselves as much as they should. We need more projects like this one that build and highlight our strengths rather than extort our weaknesses.
Emily – with her friend, Melanie.
Words written by Emily:
This woman is a gem.
She’s magnetic and vibrant, passionate and fearless. She’s a force unto her own.
She’s my friend, Mel.
Mel and I met a few years back, arguably by chance. See, we’re neighbours. And, like our daughters became instant, where-have-you-been-all-my-
I cannot count how many times Mel has shown up, and helped me through the ramblings of every day life. Never asking for anything in return she gives selflessly, wholeheartedly, and without reservation.
I watch her balance life and all that it entails – family time, marriage, business ownership, personal growth, and fun all with grace, humour and an unbridled zest for the unexpected. She inspires me to let my guard down, and to embrace chance. I have her to thank for so many happy times.
During one of the darkest times of my life, it was Mel who picked me up and inspired me to grow, to endure, and to push forward. She reminded me, every time I needed it, in the same spirit of the incomparable Maya Angelou, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
I hope throughout a lifetime of friendship, with small gestures of everyday kindness, I can somehow reciprocate the love, honesty and steadfast friendship she has shown me.
I love you, girl.
Jill and Alaina – with their Mother, Lynette.
Words by Jill and Alaina:
Our madre has inspired us to be strong women who show up in the world every day. We’ve always been taught to do what’s right, challenge ourselves, and others, and be proud of who we are. We weren’t raised to be complacent or quiet (!) but were instead encouraged to speak up and be advocates. We may have taken that part a bit too seriously (in our work) in our mom’s eyes but she accepts and encourages it regardless! Our mom is all about community in its various forms and has really sparked our desire as well. She welcomes people in and is truly genuine in her care. We continue to travel together, laugh to the point of tears constantly, volunteer, go for walks, talk for hours and truly enjoy spending time together. So grateful to be a tight trio and yes! pictures are so important to have so we WILL print these for you, mom! Love you mothership!!!
Thank you again, ladies. You absolutely inspired me and I am honoured to have taken these portraits.
I am so pleased to have donated your generous contributions to the Canadian Women’s Foundation today. Every little bit counts and I am happy we were able to raise funds for such a great cause.
This campaign will continue next year, with more time committed and more dates available for photo shoots. I look forward to it already!
Happy International Women’s Day to all of you reading this!