Apologies for the late update. This review has been sitting in my drafts folder for a while but I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. With everything that has been going on in the world right now, I have been under a lot of stress. I have been on a weird anxiety and depression see-saw that I have been struggling to shake off. As anyone with anxiety would tell you, the worst thing that you can do to them is to subject them to the unknown. Our brains are wired to constantly worry, so we always feel the need to plan: on our next course of action, our future, important (or unimportant decisions), etc. So this whole event is an enormous trigger for us. I understand and acknowledge that there are people out there who are going through bigger concerns: our overworked frontliners who are tirelessly tending to the sick and risking their own healths in the process, employees of essential services who still need to leave their houses to keep the establishments running, employees who have been laid off and have no other sources of income, the marginalized who do not have access to good public healthcare and basic sustenance, the list goes on. I get that… but I hope it doesn’t invalidate anybody else’s pain, because we are all affected by this pandemic one way or another.
So as I sit here with another episode of insomnia, I figured it would be best to just finish up this entry so I can start fresh and move on. Before I do, I would like to take this time to thank our healthcare workers all over the world who are doing their best to save the lives of those affected by this virus. I have a lot of friends and relatives who are working in this field so this is more personal and important to me. Thank you for everything that you do. I pray that you remain healthy and strong always… not just physically, but also mentally. This is not just physically taxing, but also mentally and emotionally exhausting. So also take the time to care for and look after yourselves. ❤
Alright. Now to proceed to the actual blog entry. This was an activity that I have done in early March, before the city and province announced community quarantine and the closure of non-essential services. The timing may not be ideal but I wanted to get this published before I start working on a new entry. Also, since a small businesses are greatly impacted by these current closures, I wanted to make sure that I still finish writing this review and show my support to our local enterprises. When all of this is over, please support your local establishments. They will need all the support that they can to bounce back.
The people who know me well know that I am almost always on Instagram. Especially when I am trying to get off my funk, I like looking at other people’s posts to motivate me and inspire me. I like getting inspiration from my feed, as it gives me something to look forward to. As I was going through the posts, I saw a contest hosted by Nuovo Artistic Photography for a $400 gift card towards a photoshoot and a free photo. I decided to join the contest, as really, what were my chances of winning? I guess I have forgotten about my luck on raffles.
A few days ago, I received a call from the studio advising me that I have won their contest. And since I had plenty of free time, I decided to book my appointment within that week. In retrospect, I’m glad I did that before establishments started shutting down and people were ordered to practice social distancing because of COVID-19.
Getting to the venue was pretty easy as I am quite familiar with the neighbourhood (I used to live in the area many many years ago). Located along Carlaw and Dundas, the studio is surrounded by many interesting places: cool cafes, fitness facilities, and yummy restaurants. The studio itself is breathtakingly beautiful, as you can see on their promotional video. Immediately I fell in love with the interior – the loft was gorgeous with its pretty chandelier, display photos, and art pieces. I was definitely digging the vibe.
Arriving at my appointment, I was welcomed by Lindsay, who introduced herself as the photographer. She gave me a brief history of the studio, as well as the type of photoshoot that we will be doing. Essentially, it was a semi-nude shoot against a black background and red satin sheets as a cover up. The theme of the shoot is self-love. Prior to my appointment, I checked out their website and Instagram account to fully understand what I was getting myself into. Having done a boudoir photoshoot for my birthday a few years ago, I thought this would not be any different. Man, was I wrong. But I’m glad I was.
I came to my appointment wishing I was in much better shape. I still wasn’t over my bad funk phase and I have not worked out in weeks. The loss of appetite was a blessing in disguise, as it kept me at a decent weight but I was still definitely far from loving myself at that point. My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I was insecure, depressed, and anxious. I was glad that I was working with a female photographer, as Lindsay made me feel comfortable despite my undressed state. I never realized how vulnerable I felt until I was at the studio, with nothing but a red satin cloth to cover me up.
The shoot itself was pretty quick. We did a few poses and from different angles. Twenty minutes and we were done. It honestly felt quicker than that, as we were just casually chatting while I was having my pictures taken. After the shoot, I got dressed while Lindsay got my photos ready. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the photos turned out well! I think I spent more time choosing the shots I wanted to keep vs. the actual photoshoot. So once all of that was done, we chatted about the process of when to get the photos, etc. We said our goodbyes and I was given roses before I left.
I received the digital copies a couple of days after the shoot, and the stainless steel print a few weeks later. I am so proud of how it all turned out. They offered to digitally edit the colour of the sheet if I wanted and if it was any other occasion, I would have opted to have it changed to purple as it is my favourite colour. However, I felt like the red resonated with me more at that time: it represented the strength I gained as I powered through my past issues, the power that I felt as I slowly triumphed over my obstacles, the love that surrounded and enveloped me, and the vulnerability that I still felt despite everything. The picture above encapsulated all that, so that’s the shot that got printed out. The rest of the digital copies, I will keep for myself to remember this special experience by.
Honestly, this experience meant a lot to me. It came at the perfect time when I was down and out. It was a time that I was unkind to myself, and I never gave myself the chance to heal and to accept love from people. But this whole event felt very empowering, and the final outputs were done so tastefully. It gave me a bit of my confidence back, as I saw the lady that other people see, and not the ugly, flawed, and incompetent being that I perceive myself to be. It’s a small paradigm shift, but at least it is still going towards the right direction. A small change is better than no change, after all.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who would like to test the limits of their comfort zones, or just to anyone who would like to experience a unique activity. The studio offers different types of packages so they can definitely cater to your requests. Head over to their site and check out their portfolio, they won’t disappoint!
This entry ended up being longer than expected, but I wanted to make sure that I have properly documented the experience. If you got this far, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time and reading this review.
I know that times are tough right now, but I hope everyone is keeping safe. Please remember to avoid going out and leaving the house unless necessary. Let us all work together in fighting this pandemic. I hope things settle down soon enough. Please make sure that you are keeping yourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.
Sending my love and prayers,