My River Story.


Michelle Gardella Photography      

     This last weekend I went on an adventure. I met one of my favorite photographers, and her equally beautiful family, to embark on my River story. (Read more about those here. Like most everything I do, it was a bit chaotic and last minute but so much fun that I wouldn’t have changed anything. Well, except the water temperature. I would have changed that ;p.
    What I loved about my River Story was that Michelle shot me as organically as she eats. She rolled with everything; where I went, where I sat, what I did.  Everything about this session unfolded as gently as the tide around me.  It was natural, freeing and replenishing to my soul. It was a beautiful experience and I hope to do it again.
     All this and I was STILL nervous to see my images.
     I am a confident female but I still struggle with body image issues. I saw the first of these images (see above) and my jaw dropped.
This was me.
This is me and the whole image – Cali beside me and the ocean next to me, composes this precious moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Then I see the post.
I LOVE it.
Everything about the images speaks.

Except my hips…do my hips really look like that?
Are my thighs really that size?
Do my arms look to big?

I stop myself.
What am I doing?!

     I am constantly telling women they are BEAUTIFUL. That they should celebrate their bodies where they are at. I have forgotten how hard this can be. The internal struggle to love oneself; speak positively and lovingly to yourself, no matter what size you are. And I am telling you I get it.  I understand.  But I REFUSE to let unwarranted ideals steal the beauty of these images; the beauty of my heart caught on film. And I refuse to let your self hate keep you from seeing yours.

     If you are scared to shed these layers know that I have walked there before. I felt so safe in the hands of Michelle Gardella but even those safe hands and stunningly beautiful images couldn’t get rid every negative thought. It had to start with me. Just as it has to start with you. Begin now, where you are, how you are and if you need a safe place to bare your heart I am here.

P.S. Michelle Gardella you are a kindred spirit and a phenomenal artist. I would not have let anyone else tell my story. I will never forget our time together.


  1. Rachel Canty says:

    I am shocked when I read these words. You are such an inspiration to me and to so many other people Michelle. I am so in awe of you that words fail me every time. I am so happy that you went on the same journey your clients go on so you can relate to them on a whole another level. Every person you encounter is BEYOND BLESSED to know you (and Dane). Always remember that you are gorgeous and that you impact people in so many ways and so deep that you might not even know how.

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Virginia based, free spirited Boudoir
and Couples photographer, specializing in intimate and adventurous imagery that empowers women and re-ignites connection.

Site Credit: Tonic 




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