Do you associate the word Photography with Authenticity? I never did. To me, photography always felt skin deep. I saw it as something for the bold and beautiful. However, when you look at photos of models it’s not like you can really get to know them through the photos. To me, it always seemed so inauthentic. I felt uncomfortable getting photos taken. Trying hard to look great on camera never came easily to me and I always looked at the photos of myself and felt like it didn’t really capture me. Often I looked awkward in photos – which didn’t feel like how I feel in real life.
The Necessity of Photos
There are times in life when getting photographs done is really necessary. Like when you run a business and people want to see who you are before they pick up the phone to book an appointment. A few weeks ago I reluctantly asked a friend for a photographer referral. He told me to go to Nicole Leclair. I’m not going to lie, in all unfairness to Nicole, I wasn’t exactly beaming with excitement over getting professional shots done. It was a must. So I reached out and set up an appointment.
This experience was like no other photography experience I’ve had in my life. At best I had hoped she would capture some professional and nice-looking shots of my outer self. As I sat and flipped through the photo file she sent me I was beyond surprised by what Nicole captured in her photographic shots. She didn’t just capture my portrait skin deep.
In every shot, she caught a little bit of my personality as it shone through. I was shocked and surprised. How was this possible? I could really feel my character shine threw the photos as she captured some of my silly side, my simplistic joy and love for the trees, my empathy, and even my serious side. I didn’t even know it was possible for a photograph to capture the essence of who someone is. What Nicole did was pure magic – she captured the very essence of my personality in various shots she took. It was amazing to look at these photos of myself and see something deeper than just the photo itself. Nicole’s photographs come alive with emotion and character. She photographs real people and when you look at the picture it’s like your standing with that person in real life.
WHO are you?
Reflecting on my experience with Nicole, I remember her asking questions before pulling out her camera and sticking it in my face. I know some people feel delighted to be on camera or be in the limelight, but that’s not me. I hold a certain level of discomfort with being in the spotlight and on film. Nicole eased my discomforts.
Nicole didn’t rush me. She didn’t rush the process so she could get the photo and be done. Nicole spent so much of the time we had together actually learning about me and listening to me. Then she would snap a photo, put the camera down and a new conversation started. Nicole wanted to know about my business and my passions. I didn’t know at the time that she was just as set on catching my authenticity as I was. It was one of the best photography experiences I’ve ever had. She delicately peeled back the layers of who I was, then caught it on camera and peeled another layer back for the next shot.
Beyond Skin Deep
Nicole Leclaire took most of the professional photos of me that you will find on my website. I love the way she captured my heart and the heart of my business. Nicole created something beautiful that had depth and was more than skin deep. Nicole did this by building a relationship and connection with me. She used her skills of tuning in to figure out who I was and what I wanted for my site. Nicole proved to me that photography and authenticity can be linked.
For me, this experience changed me a little, the way we hope a counselling experience will change us. It’s a good reminder that sometimes it’s not just counselling or counsellors that can influence us. I think looking at those photos actually helped me understand myself better. It caught small beams of what makes me Hannah, kind of like a kaleidoscope captures beams of light and then shows you it’s true colours.