Lucia De Giovanni Photography

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© Lucia De Giovanni, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

July 07, 2018

On Being Woman - The Reveal



I have devoted the past six months of my life to a photography project, one that became a life saver for me, and life changing to so many.  I had no idea what I started back in January, I just felt compelled to sit in front of my camera and say “It starts with me”.  As I probably explained before in one of my posts, all these years of touring have been shaping my persona as a photographer, but really kept me, as a woman, in the shade.  In order to do my job well, I needed to become invisible, to the point musicians didn’t even know I was in the room until they heard my shutter click.  Damn shutter noise, Nikon… Anyway, I lived in my masculine energy, business mattered and “get the job done” because the risk of showing any emotion and get labeled as “emotional” is pretty much a career killer in my field.  Then cancer hit.  I couldn’t hide it, it was right between my eyebrows, on my face.  I was bandaged up for months, covering up surgery after surgery, and I covered up every mirror in the house, not wanting to see me, again, ever.  One day, after my surgeon made me take a mirror to my face to show me the progress, I saw me, kinda.  But it made me think… have I ever seen the real me?  I mean, when we look in the mirror, we seem to focus on what we see that needs “fixed” - messy hair, makeup, a few extra pounds… what do we really see?  

In all these years of photographing people, my mission has always been to try and capture the moment in which they are the most themselves, because that’s when they are the most beautiful, perfect.  I think that’s what made me successful in the music industry - capturing that moment of creation on stage, where the musicians are not aware of what they look like, they just feel the music, the moment…  so, my mission for the past 8 years has been to figure out a way to photograph a person, in “real life”, and capture that essence.  Women in particular.  It started when I lived in Australia in 2010, as I was photographing a book, and became painfully aware of how self conscious women are.  Why?  I decided in that moment to photograph anything the women felt self conscious about in a way that shows beauty - scars, Buddha bellies, hairy legs, wrinkles… and it made for a beautiful book.  But did it change anything?  I mean, did anyone look at those images and felt a resonance, seeing something they too considered a flaw as beautiful?  I don’t know.  That’s the other side of releasing your work into the world, you just never know how it affects people.  

So, in true Lucia-fashion, I dedicated years to developing a technique to photograph women and capture an image depicting the real energy of who resides inside.  A way to not focus on wrinkles, or features, or hair… just to capture the energy.  One morning, I decided that I was ready, and it would all start with me.  No make up, hair a mess, just woke up, before coffee (and this is a big one for me!), I came into the studio, sat in front of my camera and started to click my remote.  Because the technique involves the right camera settings, the perfect light and precise timing, it took a few frames, but after 8 years of trying, and failing to capture what I intended, I had my image.  I downloaded it onto my computer, and looked at it.  Really looked at it.  Wow.  There was SO MUCH there I hadn’t seen.  My camera captured exactly where my energy was in that time period.  I was slipping into depression, and I had an image that showed me what that looked like.  Depression is a beast - I’ve always had it.  It’s been my companion since I was a small child.  People used to call me a sensitive child, or misunderstand my silence a lot.  As a teenager, I wrote the saddest poetry and the people who read it thought I was just a teenager, hormones all over the place, feeling sorry for myself.  They missed the signs.  I missed the signs.  Until I got married, way too young, and dealt with a series of events that facilitated my isolation, and descent into darkness.  At 21 years old, I had my first breakdown.  I was living in Germany at the time, and fell apart.  To this day I don’t know how much my ex-husband understood what what happening, as I blamed everything outside of myself for my sadness.  I look at photos of me at that time, and see it.  Fast forward 14 years, and a break up with someone I loved dearly pushed me into depression again.  I didn’t even feel it coming that time, my life was going great, and I was happy.  But after the break up, things took a long time to get back to “normal” - second time around for me, diagnosed with clinical depression, I made it through, got my life back, and sailed through some really difficult times with, what seemed like, ease.  Until another 14 years passed.  The death of both of my parents, moving to a place where all my dreams became a big disillusionment, cancer, betrayal and a general sense of numbness made its way through again.   I thought I was dealing, but really I was not dealing at all.  Not allowing myself to feel things.  I moved back to Colorado, and felt happiness again.  I reconnected with the love of my life, had an amazing few months, all was going well - so when I saw that image of myself, I didn’t really put two and two together - yes, I was allowing myself to feel happiness, but guess what?  When you open the door to feelings, all of them surface.  ALL OF THEM SURFACE AT ONCE.  As I was too busy being happy, and looking for things to make me happy, I ignored what pain I hadn’t dealt with in the past few years.  And slowly I found myself in the darkness.  I blamed myself over and over for being too sensitive, too vulnerable, too “woman”.  The relationship was falling apart, and I did nothing but blame myself for its demise.  I fell deep into that hole.  So deep nobody could reach me.  

During this time I had already committed myself to this project, and I had so many photoshoots scheduled for the next three months.  I had 59 women who volunteered to be photographed without knowing anything about the project, and what the images would look like.  They just felt a need to participate.  I almost canceled the project, how could I get up ever morning and greet each person with a smile?  But something inside said that that’s exactly what I needed to do.  My studio was my sanctuary.  It became theirs too.  Woman after woman showed up, nervous, anxious, excited.  When I explained the project was to try and capture an image of the energy of who they truly are, an expression of the magnificent, powerful, all encompassing Source, I found myself holding hands, hugging, handing over tissues, wiping tears, mine and theirs.  See, every single woman who came through my studio’s door had the same need.  To be seen.  To be finally seen.  Every one had a feeling of being more than a mother, a daughter, a wife… They felt it inside.  To be allowed the freedom to express that energy in front of a camera was overwhelming for many.  But I knew it would be life changing.  Those 20 minutes per session in front of my camera were life allowing.  Feeling our own perfection in that moment.  Understanding the legacy of every woman who came before us in our lineage, to make up our constitution, generations of strength and beauty… they all felt it.  And my camera captured it.  Holy shit.  I was in tears every day.

I still didn’t feel grounded enough for such an enormous responsibility, but I felt something switch in me.  I felt a power that was bigger than me.  So I decided to take a “during” image of myself, using the same technique.  And that’s when everything changed for me.  I saw Her.  I saw the one who was going to help me make it through to the other side.  I saw her strength and felt the grounding force.  I knew I would not give up, on the project or my life.  Because I had Her guiding me and I actually had an image I could refer to when I felt vulnerable, when I felt like a “woman” - I put that in quotes because it’s the stereotype I’m referring to - women are powerful beings.  Feeling everything is not easy.  

So I continued, I changed the things in my life that made me regress, and accepted that my evolution was visible.  I surrounded myself with expansive, healthy energy, and got through the project and through the darkness.  I chose Life, Health.  Because She guided me, this powerful source inside, of which I captured an image.  I wanted every single woman in the project to feel that same power.  The editing process was emotionally taxing… I opened up the files from each session, asking my Higher Self to connect with their Higher Self.  To show the image that they will connect to the most.  It took hours at times.  It was meditative, intense and powerful.  It was a gift.  To see each woman, to really see Her… again, tears, but these are of joy now.

The last image of the project is me as I am now, after everything I’ve been through, with the knowledge I have acquired and with the solid understanding of who resides inside this body.  It blew me away when I saw the difference.

So, it is with a humble and full heart that I invite you to the On Being Woman project reveal.  It is my hope that the energy coming from all the images together will give you a glimpse of who resides inside you, who guides you… the perfect You.  Please join me, here, on the other side. 

In Gratitude,
LDG






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