I’m Ella Sophie. As an empowering boudoir and portrait photographer I have a lot of deep conversations with women. Often they are about self love, and insecurities. Leading up to this shoot, Zoe and I were working together on a few projects and we talked a lot about our experiences growing up and how those shaped our body image. Those conversations were what led to this shoot.
Here’s what Zoe had to say:
For most of my life I’ve had body image issues, along with the estimated 50% of other women and girls who feel unhappy with how they look. Personally, I think that is a conservative estimate, especially among teens, which is where my story really begins.
I’ve always been a small person. As a child, I was an equal to my peers, but quickly they surpassed me in height and mass. As a teen, I became painfully aware of my size. People would tell rumors that I had eating disorders. Girls in the locker room would stare at me and whisper behind my back. Except, of course, I could still hear everything they said.
There was this perceived notion that being skinny meant I had no problems and my life must be perfect. Skinny meant happy. Skinny meant success. For years, I struggled with on one hand feeling like I must be “fat” because I wasn’t happy and my life wasn’t perfect. Meanwhile, I was picked on for being too thin. Realistically, I knew I had no weight to loose, but I tried anyways. I felt isolated because even my dearest friends would make comments about how I couldn’t possibly have anything to complain about with my body. It wasn’t accepted for me to feel insecure or unhappy about my body because it was small.
Body shaming is a way to keep women down by dividing them against each other. It is also a way for advertisers to sell us products and services. They sell on emotion that being skinny means life is perfect, and being fat means life sucks. Spoiler alert, it is all BS.
I’m thankfully beginning to truly understand that neither of those ideas are true. There are tons of different body types, but our physical body doesn’t have to be an emotional hurdle to get over. In fact, we should all be honored to be given this life to live in our skin. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that everyone has insecurities. It is human, and we need to learn to be more supportive as a society so people have support to get past their insecurities.
I think the body positivity movement is in a unique position right now to be more inclusive. It can turn the focus on health, not outward physical appearance and an assumption of health. What being healthy means is different for each individual. We’ll all end up at different weights, shapes, and sizes. We’ll have different physical abilities. And, we’ll feel good in our skin. Sure, it will be a lot harder to sell women shit they don’t need, but, dear advertisers, meet the challenge. Get creative. Stop using body shaming and insecurities to sell subpar products.
I’m Ella Sophie, I’m a visual artist, and my medium of choice is photography. I photograph weddings, portraits, editorial art and boudoir — because I'm a bit of a workaholic and love it all!
Originally located in the Hudson Valley and NYC, I'm now based out of Oakland, California. I studied commercial art and then followed that with a BFA in Fine Art Photography from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I’ve been in both solo and group exhibitions and have had my images in fashion, art, and bridal publications throughout the US. I take a fine art approach to my work, so my image delivery is tactile with prints that can be touched, turned, and cherished. I offer a full range of professional fine art print products because I believe your memories are print-worthy. I'm an advocate for finding your unique voice, and I believe every wedding should be totally different from the next because no two people are exactly the same. I also love adventure and to travel, and am happy to take assignments just about anywhere in the world. And last but not least, at heart I'll always be a punk rock kid and a feminist!