In celebration of National Women’s Day this year, Lara Salomon from Evanescent Photography held the second annual Self Love event on 9 August 2017 at UCKAR’s Botanical Gardens.
The open event was for the celebration of womxnhood. Womxn in Grahamstown of all ages from diverse backgrounds sat on a picnic blanket and wrote what they loved most about themselves with a variety of markers, chalk, pastels and crayons. The womxn could express themselves and were photographed afterwards. The weather was warm and the atmosphere was calm and peaceful.
Salomon got the inspiration for the event from a similar project done in America in which people were photographed with negative comments people had made about them. The photographer documented how their demeanour changed when they were photographed with positive comments that had been made about them. “The change in their faces and body language was beautiful to witness,” she said.
Last year she held a similar event, however, this year she decided the event should be more about womxnhood and womxn taking pride in themselves. Salomon explained, “This time I wanted to focus on what womxn are proud about and what being a womxn means to them.” She also believes that thinking about what it means to be a womxn, the good things in your life and what people are proud of starts the journey of self-love.
While sitting on the blankets and writing, there was quiet laughter and conversation between the diverse womxn who shared what they had written when they were comfortable. This gave the event a sisterly feel as womxn who had never met were encouraging one another to love themselves.
After the womxn had finished writing, they were photographed by Salomon, who encouraged them to direct the photography and be photographed in ways they felt most comfortable.
“It was nice to interact, share knowledge and learn more about each other which made it a lot easier to be comfortable in front of the camera,” said Kananelo Tsuene, a first-time participant in the event. Another attendee, Ella van Geuns, said “I didn’t think it would require me to critically assess what I like about myself, but doing so helped me feel more empowered on Women’s Day.”
At the end of it all, the event had been successful and had allowed womxn from various backgrounds to celebrate themselves and one another. To be a part of the project next year or to find out more, go to the Evanescent Photography ZA page on Facebook and don’t forget to spread the love.
Words by Nokuthula Sibiya