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A Single Moment in Time


“I have always believed photography is more than just an art – it is the magic of capturing one’s essence or soul at a single moment in time.” – Russ Fischella


Well, that was some single moment when Mr. Fischella took my photographs. It took a whole afternoon for just one picture of my soul.

The story began when my dear friend had spent beaucoup bucks on this session as my birthday gift. He wanted me to see that I was beautiful. What a grand and generous gesture yet I felt so bad about myself that I delayed the session for over two years. I was terrified that I would be punished for trying to be glamorous. Lots of people feel this way when their self image doesn’t match their appearance.

Eventually, the day came when I mustered the courage to have the pictures taken. Thinking back, I understand why I felt enormous anxiety and terror. He was a famous portrait photographer, (my friend always did everything first class,) and had taken pictures of Danielle Steele and many beautiful San Francisco socialites.

Who was I to be among such notables? Who wouldn’t be extra fearful? Having my picture taken at JC Penny might not have been so frightening. My friend chose the best photographer in San Francisco to debunk my belief in my unattractiveness. Bless his generous heart, I learned so much that day.

The scariest part came before the photo session. I had no idea that he was to put make up on me. He stood over me for a good long time applying layers of make-up as I got more and more tense. I thought, “Get me out of here,” but there was no escape. I had to see the session through. I was so self-conscious, believing that I must have been the most unattractive women he had ever photographed.

I brought alone two outfits to wear. One a beautiful business suit for my company head shot the other, a little black dress. He posed me on a stool and began to take rapid fire photographs as he talked just as fast trying to relax me.

After a long time and his most supportive, encouraging words, all I could show him was the face of fear. He gave up taking my business headshot after a good long time and had me change into my black dress for my glamour picture.

How I got through that afternoon, I will never know. I had such tension in my back, face and neck. Anyone else would have had a migraine. Three extra strength Tylenols didn’t relax me at all.

As he posed me sitting on a stool, he tried to talk me down, exhausted, I am sure, from my deep resistance. I remember looking up at the ceiling and seeing an image of my mother glaring at me for wearing red lipstick. It was like she was saying, “how dare you be beautiful!”

Over a half hour later, my back and my neck were so tense that I couldn’t sit up any longer. He had to pose me leaning on my elbow. On and on it went until I was so exhausted my body couldn’t hold back the truth of me.

It was an absolute magical moment. My body couldn’t resist any longer and love broke out of my heart and Russ finally got the photograph he wanted. My true self, my true soul was recorded for all time. That’s is the picture you see next to this blog.

The way it happened was even more magical. When my body gave up resisting, I heard a very audible “click” and actually saw something fly out of my heart and into the camera. Voila, my true spirit could not be held back. With that shot, the session ended. Russ was exhausted, but knew he had captured something very special. I heard it. He saw it. I felt exhausted but free.

A few weeks later, I saw the proofs of the entire session. Every single one of them was a portrait of fear, except the last shot. Looking at those pictures taught me that resisting the joy of being yourself is pretty ugly. The last picture taken was the only one that was beautiful because joy and freedom were captured. I will never forget that session. I learned to be proud of who I am. I never had another bad photo session.

No matter what you think you look like, when you let your inner beauty shine, it shows on the outside. Have you ever had a moment like this when you were so afraid of being yourself that was fear was all people could see? Have you learned that stopping yourself from expressing is much more painful than taking the risk? Can you remember times when you overcame that fear and found great success? That is the journey of living your authentic self and it does get easier over time. I promise.

I look this picture today and see who I am still becoming years later. Every day, I work on revealing and trusting myself and I am having the time of my life.

I hope to help you do the same. There is nothing more wonderful than looking back to see how many walls you’ve broken down and how much you are living your best life today.

PS Russ was so happy with this picture that he displayed it at his next showing. Wow!

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