Words from our founder and owner of Liberty Photography, Jennifer Sanchez:
What Liberty means to me, to the women who work for me and the women that it has genuinely helped over the year is not something that I can summarise in a few lines. For some women it has been the reset button that they needed just at that time when the edges of their identity had become blurry, after years of putting everyone first it was time out for them, for others it was a place where they first allowed themselves to cry for their own grief, some women realised that worrying about others perceptions was no longer their duty nor their business, and for some it was just a fucking great afternoon when they didn't even think to look at their phone once because they hadn't played that much since childhood. For me it was a mask, in helping other women update the image in their head, play, be silly, be comfortable with their changing body's and accept their tears, I was also allowing myself those things. Their safe space was my safe space.
Liberty for me is a safe space for women, to be truly themselves, to tell as little or as much of their story as they need, to be heard and my job is to show them a picture that says 'I get you', "I see you, you are important, enough, loved, beautiful and strong'.
For them to say the things that they need to say the most, in a circle of safety, so that their secrets become my secrets and that by talking about themselves we get to know them, but more importantly they get to know themselves a little deeper. They get to offload the emotional burden that they have been carrying, for in some cases decades, and leave with a new narrative, a kinder internal script and a fresh definition of how they fit into this beautiful, harsh world.
I believe all women should feel free to create, go for their dream job, take shameless selfies, wear a bra, not wear a bra, always wear make up, never wear make up, dress up for fun, do chemistry, flirt outrageously and all the inbetweens. I believe society has placed far too many constraints on what women 'should' or 'shouldn't' be doing and it's time we start living on our own terms. Doing something that scares us, like getting naked in a river is petrifying to some, actually most women, but the wonderful thing about facing a fear is that it puts us in a growth mindset. We have achieved something outside of our normal comfort zone and stepped outside it, the brain asks whats next, and we begin to grow.
We began to notice a pattern of women coming to us after a major event change in their lives, new baby, massive weight loss or gain, major illness, cancer, car crashes, separations, affairs, and once we hear their stories and felt their pain it became difficut to not feel connected or actually like they were a friend. I was left with a sense of responsibility for their happiness and wellbeing that I, nor the brand "Liberty Photography" could live up to. We decided these women needed more from us than just a photoshoot, that to truly empower them long term they needed to make new friends, learn new skills - practical, creative, spiritual and sometimes silly, and know that if they needed to talk that there was someone there to listen, without judgement, without advice, just acceptance and warmth.
Thus the social enterprise, The Liberty Movement was formed. It kickstarts this year with the story telling 365 project and the Cervical Cancer Smear for Smear campaign for Jo's Trust, and the commitment to reach as many women who want or need the service that it can. In December I was told that 'I cannot help everybody'... What a wonderfully glorious challenge that was.
I want anyone who lands on this website to be able to take something from it, if it's that you connect with one woman's story and feel less alone, if it's that you take Aurora's body positive challenges or Holly's how to take a selfie. The Liberty Movement aims to give women that safe space, so that they can reconnect with themselves, and the world around them.