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Lovely_0289

Photo Credit: Yaba Blay

Yesterday I made a new friend. She is four years old and her name is Lovely. When I first heard her name, I was immediately reminded of African naming traditions whereby parents give their children names that reflect who they are… or who they want them to be. Lovely is indeed lovely, only she doesn’t quite know it just yet.

A few weeks ago, my friend, Leslie (also featured in ‘Pretty. Period’ along with her daughter, Aja) contacted me to ask if I could include Lovely in the project, not just because she’s a cutie pie, but because Leslie thought it might help her. Lovely lives in Oregon where there are few people who look like her. And although her family works consciously to affirm her, she struggles with affirming herself. Lovely’s mother recently posted a picture of her on Facebook. The caption read “My princess for the day… before the royal meltdown about wishing she was White. Sometimes the place we live in makes me sad.”

Well, that’s all it took for me to have my own meltdown. OF COURSE Lovely would be in ‘Pretty. Period!’

But there was only one glitch – I didn’t have a photographer! Although Ann Blake has captured all of the official project photos to date (Phase 1), moving forward I will be working with two additional photographers (Phase 2; announcement coming soon!). Phase 2 isn’t scheduled to begin until May (when the weather starts acting right) and Lovely would only be in town for a few days. What to do? Take the photos myself of course! Now to be clear, a photographer I am not! But because this was so important, I talked myself through my own doubts and made it happen.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Leslie’s house to meet Lovely and her parents. For as bright and bubbly as Lovely was from the moment I met her, when it came time to take her photo, she wasn’t quite ready. So I pulled out my phone and opened the ‘Pretty. Period’ site to show her photos of all of the beautiful little girls and women who looked like her. She, of course, wanted to see ALL of the little girls on the site; and I, of course, showed them all to her. After a few minutes of coaxing and negotiating, we were all set; and I LOVE what we captured.

Read more and see Lovely’s photos on Pretty. Period.

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