A good photograph commands a conversation. It even can change the direction of the culture. Think: Demi Moore's nude seven-month pregnant body on the cover of Vanity Fair's August 1991 issue. That photograph made way for women to appreciate their pregnant bodies -- and even see them as sexy -- as opposed to cloaking their feminine selves underneath baggy, unattractive maternity clothes. Today women are celebrating their round-bellied bodies and embracing the beauty of their pregnancy. Maternity clothes have gotten more hip too. So what's this got to do with a woman's business?
Christina Morassi, known not as a "headshot photographer" but the heartshot photographer, is on a mission to revolutionize the way women visually represent themselves and their business. Some call it up-leveling. Up-leveling in the simplest definition is increasing visibility, and in turn profitability -- but it can only occur when there is something genuine happening inside. If we are going to succeed in our businesses, Christina believes, we need to be tapped into our body and soul.
"I believe that we as a society live most of the time in our heads. And there is so much wisdom in the body, and the soul too. This feels especially true for women," she said in a recent interview.
According to Christina, being cut off from this wisdom is what is keeping women small in their business. She explains feminine power has been under-appreciated and in many cases, submerged in the prevailing patriarchal culture. As a result, many women have been cut off from their true power. Connect the dots ... if we are cut off from our feminine power, how do you think that affects our business?
"I believe that many women feel bound by the societal norms that train us to be a certain way... and that this keeps us from living our truth and full expression. So I have developed ways of bypassing these constraints that keep a woman 'small.'"
Christina has a background in healing arts, specifically, cranial sacral therapy and improvisational movement All through her 20s, Christina worked in fashion photography in New York, on shoots for Vogue, W, and other high-fashion magazines. Then a life-changing moment happened when her grandmother died, and she questioned the meaning of her work. That's when she got into healing arts and it changed her life's direction. Her new path blends healing arts and photography in a way few have ever explored.
"I do this first by creating sacred space through meditation, prayer, and ritual so that we can tune into the wisdom of the soul. I find this opens a woman up to something larger than herself, and therefore outside of her habitual patterns," says Christina. She then adds fun movement and expression exercises to further open up her client to her authentic nature. The result is a more genuine image -- a photo that radiates the soul. That's why they call her the "heartshot" photographer.
Lee Schneider, photographer and documentary director, points out: "The consciousness that the photographer brings into the photo session hugely influences what's going to show up in that image." He adds, "Even the way you frame the photograph is a statement within itself."
We all know a photograph is a moment in time. But by valuing the importance of what happens before the picture is captured, Christina energizes the process even before the photograph is made. The depth of authenticity is captured in the image -- and when we see the image, a spark occurs. We all crave authenticity, she says, because we are attracted to people who are living in their truth. It is this courageous act to be truly seen that can be the key to up-leveling a woman's business. Perhaps authenticity is the greatest new form of currency.
Photos 2 and 3 were taken by Christina Morassi. Top photo is Christina Morassi.