A while back, my friend Shannon Bradley-Colleary, a successful screenwriter and blogger, burst upon the media scene with a series of art nude photos of herself, the first set taken when she was twenty-six and the second when she was forty-six. In various blog posts (like this one and this one), she discussed how the photos helped her realize that “…we should appreciate our bodies at each stage of our lives. That we never know how lovely we are until years, even decades later.”
To further this idea, Shannon put together the following video, which landed her, among other places, on the Today Show and Fox 11 News:
Since the video, Shannon has embarked upon the Love Your Body Now Project with two other talented, inspiring women, photographer Beth Sanders, who was also a participant in the project, and career/body centered coach Marlene Zaleznick. The project aims to heal body image issues by coupling fine art nude photography with body centered empowerment coaching in order to help women embrace themselves as whole, centered beings.
In addition to Beth, the participants so far include a Denver-based small business owner described by Shannon as “the bawdy, ballsy, bodacious reincarnation of Mae West,” a sales rep and former dancer who says, “I don’t put anything in my body that I haven’t had some dialogue in my head about,” and an empath and healer whose various health issues have left her physically changed.
Recently, I was privileged enough to also be a participant in the Love Your Body Now project, along with my identical twin sister, Lisanne Sartor, an award-winning screenwriter and director who is currently working on her second short film. We both were floored by the powerful positive energy generated by working with this fabulous team of women.
Each team member was there to help my sister and me identify how our photo shoot would address our body issues. Shannon chronicled the process, and she also was a supportive witness to every step, as were Beth and Marlene. Beth used her photographic genius to visually express Lisanne’s and my individual body issues while still acknowledging the unique bond that exists between us due to our twinship. And Marlene spent hours getting to know us and coaching all four of us–Beth, Shannon, Lisanne, and myself–on how, through various meditative and empowerment techniques, we could feel more centered and accepting of our own emotional and physical burdens.
Beth is currently preparing the final photos, and Shannon is writing an article about our shoot and the project itself. I’m sure the results will be spectacular.
And I have carried long-lasting results into my everyday life thanks to Marlene’s skillful, focused coaching and the loving support of the entire team. Each day I feel more aware of myself, more accepting of my body and the beauty that comes from within its aging contours, a beauty that wasn’t as richly present in my more fit and muscular younger self.
Shannon put it best in a post about our photo shoot: “Initially I thought the #LoveYourBodyNow project to heal body image issues through fine art nudes was about photographing and showing our Size-0 obsessed popular culture the vast array of beauty in every size. But this shoot, with Marlene guiding us all through body-centered wellness practices, made me realize we’re attempting something deeper. We’re attempting to display Beauty from the inside out.”
That’s exactly what these three women and the Love Your Body Now project did for me: they helped me focus inward to find my beauty. And I am forever grateful to them.
Shannon Bradley-Colleary wrote a beautiful post that contains some of Beth Sander’s spectacular photos from my sister Lisanne Sartor’s and my Love Your Body Now project. The post got the attention of the Daily Mail Online, which resulted in a wonderful article written by Annabel Fenwick Elliott.
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