Updated: Mar 30, 2022
I always wanted to create something I could call my own. I wanted to create a book with myself as the main character. I was always too shy for the camera, and sadly still am. However, in order to face my fears, I decided to embrace my skills and help myself feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
I didn’t just find a new way to master my photography skills, but I also began taking really amazing selfies. Now that I have accumulated a good amount of selfies, I made a decision to teach others what I know.
In my mind, I wanted to create a story of myself with superpowers. I wanted to tell my story, my experiences, as a way to teach others. I wanted to give myself the lead in a movie based on a book I wrote.
And it would have been possible if I were not so afraid of being in front of the camera. I always stumbled on my own words, and I always managed to forget my lines. But under all that camera shyness, I still felt comfortable enough with myself to enjoy some me-time embracing my passion.
Taking selfies wasn’t only a way of improving my art, it also became a mirror of myself.
My entire life people have called me names and criticized my body.
“You have no boobs.”
“You have no booty.”
“Your pinky is weird.”
“I don’t like your kind of girls….”
So being in front of the camera, happily vulnerable, made me realize that people will ALWAYS have their opinions. Seeing my photography skills in action made me happy. And most importantly, seeing just how amazing I looked in the photos made me feel sexy, confident, and proud.
When people started asking me about my photos and then seeing their reactions when I told them I had taken them was priceless.
My confidence skyrocketed. I wanted to do more. So then it became a thing, and now here we are.
Now you get to read my story and see my photos in action.
I want to start with one of my favorite selfies & the introductory photo of SelfiePro.
You've probably seen this photo many times on my blogs and stories on Vocal. Below is a little mini Q&A about the uniqueness and authenticity of this one image.
1. Why did you choose that tattoo?
Before that day [The Prologue], I’d been wanting to get a tattoo. I wanted to get written text. Something impactful, powerful, and meaningful to me.
The meaning behind my tattoo was to celebrate an era of healing. I wanted words that would empower me, that would make me feel confident and strong every time I read them. I wanted something that represented the inner me—the protagonist in my story.
Everything about my protagonist is about me. That’s what makes this story so unique.
That tattoo IS the representation of my character.
2. Why did you choose to have the photoshoot on the same day you got the tattoo done?
There is a very good reason actually. Anyone that has ever gotten a tattoo would know that a tattoo has vibrant colors the first few days before it starts to peel. Once it’s done peeling, the colors become just a bit dull.
I wanted my tattoo to pop.
It was the main event after all. The whole point of that photoshoot was to show off my tattoo.
3. What made you decide to get the tattoo on your shoulder?
Shoulders to me are one of those body parts that people don’t really pay attention to. But the significance of our shoulders is extremely grand.
“Our emotions are worn on our shoulders.” - Janis E.
We slouch when we’re sad, and expand our shoulders when we’re proud.
But in reality, the significance of our shoulders wasn’t the reason I got it there. To create the characters for my story, I asked friends and family a few questions that would help mold the characters. One of the questions was to share the person’s most favorite body part on themselves.
When I personally filled out the questions, I shared that my most favorite body part is my chest, the area from my chin down to my breasts.
I feel that I have a very elegant bone structure, and I really like that.
Because I wanted to feel sexier and badass at the same time, I felt that my shoulders would be the best place to have empowering words.
4. Can you tell us how you took the photoshoot? The Setup.
A couple of weeks before my photoshoot, I did something most individuals won’t do.
Invest in themselves.
Like any person trying to make a dream come to life, I sacrificed money for passion. I didn’t have a big enough savings to allow me to spend a good $500 on a camera and be comfortable. But I did it anyway.
It hurt my pockets so much, I cried. But I was too determined to let that stop me.
I also didn’t have money to buy a backdrop, so I used red bedsheets instead. I hung them from some nails on the wall. I had to tie them up with hair ties because they were too heavy.
I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with horrible yellow dim lighting. I had no type of photography lights, just one cheap lamp. It was so cheap, it didn’t even have a lampshade.
I placed the camera right in front of me and the lamp right next to the camera. Because of my horrible lighting situation, I didn’t keep any other lights in the apartment on.
In other words, I did my photoshoot with the whole apartment pitch black. Just one cheap lamp, one cheap camera, and one red bedsheet.
5. Was there a significance in your choice of wardrobe?
Oh, yes. Absolutely.
I wanted a shirt that was a button-up, but not business. I wanted a sexy badass look with a pop. Something that would make a statement.
My sister and I bought matching shirts about a month prior, not on purpose, but because we both liked the shirt.
And so I wanted to wear it because it not only had the style that would go very well with my red bedsheets, but also because it made a statement.
I also wore an engagement ring. The engagement ring wasn’t expensive at all. It was just a little cheap ring I added to my Amazon account that my significant other purchased later.
While it was not expensive and not worth much to others, it meant everything to me. The value of my ring wasn’t determined by its monetary value, but by the emotions and events that linked to it.
My necklace was given to me by my father. My entire life I have wanted someone to gift me with a necklace with my initials. Or just a letter of my name. And my father made my wish come true.
I never take it off.
For the photoshoot, I brought the necklace higher, almost like a choker. Because I wanted people to see my tattoo clearly.
6. Can you tell us the significance of the details in the photo?
Let’s begin with my necklace. My necklace is very special to me, as you already know. But in the photo, my necklace shared a little information about me—a letter.
Anyone who knows my name will know the “J” is for Janis. But for those who don’t know me, it will be a little mystery. I love mystery.
My choice in shirt was to make a statement. Since the shirt has the word “Queen” on it, it made me feel regal.
I mean why wouldn't I? I rule my own world.
“Please bow down, and welcome Queen Janis as she says goodbye to her place on the throne.”
I wanted to unbutton my shirt and place it just under one of my shoulders. As if I were shedding an article of clothes [or shedding the old me, a queen].
I wanted to show that I was transforming.
Hence, me embracing the elegance of my collar bones and taking photos of myself during one of the most important moments of my life.
I wanted to show the world that I was back. But better!
I was stronger, wiser, more confident, and even sexier than before. As I shed the old me, I felt like I was growing intuitively, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and sexually.
And embracing myself made me even more powerful.
My tattoo is a quote very well known. But I changed one word. I changed the word “would” to “could” because I didn’t know I would do it. But I knew that if I really wanted something, I could do it.
And I did.
So now, I am celebrating.
My tattoo was the main event. The significance of my growth was in those words, and I vowed to make a big deal out of it. I was so proud of myself.
7. What is the connection between the photo and the protagonist of your story?
I am writing a story about myself. And about my experiences with people, with nature, with animals, and the universe. I am bringing all the little magic this world has to offer and adding a whole bunch of more magic to make it worth reading.
The cool part of my story is that I am using real-life experiences and people. I am creating characters based on the people around me.
But there’s a twist. We all have magic, and we all have different names. I allowed all the individuals in my story to pick their own powers and their own character names. But only I will ever know who is who.
The photo represents the shift between Janis E. & Savannah. The shedding of a queen for the birth of a...
Woah! I almost said too much.
Read my story below.