Old Orchard Beach photographer aims to help empower women

Renata O’Donnell started out her Women’s Historical past Thirty day period task in 2020, photographing everyday Maine gals and supplying them a questionnaire about their life.

Aged ORCHARD Seashore, Maine — Push down a street in Aged Orchard Seaside earlier Renata O’Donnell‘s house, and you would in no way know a photography studio is tucked absent in a modest addition to the making. The modest space is filled with frilly costumes, stiletto heels, and chunky jewellery. It truly is in which O’Donnell spends a vast majority of her time, seeing artistic visions appear to everyday living via the lens of her camera.

O’Donnell is initially from Brazil, wherever she turned a specialist photographer 25 many years back, working in the trend and modeling industries. She said her passion has always been photographing gals due to the fact of their uniqueness.

“I just enjoy displaying them how beautiful they are and how I see them and how other people see them,” O’Donnell claimed. “They really don’t know that. They really do not really feel that way.”

When O’Donnell moved to Maine in the early 2000s, she stated she experienced a tricky time fulfilling her niche enthusiasm. She explained ladies in Maine usually didn’t want to stand in entrance of the digital camera for a picture. Alternatively, they were being a lot more apt to bring in their small children to be photographed or consider a portrait as a household. O’Donnell did that perform solely for a while but said she was not fulfilled by it.

“I felt like anything was missing,” O’Donnell claimed.

Then, 1 sleepless night time in 2020, she had an concept: Commence a venture photographing Maine women in unique sessions to rejoice them through the thirty day period of March, which is Women’s Historical past Thirty day period. She resolved she wished to attribute ladies from all walks of lifetime with a person uncomplicated purpose.

“This challenge is to empower normal girls around us, our neighbors, our friends,” O’Donnell reported.

Now, she’s in her fourth yr of executing this venture, using portraits of 31 distinctive girls and sharing a person on line every single working day of March. She also asks these gals to fill out a questionnaire about their existence, so she can write up a temporary summary about who they are and what people may well not sign-up from the floor.

“What is at the rear of the deal with and the smile?” O’Donnell claimed.

For O’Donnell’s client Muetulamba “Gloria” Simao of Portland, there is a good deal tucked absent powering an outwardly bubbly persona. Simao grew up in Namibia in advance of coming to the United States in 2019. She mentioned she was bullied in significant school in her home nation, and individuals necessarily mean phrases from time to time return to her ideas.

“Sometimes I seem at myself in the mirror and just feel, ‘You’re truly unattractive.’ ‘You’re not beautiful,'” Simao reported. “I truly feel like those phrases occur back to me a ton.”

Simao has worked with O’Donnell a pair of situations and claimed the classes have definitely assisted to instill an inner self-confidence.

“Engaging in by yourself, loving by yourself is the first stage. Photographs are the to start with phase of self-enjoy,” Simao stated.

One more lady O’Donnell is featuring this month is Mary Allen Lindemann, operator of Coffee By Design and style in Portland. She mentioned for her, obtaining these photos taken of herself in her workspace is empowering, specially since using on the organization as the sole owner a short while ago.

“I sense this is a main turning place for me, personally, so to have a documented — the timing is seriously best,” Lindemann stated.

Lindemann claimed she thinks the venture is an essential reminder that ladies want to appear jointly to support one a further.

“These are incredibly unique gals, but I guarantee you there will be a related thread in between all of us in that we want equity,” Lindemann claimed.

You can see O’Donnell’s total Women’s Record Thirty day period task of 2023 in this article


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