Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen. // Personal Project 2013

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

These persons have an an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.

Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


The first time I read that quote was last November or December … I think … at my best friend’s parents’ house.
Their son had given a wall hanging to his mom with it stenciled on there – and I immediately welled up.
Why did I cry?  Well, if you don’t know me – I’m a bit of a cryer … sad times, happy times, it doesn’t really matter … if something hits me in the right spot – I cry.

Anyhoo … In this particular moment I was touched by the son’s thoughtful present and him calling his mother beautiful because of how she had sacrificed for her family.
Knowing her, I also cried because I know what she has gone through and I’ve always thought she was beautiful from the core.
It also made me think of my own mother and how beautiful she is – on the outside, and in.

It also hit me that I had discovered what my personal project would be.  Personal project, you ask?
Well, a few months prior to that another photographer friend of mine had been talking about starting personal projects and
I had actually sat in a platform class at WPPI 2011 on how important it is for
photographers to have personal projects to not only fuel their creativity, but to act also as an emotional release and ignition to keep going.
I once thought my personal project would be to photograph barns and abandoned family farms in Iowa … but that wasn’t enough …
and now – I had finally found it – my personal project would be to photograph beautiful people.
You might think that because I’m an Iowa Wedding Photographer that I photograph beautiful people all the time, but this is more than outside beauty.
Not the beautiful people that grace the covers of People Magazine, but the beautiful people that you and I know from our day to day lives.
The people who have known struggle and pain.  The people who keep standing up and moving forward.  The people who show us how to live beautifully.

Ok, so you’re probably thinking to yourself … Courtney, that was how many months ago?!?!?!  You haven’t started it yet?!?!?!
Well, I could list quite a few excuses – because I am the QUEEN of distractions and getting lost multi-tasking … but I’m not going to go there.
What is important is that I am starting today … but I need your help.

I have my first beautiful person already photographed and ready to publish … and I’ll give a sneak peek below …
but I want to photograph the people who you find beautiful as well.

So please, either nominate a beautiful person in a comment below, or send me a personal email letting me know who you find beautiful.
Who do you know who has known struggle and found their way out of the depths?  Who understands life and is filled with a deep loving concern?
I want to show the world – and them – just how beautiful they are, because most of the time – they don’t even realize it.

The first beautiful person of 2013 is Makensie Owens.  I will share her full story with you soon, but here is a sneak peek:

Makensie is on of the strongest and kindest gals I know.  She is a 4-year survivor of Osteosarcoma and truly a Beautiful Person.

Stay tuned for more of her story …

Thank you,

Courtney =>

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  • kirstyn blakeMarch 22, 2013 - 3:14 am

    my mother is beautiful. inside and out. she doesn’t realize, how beautiful she is. she has no idea. telling her she is beautiful will not make her ever realize how much I truly admire her beauty..ReplyCancel

  • CourtneyMarch 22, 2013 - 1:33 pm

    Your mother is gorgeous indeed! When is the last time you told her this? I have realized that sometimes I forget to tell people not only that I love them, but why, and also forget to remind them of their beauty.ReplyCancel