40 Over 40 Portrait Project – Interview with Tracie

Meet Tracie, one of our incredible 40 Over 40 Portrait Project muses. She is fun, smart, adventurous, fierce and resilient. Her life wasn’t exactly an easy ride so far. She has been through a lot. Yet, she speaks about it with grace, wisdom, and kindness.

Tracie, so good to have you here again! I am so excited:  you are now seeing your album for the first time! what do you think?

Oh, my goodness. It’s beautiful! The pages feel so nice! It’s so good, I still can’t believe it’s me. And this black dress I wore? I love this dress, I need to wear it more often. I need to find someplace to go in it.

Now, here’s a funny story. So, my father didn’t know I had tattoos. And I posted one of the portraits, this one here, on Facebook, I think. He didn’t say anything about it, like, it’s pretty or it’s not pretty. Instead, he goes and says: you have a tattoo… Yes, dad, I am 54. I have tattoos. He goes: are you going to get more? Yes, probably! And his reaction is: oh, ok. It was very funny. Pretty comical. 

your session was initially planned as a gift to someone special. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Yes, I wanted to have some pretty pictures of me preserved for my husband. I wanted to surprise him. Just because I don’t really take pictures of myself. I just don’t like it. And I was thinking that well, if somebody else is going to be taking them, maybe I would like it, and I could give these pictures to him for his birthday present. I wanted to do something different for his birthday. And I know I planned it kind of late, but we made it happen 🙂 

what was his reaction when he saw his birthday present?

When he saw the first photo, the metal print, he just opened it and it was just like this really surreal moment and he just smiled so big and, you know, he got a little bit teary. He was like, Oh my God, this is so beautiful. And then he just looked at me and he said: you’re so beautiful. It’s something that every wife wants to hear on a regular basis.  But to have him like, look at the picture and then look at me and go: yeah, you’re so beautiful all the time. And that was really, really cool. He was so excited. This picture is now on his side of the bed, right next to where he sleeps.  And then I received the rest of the images, and I send those to him.  He couldn’t stop looking at them.  He kept saying: they are so beautiful. It captured you in such a way. He goes: this is the way I see you. And this is exactly what I wanted: I wanted to see myself the way he sees me. With his eyes. I did not know I looked that way. 

How  did you feel during your session?

At the beginning of the session I was still nervous. But then you showed me what you were capturing.  And it just puts a whole different feeling in you. Like, oh, I didn’t know I looked like that. I had no concept of what a camera would capture because I’ve had this whole image in my head. So then when you are going through the project and through the process and you see your images, you go: oh, WOW. This is really, really cool! So I love that you allowed me to see the images as you were taking them, because I think that helped me realize: okay, I can relax now. And then you can see it the progression of pictures too, where it starts out kind of stiff. And then it gets really relaxed where you actually feel like: this is it, I don’t have to worry about anything. I know what I’m doing. I know how to pose. I know. And then it becomes so much fun!

what do you hope to keep getting more and more OF from this album, aND FROM YOUR PICTURES?

That’s a good question. And I thought about it before, and I think I feel like this is the most that I have felt comfortable in my own skin. I am in a really peaceful place in my life and healthy, just all around healthy. So this is like a good reminder for me to stay here because it’s a good place to be and it shows, right? It’s like, this is really good. I’m feeling really good about myself. And, now whenever I look at those pictures… say, tomorrow I get in a car wreck, and I can’t walk anymore. This would be a reminder of this good time in my life, and now it’s captured forever. I hope that doesn’t happen. But it could happen. It could. Also, we all keep changing and we keep growing, right? So getting back every time to these moments frozen in those frames is great.

If you could share one advice  with the younger generation of women today, what would that be?

I would say this: don’t be so hard on yourself. I think you’re probably more beautiful than you think you are. And the scars that we carry on the outside or the things we think are imperfect are the things that actually make us stronger, but we can’t see that. We’re looking at the stretch marks from babies or cellulite that happens because the life is just that way, or five pounds too much, or maybe you can’t gain weight and it’s five pounds too little. But don’t be so hard on yourself. Love who you are in the moment that you’re  now. Love that person. Because, we do change, we do evolve.  And you’ve got to love your soul all the way through that. Cause you’re stuck with that part of you forever. So be kind, just be kind to yourself. now


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