These handprints make me stronger.
This month's storytelling series is about sexual assault. While this series is uplifting, and empowering... I advise you read this with a person you trust. At the end of this article, I have some links to resources for anyone dealing with sexual assault, along with links to educational resources so anyone can learn about statistics, and ways to protect themselves from sexual assault.
I wanted to create this
series because sexual assault is an issue that I am very passionate about. Many of my friends are survivors of sexual assault, and their stories inspired me to use my platform to spread awareness. If you don't use tik tok, or haven't seen the handprint trend... it was basically a way for survivors to share their stories through the platform. They put handprints on their bodies, and it signified the people that sexually assaulted them.
Credit: @mrs.shortcake on TikTok.
Instead of making this a melancholy/sad shoot, I wanted to make it empowering.
My original idea for this shoot was to have one model, and to do the handprints and some empowering poses. The day of the shoot I had an epiphany, and wanted to include a second model. I thought a second model could add a new meaning to the shoot. It would be 2 survivors lifting each other up, and empowering one another. I immediately knew that would make the shoot that much more powerful.
It was hard finding a model on such short notice... especially with the subject matter. I had gotten a couple votes on a model call, and when I sent the models the concept, they weren't comfortable with doing it. Understandable. Eventually my friend Maycee voted on the model call, and I knew she would be perfect for the shoot. She was excited when I sent her the concept, and said that it was something that I should shed light on!
Nature has always made me feel safe, so I chose a location that created a feeling of peace and serenity. It was a stream going through a neighborhood in Holladay. My friend and I made a film there a year ago, and I knew it would be perfect. We had to walk down the stream for a couple hundred feet to get to this specific spot (as pictured on the right) but the hike was worth it! It wasn't as private as we would have preferred, since it was in a neighborhood, but thankfully a ton of people weren't driving by. We did get a few peeping toms though... lol. The light there is perfect at 6:30, so I had the other model meet Maycee and I at that time!
I don't usually make mood boards for my shoots, unless it's necessary. I usually find cool poses on pinterest, and send them to the models, along with their makeup and styling. For this shoot, I didn't do anything. I had pictured this shoot in my head during a shower, and just thought of some poses the models could do. I thought of photos with their fists up, the models hugging and laughing, and some creative poses for the shoot as well. For makeup, I wanted them to kind of be a blank canvas, so I asked the models to come with some natural face makeup and nothing else. Fiona (one of the models) had brought her roommate Madison along... she is also a photographer and we worked together, suggesting poses. She had some amazing input, and i'm so glad Fiona brought her!
As we were shooting, I was just in awe. I've never seen something so inspiring. All the poses the girls were doing... they were so powerful. I was just amazed at how well the girls were working together. They stopped looking like people, and turned into pieces of art. When i got home that night and uploaded the photos, I literally started to cry. The photos were so beautiful. I am so grateful to be able to create such influential art. I am so happy. I never imagined that this shoot would be as powerful as it is.
Here are the photos.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and look at the photos. Please share this with people, and let's spread awareness for this topic, and empower survivors! If you need help, or would like to educate yourself, take a look at the links below. If you or someone you know is looking to share their story about any social issue, reach out to me and we can schedule a shoot to capture your story. I want to give everyone a voice through my platform.
Me/Photographer: Olivia von Hagen (https://www.instagram.com/livvyrosephotography/)
Model 1: Maycee Hogan (https://www.instagram.com/mayceehoggan/)
Model 2: Fiona Weaver (https://www.instagram.com/fiona.weaver/)
Fiona's Roomate: Madison (https://www.instagram.com/goformad/)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
RAINN Resources: https://www.rainn.org/after-sexual-assault
SafeU Resources: https://sexualassault.utah.edu/crisis-immediate-help/
Rape & Sexual Assault crisis line for Utah: 1-888-421-1100
U of U Rape Recovery Center crisis line: 801-467-7273
Survivor to Survivor: survivortosurvivor.org
Safety & Protection: https://www.rainn.org/safety-prevention
SafeU For Friends & Loved ones: https://sexualassault.utah.edu/secondary-survivors/
Rape Prevention & Education: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/rpe/index.html
Awareness & Recovery: https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/sexual-assault-awareness-recovery/
Learn about how we can reduce the rates: https://www.newtactics.org/tactic/reducing-rape-and-sexual-assault-through-education-adolescent-boys
Donations for my Storytelling series are always Welcome & Appreciated. I pay out of pocket to conduct research, find models styling and makeup for the shoots, and for the rental of equipment and studio space. If you would like to donate to help the cost for these shoots, please do so by donating through my Venmo @Livvyrosephotography. (If you make a donation through Venmo, be sure to say the amount is for donations towards my Storytelling Series.) Anything helps. Thank you.
Hi! I'm Olivia. I am a #portraitphotographer based in Salt Lake City, UT! My goal with photography is to make everyone feel beautiful in their own skin. The most beautiful part of my job is hearing how much one of my clients loves their photos, and how they feel confident after seeing them! #utahportraitphotographer #utahphotographer #slcportraitphotographer #saltlakecityportraitphotographer #conceptualphotography #sexualassault