..."I picked up the camera, my gut was telling me it would help."...
I’ve been doing photography for 30 years and have always had a special gift but never thought about taking it to the professional level. It wasn’t until my “tower collapse” in January 2019- a miscarriage and a victim of fraud, I was left sitting in my own ashes waiting for Spirit to show me the next step. I was getting nothing from Spirit and was starting to experience a lot of anger and depression.
I picked up the camera, my gut was telling me it would help.
From there everything unfolded like magic.
I had a vision of Goddess Photography. I started doing portfolio shoots with women who wanted to feel empowered by dancing in the desert wearing gowns and holding flappy fabrics in the wind. I would take pictures and also hold space for their greatness.
I also had a vision of doing this with men too!
The women I would shoot with were loving it and having a blast. And the photography looked great.
But somehow though I felt I needed to prove my concept and validate my own vision when it came to doing a goddess photography shoot with a man.
March 8th was my first official day as a professional photographer in Las Vegas and I was shooting two events that day. One of them being a fundraiser birthday party for a well-established nonprofit located here in Las Vegas.
I was taking pictures of people at the photo booth when along comes Jay.
Jay was a very handsome black man, dressed to impress this evening. I quickly showed Jay the shot I captured of him and he gasped and fawned all over the image. He asked for my card and was eager to do a shoot with me.
Then it happened. I heard the voice of The Goddess.
Nudging me to ask Jay if he would be interested in a Goddess Shoot.
My first thought was that he would definitely tell me to fuck off because what dude wants to wear gowns and play goddess?
So I asked him, heart pounding and nervous as hell.
AND HE SAID YES!
Not only was he a yes, he was a HEAVENS YES!
So we schedule the shoot and the day of the shoot finally arrives.
Jay meets me at my house and is so excited to be going on this experience.
We are to spend 10 hours together in Death Valley National Park going through a series of shamanic spiritual photography sessions in remote places in the desert.
Jay really showed up 100%, and he shared with me how excited he was for this experience.
He also shared something that I had no awareness of.
Jay shared that he was a transgender and he showed me picture of him 10 years ago before he transitioned into a man.
He also shared with me his vision for the shoot, going back in time, starting with a masculine styled shoot and moving backwards in time through his transition.
We agreed to let inspiration flow and see what happens.
The next theory I was out to prove was my concept of “Letting Goddess choose the outfits” and we do this with a lot of trust. We go to the Thrift Store and pick out what will be worn on the shoot the same day as the shoot- mostly looking for dresses that look, feel and make one feel like a Goddess.
It’s always magical!
The thrift stores in Vegas always have great clothing because of the rich performance culture and night life here. And we did find the most amazing magical dresses, including one that looked exactly like the dress his mother got married in.
We popped some tags and headed to the desert. Little did we know the depth of the journey we were about to embark.
Our first session started with an oracle card reading. One that encouraged trusting, surrendering and going with the flow. Both Jay and I surrendered even more and a deeper process began to unfold.
Jay’s military service came bubbling up during conversation.
He shared about sexual misconduct experience in the military, before his transition.
Our space and time together was turning into an embodiment of Jay’s story and also a space for energies to clear and heal.
It was an honor for me to hold this sacred being and witness such raw vulnerability and courage. Jay rocked his masculine shoot, even reenacting the military stance.
Next, we found ourselves near an old snag tree.
I felt moved to do a “Red Tent” themed shoot. I opened our shoot with a prayer offering, a prayer and expression dedicated to honoring and celebrating the feminine “bleed”. I used red fabric as the symbol of blood. We released shame and guilt around bleeding, we honored the bleeds that came before us, that birthed us, our past bleeds, future bleeds and we honored the purpose of the bleed- to make way for life.
And our journey got deeper.
I surprised Jay when I told him our next session will be on inner child. I don’t think he was ready to jump into his inner child, he was squirmy and nervous. He could have told me no, but Jay on his own found the courage to allow space for his inner child.
And healing took place. Jay shared a little about his childhood. About how it was natural for him to express as a little boy, and how his mother would resist Jays expression. Much of the images we captured I could clearly see a little boy being forced to be a little girl.
We gracefully moved into the expression of adolescence. And here in the tall blades of grass we played with shadow, romance and radiance.
As we drove down the road, I took Jay on a guided meditation.
A mediation to the “Meeting of his inner Goddess”. Jay went even deeper through the meditation.
The next two sessions were all about releasing the Goddess within and dancing with the Goddess.
Jay is a yoga instructor so he rocked these shoots with some of the most beautiful yoga poses.
Our final journey had come.
The sun had set.
We were in the middle of Devils Cornfield in Death Valley and it was time for sacred ceremony of inner marriage. Joining Jay’s Masculine essence and Feminine essence in Divine Union.
I helped Jay slip into the wedding dress.
It was a perfect fit. Jay said it looked just like the same dress his mother got married in. He also mentioned how healing it would be for her to see him in this dress. As though she will have a moment with her child she had always dreamed about.
We wrapped up a 10 hour day and started heading back to Las Vegas- still more than a two hour drive back.
As we chatted on the way back Jay was sharing over and over how much this shoot had been one of the most incredible experience of his life and how deeply it touched his heart. How he felt deeper love for himself, his story, for the goddess within. His heart and my heart has been blown wide open.
I set out to prove a concept, and opened myself up for a miracle, in fact me and Jay are still processing and integrating the energy given to us from this experience. I’m finally getting the story out there – it took me almost 4 months to find the words. For Jay, he could write a whole book on each little piece of this photoshoot, this was about his entire life! Empowered goddess with a side of completion process, healing and radical self-love.
So next time Goddess nudges me to do something extremely uncomfortable, I'M SO DOING IT.
By Danielle Eugenia