Who stares back at you when you look in the mirror? How have they changed over the years? For most people, watching their bodies change over the years can be an experience filled with mixed emotions- not all of them good. Women especially can feel bombarded by images and advertisements featuring younger, fitter, and thinner than anyone in their own social circles.
Learning to love yourself and your body no matter what is an ongoing journey. But here to help set a beautiful example of appreciating your own unique beauty is 57-year-old Texan Julie Holloway… otherwise known as The Burning Lotus.
“I am a relative newcomer to modeling and clearly am many years older than most models here. I enjoy the experience of being in front of the camera and think of it as an adventure and as an opportunity to learn. “ (2)
Julie has always kept herself active, practicing dancing since she was very young. She continues to challenge her body with new kinds of activities as well.
“I have extensive training in both yoga and dance but am currently interested in other athletic pursuits and train as a power lifter.” (2)
But it’s not just her everyday practice of keeping herself active that sets her apart. Julie also began modeling – first using her own point-and-shoot camera, and then finding gigs with professional photographers who were inspired by her unique look and adventurous spirit. Julie, the Burning Lotus, is now best known for her artistic intimate photo shoots which show off her natural beauty as a mature woman. (Editor’s Note: The rest of this article contains sensitive content that may not be appropriate for all readers.)
Julie’s portraits are somewhat of a love story to herself. She started her self-portrait project from a deeply emotional motive.
“I started the process of self-portraiture from a place of great personal pain and tragedy. Initially, it was simply a form of documentation that I was still here and that I continued to exist.” (1)
“I was trained as a dancer as a child and raised by a mother who refused to believe that the human body was shameful and she felt I was capable of accomplishing anything that interested me, the combination of deep connection to my body and feeling confident about my own singularity was a powerful influence for me.” (1)
“I posted my images initially as a dare to myself – again, an affirmation of existence.”
Julie now has an impressive following. She continues to post new self-portraits on her Tumblr account and receives a lot of support from women of all ages with whom her photography resonates.
“I simply see the human body as an amazing machine with many moving parts. And parts is parts. Society assigns value and stigma on what is acceptable and what isn’t.” (1)
“I absolutely get more unconditional love and support than I feel I deserve for my ‘therapy,'” Julie says. “I get notes routinely from every kind of person that you can imagine that let me know that I inspire them, they like themselves better, bring them hope about the aging process and/or they are no longer frightened about growing old, that they admire my courage, that they find me unexpectedly sexy, that they now like ink and piercings.” (1)