Azle E. Marteney
On January 1, 1943 my father enlisted in the US Army he was 19 years old. On January 1, 1945 he headed to Germany and was there until May 8, 1945 and during this time he turned 21 and saw battle. He served his country proudly and would tell the occasional story about being there. I am in the process of trying to obtain any medals my dad may have received. I am so proud of his service and wish he were still here to share this day with. Daddy I love and miss you very much.
I had some down time prior to my photo session with my son I knew where I was going to head to. I wanted something specific and I knew the Fakahatchee Strand would yield the photo I was looking for. I have a friend who is wanting an alligator photograph. I’ve been commissioned of sort to photograph the perfect photo as he’s already hanging one of my photos in his living room and has asked for another. It is my pleasure to provide what he is looking for. I began my walk toward the boardwalk and had not traveled far when I came upon a very large alligator sunning himself up on the edge of the water. Several people were walking by and I warned them to walk carefully. It’s surprising how many people will walk past and not even see what is right in front of them. Sometimes I’m so amazed by this, they walk out thinking they never see anything and here it was right under their noses. I shot off a few photos then continued my walk down the boardwalk. Stopping to see what may be hiding. The deer flies were hungry and were gnawing upon my legs with a fervor.
As I arrived at the end of the walk I could see how shallow the water was and mama gator was doing her very best to keep the water within her pond. Rainy season will be her soon and the pond will be full once again and eggs will be laid and a new generation of alligators will be hatching in the early fall. The cycle of life is so amazing, as I have watched several generations within that pond. It was great to see momma out there working to keep her pond alive. Such are the seasons of the Fakahatchee Strand.
One of the most difficult things for me as a photographer is to be comfortable in front of the camera. My job is to make my clients comfortable and to allow them to relax so that I can show them how beautiful they really are. Now fast forward to this Mother’s Day weekend, here I am with my photographer youngest son who is going to take me on a journey of self discovery in front of the camera. I trust him fully as he knows me better than anyone, and knows how I feel about being in front of the lens instead of behind it. This is where my journey of self-discovery and empowerment begins. We took off for behind his place of residence which is within the Big Cypress Preserve, we were sure to be alone and I could really try and let go without anyone but him watching me. At first I felt awkward and out of control, but soon I started to really enjoying the attention. His gentle coaxing me into posing was exactly what I needed. Tommy has an incredible artistic eye and was able to pull things from me, no one else would be able to do. I had him use my camera and even though he was a bit uncomfortable at first he soon took charge and got the images we were both wanting. I can tell you as a woman who battles her weight and looks, I was totally out of my comfort zone with this.
Six months out of a destructive relationship where I never felt good enough or attractive enough, I have found who I really am; a beautiful over 50 woman! I also realized if someone does not like how I look or my size, it’s not my problem, it’s theirs and I will not allow anyone male or female to make me feel less than I am. It’s not my concern if they are too shallow and/or insecure and must make themselves feel better by being destructive with someone else’s feelings. I control my own emotional weather.
I could tell by my son’s excitement that he was capturing magic, and I was getting more excited to see what he had taken. He would stop now and then and show me an image he really liked. My goal as a photographer is to make women feel beautiful and to show them the images I create on their behalf is who they really are. I made New Year’s resolution for 2014 to be more authentic and to live my life being more open and expressing who I am as a woman. I have my friend Karen Ziegler to thank for opening my eyes to this revelation and in doing so I have become the happiest I’ve been in years and I’m no longer afraid for people to see the ‘real’ me which has made me stronger and I what I want in life.
My passion is to present to woman just like me, a way to show their beauty. I purposely didn’t edit my photos to show I have freckles, eyes that disappear when I laugh and I am not a size 2, but I love how I look and I love who I am. I am a real woman full of life and ready to take on whatever God has for me. My past is simply that, my past and my future is going to be exciting, but my NOW is amazing and I would not change anything.
So o all the beautiful ladies reading this, I encourage you to go out and enjoy a full photo session, find a photographer you like and are comfortable with and let go of all your fears and foremost be real, show the world how beautiful you are. Ladies Empower yourself, live authentically and never allow anyone to treat you less than you deserve. Until next time, I will catch you behind the lens.
Here are a few of my images