This Woman Empowers Me

I’ve photographed the Lexington based band, Joslyn & the Sweet Compression, several times. I’ve captured live performances and promotional images, the most recent of which was promo session in and around their city.

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Every encounter with their front woman, Joslyn Hampton, leaves me feeling empowered both creatively and as a member of womankind.

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For me, what Joslyn and her music represents is deeply personal. It’s never been easy to put myself out there. I avoid sharing images of myself harder than a politician avoids a direct question and every time I put anything out there, I spend an eternity thinking about how it could have been better if I’d done A, B, or C.

At age nine, in part due to a degrading comment made by a family member, I began developing a growing awareness of societies perception of my 'too big’ body. From that point forward I began to judge myself harshly. I told my mom I didn’t want to take dance or gymnastics classes anymore and though I didn’t tell her the truth of why, it was because I’d become painfully aware of how form fitting the spandex costumes were.

Perception of oneself is a powerful driver and my self-inflicted harsh judgements have led me to any number detrimental decisions throughout the years. And while I’ve spent so much of my life fighting against these inner-demons, it seems a fool’s errand when society echoes what I’ve been telling myself all along. Social media, the fashion industry, and the multi-billion dollar beauty industry are constantly telling me that I need to better myself in some way.  Nearly every scroll through my Facebook feed provides some form of evidence that my body isn’t attractive or desirable and that there’s no excuse but laziness.

But you know what? I call bullshit. And women like Joslyn help me do so.

Joslyn makes no apologies about who she is. On stage, she is goddess-like. She dances freely, flirts with the audience, and commands absolute attention.

Joslyn’s band is comprised solely of men and while each member is a talented musician in their own right, there is no competition for the spotlight. Rather, the members seem to cherish their front woman. They laugh together with ease and highlight her performance rather than try to shadow it.

I always create my best work when I’m photographing those that inspire me. Joslyn’s shoot on a Downtown Lexington rooftop will forever be one of my favorites.

Thank you, Joslyn. Not only for inspiring me but for throwing your middle finger up at societies definition of what a rock star ‘should’ be and doing the damn thing anyway.

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To check our her tour dates and her incredible music visit her website!

Lacy HilliardComment