Get to know some of the women behind the cameras at The Beautiful Project! We asked our contributing photographers for to reflect on their experiences with the women they interviewed and photographed. Today’s reflection is from Alex Dennis, who brilliantly dreamed up the The Self Care Exhibit.
What was your favorite moment about the photo shoot?
I think that for many of the women that I photographed, photo-shoots became mini self-care sessions for the women themselves. Given that I was photographing them while they were engaging in their own self-care practices, there was always a moment during the shoots when they’d forget a camera was there and slide from a state of “being on” for the camera into a state of relaxation and full engagement in their own care. Seeing that transition, and how relaxed, happy, and free they were by the end of the shoot, was my favorite part.
Do you have a favorite quote from one of your interviews?
I think my favorite quote from the interviews was the one from my sister, Lauren. She is probably the youngest woman featured in this project, but her words about the importance of self-care were so incredibly wise. Despite my knowledge of the importance of taking time out to take care of myself, I’m not always consistent and sometimes life gets the best of me. Talking to her inspired me to be more intentional about building in time to reflect on what’s going on, take stock of my feelings, and make time to take care of myself.
What did you learn during this experience?
I learned that self-care can take many forms, and that I’m not alone in struggling with how to fit time for myself into my daily life.
How do you practice self-care?
Having down time to read a good book, relax with a glass of wine or a cup of tea, listening to music, cooking a nice meal, or even watching a movie or T.V. helps me relieve stress at the end of the day. In the mornings or on the weekends, I enjoy going for a long walk outside – especially when the weather is nice. Most importantly, making time to laugh and catch up with my family and old friends.
Alexis Dennis graduated in 2011 with her BA in Communication Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and a Certificate in Documentary Studies from Duke University, where she was dually enrolled as a Robertson Scholar. In 2014 she received her Master of Public Health from UNC. Currently, she coordinates HIV and reproductive health studies as an Associate in Research at the Duke Global Health Institute.