Hey friend, let me introduce you to Sapphire. Sapphire is part of my “Hidden Gems Series”. This series is all about celebrating our differences and embracing our similarities as humans. Learn more and see the other pieces in the series here.
In this series, I’ve created figures of women looking strong, confident and sure of themselves depicted in various poses. This is in line with my art practice which is all about building confidence in young girls and women. As much as I personally love to smile, I don’t think that should be a measure of beauty or how “nice” someone is.
Often, I hear people argue over whether or not women need to smile in photos in order to look beautiful. Mind you, I don’t hear the same discussion about men. When a woman is not smiling in photos, people say she looks stern or angry. My question is: why should women always have to smile in order to look pretty? My take? Smile if you feel like it. Don’t smile when you don’t want to. Simple!!! My portraits do both – sometimes they smile, other times they don’t. That’s real life.
Moreover, some people feel really uncomfortable smiling for the camera. They’re more relaxed when they don’t have to put on a fake smile. More importantly, when you see someone smiling for the camera. it doesn’t mean that there’s no turmoil going on in their lives. Remember Princess Diana? She was one of the most photogenic and very well photographed women in her time. However, she was also very unhappy.
So, why don’t we just let people show up as their authentic selves. Let’s not require people to put on a show for the world in order to be acceptable.
This piece Sapphire, like the other pieces in the series, exudes confidence. It’s not ashamed to be different. It’s comfortable in its blue skin tones. At the same time, it embraces the similarities between itself and the other gemstones.
The gemstone sapphire belongs to a group of minerals called corundum. In fact, sapphires and rubies come from this same mineral type. (I didn’t know that until recently.) When the color is red, it’s called ruby. The blue version is called sapphire. When it’s colorless it’s called white sapphire. All other colors are called “fancy sapphires.” The difference in name lies in their colors. But at the core, they’re one and the same. Isn’t that something!
Sapphires range in colors from greenish blue to deep blueish purple. You’ll notice that with all the gemstones, their colors are not absolute. A blue gemstone will pull in colors from both green and purple. A purple gemstone will do a similar thing and pull colors from blue and magenta. And that’s why when I was doing my research, I decided that gemstones are a great metaphor for humans. As different as we look, at our core, we’ve got real similarities.
As a result of this Hidden Gems series, I’m learning a lot about gemstones. I hope you’re enjoying these nuggets of information about gemstones and the human race, just as I am.
Finally, as a birthstone, Sapphire is the birthstone for all those born in September. However, you don’t have to be born in September to appreciate this beautiful gem of a portrait. Sapphire is for you if you can enjoy beauty in different shades, shapes, and colors. Until next time when I bring you another gem portrait in the series.
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Also published on Medium.