Unleashing mental blocks
„Unleashing mental blocks”
Interview with professional photographer Charlotte Starup
This is quite a different interview I am conducting today. Usually all my posts and interviews are about business, management and success factors. I was so stunned and so impressed when I met Charlotte. In her attitude and her drive to empower women I found all of that - now from a totally different angle with completely new perspectives - for me. I must share these perceptions with you. Be prepared for an inspiring interview that broadened my horizon, too.
I had the huge privilege to meet the Danish photographer Charlotte Starup. Charlotte is specialized in photos of ladies - and overall for ladies. During and after a photo session with Charlotte her female clients feel empowered, because they realize: “No matter how old I am and no matter what my figure is – I look beautiful. I truly am beautiful!”
An interview about the power of the picture, mental blocks and the beauty of imperfection.
Charlotte, please introduce yourself.
My name is Charlotte Starup, I am Danish by birth but I live internationally for 22 years. I am a Master Photographer and hold a Master in Int. Business and Strategy from CBS. My specialty and expertise is the so called “Supermodel for a Day Experience for everyday Women”.
I work with a team of hair make-up artists and stylists and I now have an ever-growing studio wardrobe with over 200 dresses. Each client who comes to me is asked to have a consultation with me first, because it is very important for me that I understand exactly who she is.
So I interview all my clients, to understand how they dream of seeing themselves and what type of women they are. I then conceptualize the shoot around their dreams…that is in terms of lighting, styling, wardrobe , mood and attitude. I offer 100% happiness guarantee and honor that by being very thorough from the get-go.
Some ladies want Peter Lindbergh style, other people want just elegant and I offer what I call “from the boardroom to the bedroom” in order to get around all the aspects of being a woman. We start with some business photos then we venture over to red carpet, do some beauty photos and we change during the session dresses and Hair makeup and style. At the end of the session when my ladies are warmed up we finish up with some boudoir.
Let me be provocative: That sounds spicy.
Yes, I guess for some men it does. But when I say “boudoir”, I do not address men with my photos. Not at all. The purpose of my whole work is to empower or to re-empower women. All the photos I take of women aim tostrengthening them in their self-perception and self-confidence.
After my sessions my female clients stand taller, they are proud of themselves and have much more self-estimation and confidence. And that's what drives me.
I know for a fact that some women are very hard with themselves. Often too hard. A lot of my female clients come into my studio and never had seen a good photo of themselves. They find excuses, because they think that they are too old or too curvy or too wrinkled. They often feel inferior and benchmark themselves to women they see in fashion magazines.
I really want women to not think like that of themselves. I want to show them that they too have countless beautiful sides and wonderful facets to them. With their photos I can just prove that to them. “The photos I take of you are not for your husbands or lovers, ladies - they are first and foremost for you!”
I like that. You empower women to stand taller.
And there is so much beauty out there. My job is to show the women that all of them have so much potential. It is just their mind – and this male dominated world – which holds them back. They too often limit them selves.
How do you open their mind and unleash their mental block?
My job is to be honestly interested in my clients. I listen to their story, I ask questions, and I try to find their strengths and often through sorrows they discovered new sides of themselves. It is not just taking pictures. I build a kind of mental relationship with my clients.
Every single session is special and as unique as my clients. There is no such thing as identical sessions. Because it is all about who they are and I and my team delivering what they dream of seeing in themselves.
What does such a work process look like?
It starts with a first video call or an in-person-meeting with my clients. In our conversation they tell me a lot about themselves, I ask my questions and often learn a lot about their personal insecurities and mental blocks.
Then we plan the shoot around that. At the beginning of the shooting day many are very nervous and feel vulnerable. For me it is important to build a trust and ensure my ladies that they can trust us because we do this all the time. The first 5 minutes are maybe still a bit vulnerable but then the fun starts. More often than not they are NOT ready to go home when time is up! The absolut most important thing that THIS DAY IS ALL ABOUT HER>>>NOONE ELSE BUT HER….she deserves to be pampered and looked after for one day. Its better than a SPA day as these images with outlive her and be passed on to the next generation.
When they see their photos they can’t believe what they see: “is that me?”. Some of them start to cry.
It gets so positively emotional. The mental block seems to be solved. There is no longer a trace of insecurity.
So, you are much more than a photographer. This sounds more like the work of a therapist.
Yes, you could definitely say that. The photo sessions change the mindset of my clients. It unties a knot. After that, they look at themselves differently than before. Much more confident. And a lot happier.
I trigger those emotions with mentoring, fashion advice and the power of photos. I show my clients that they don’t have to hide. Many of my clients change their style after our sessions. And that's great! Stand tall ladies, that's what it's all about!
Why do you think photos can solve such mental insecurities?
Because, when you are constantly worried that you are not good enough, not looking great enough, you also are holding back from for filling your dreams.
Especially when you become a solopreneur or a businessperson. If you run around with a burden of not being good enough, because you think that there so many things wrong with you, you are holding back. Whereas when you see that this is OK and that your imperfections are part of your wonderful personality, then you can focus on other things and move forward and follow your dreams.
Sometimes, you just need to see yourself and the beauty of yourself. And that's what photos can show very well. It sounds very vain, but it is the truth. After the photo session, you see different sides of yourself and that is empowering, too.
You also started you own magazine. Could you tell me a bit about it?
Yes, it is called “40 Women Over 40”. I love magazines and fashion photography. In my photo studio in Germany I had this idea in my head: Too many women over 40 feel invisible. I want to help change that and make a difference. So, since 2019, I create every year a fashion magazine with 40 women over 40.
I want to show the world that you don’t have to be 18 and flawless and no wrinkles, you do not need the perfect body to be in the social media. That doesn’t exist. Everyone is unique. Women over 40 have a story, they all carry some burden, we all have some scare of life. And for me that is much more interesting to hear how their lives formed and how these scares served them in their lives than a young adult with no scars at all. The aim is to empower other ladies over 40 with these stories and beautiful images.
That is what my magazine is about, to show the world: life is not over when you are 40. You are always equally beautiful to everybody around you.
Follow those links for more and to get in touch with Charlotte. Just tap on the pictures.