Self love and my passion for photography

Selbstporträt Jill Abanico mit Pfingstrose
Self portrait Jill Abanico

The cause I fell in love with taking pictures is that you can read so many stories out of one single picture, especially in portrait photography, where you have to put yourself into the situation of your subject and work with your model on a personal level to get an authentic picture of her- or himself.

But I didn't fall in love with photography until I learned to love myself, so let me tell you something about myself first and what I learned to find my passion for my profession:

Back in 2015 you wouldn't have recognised me

I was depressed, unhappy and I wasn't capable to responsibility for my own life. I hated myself, I felt worthless, I had very unhealthy friendships and relationships and I had a job that didn't make me happy. I happened to experience a very traumatic event when I was a young teenager and I never came across on how to process that, until I met a very nice and empathetic person who taught me that exactly this traumatic experience was the reason why I became such an unhappy human.

For me it was normal to be treated disrespectfully

I didn't think of myself as a nice person that deserved to be treated well. I sacrificed my time and energy to being there for other people for when the one person who needed me the most was truly myself.

Unretuschiertes Selbstportät Jill Abanico
Unretouched self portrait Jill Abanico

Unfortunately and thankfully I had to go through an even darker period of time ...

to process this traumatic event. It was a very sad time as well as hard mentally and physically exhausting work: I had to reflect myself, I had to relive the memories of the trauma and understand my actions and my behaviour due to this. I had to learn to be mindful with my thoughts and finally accept what had happened to me in the past. I was so full of self-loathing, that it was very hard for me to learn how to treat myself kindly, how to truly love myself.

Today I know that there is nothing I can do to what happened to me, but I am deeply thankful that I've been through this all because it made me the unique, strong and positive person I am today. And as soon as I learned to love and respect myself, my mind, my heart, my ears and my eyes started to open up to and attract the positive things in life. I found the love of my life, I am surrounded by friends that respect me and I found a job that I really, really love!

Instead of letting people treat me bad I decided to let them go and didn't allow them to be part of my life anymore. I had to be alone first and cope with my own life to heal and have more space for myself. I learned to observe my feelings and my thoughts and with time it got easier to focus more on the positive than on the negative side of life. Of course there's always some negativity in life, but for me it is the way life is. There always has to be balance. And all those negative experiences in fact were not really negative, it was my perspective and my own decision to title these incidents as negative. We humans tend to split the world into positive and negative - end of story.

Incidents that happen to you in life can be positive as well as negative, but it's for you to decide if you are sad about it or learn from it and move on.

Regarding this path I went through I claim that empathy is one of my superpowers and I truly include this in my photography work. Beauty and fashion aside, this is what my photography work is really about!

I put myself into the situation of my models and try to reveal their authentic self and show them how beautiful they are. I understand if there are things they don't like about themselves but don't judge them for it. It all comes down to the way life has formed us and how we perceive ourselves. So be gentle and loving to yourself. Try to let go of your negative thougts. Learn to accept yourself as you are and most of all try to feel how it feels to love yourself!


Self portrait Jill Abanico
Self portrait Jill Abanico