Empowering Portraits – Safe Space for Self Expression
Celebrating Diversity, Acceptance and Inclusion
Opportunity for all to feel Seen, Heard, Valued & Loved
Beautiful Strength is an on-going photo project that includes different, unique portraits. By celebrating the resilience of the human spirit through the power of conversation and photography, Beautiful Strength ensures that everyone has a chance to feel seen, heard, valued and loved. Portrait stories have included topics like HIV, Black Lives Matter, Cancer Survival, Autism, Diversity, and Body Positivity.
About Annette McNamara
In Sept 2018 long time photographer, Annette McNamara, had an idea for her own photoshoot. Growing up she struggled with her self-image and allowed other’s negative words to affect how she saw herself.
Beautiful Strength was born out of a need to say those struggles out loud and finally accept herself for who she was. No filters, no photoshop, just her and her words. That one idea blossomed into an initial shoot that consisted of 45 people, and from there it launched a wonderful ripple effect.
Little did she know that throwing this positivity out into the world would connect to a bigger purpose… the need for ALL people, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, religion, political views, economic status, whatever… to be heard and have a chance to connect with others. By telling our stories, adding in some humor, being honest about how difficult life can be and how resilient we can be at overcoming what life throws at us, we all can connect and become better human beings. The more we communicate with an open heart and open ears, the better the world will be.
Annette never could have imagined that one shoot would lead to so many awesome stories and connections. She believes everyone deserves to be told I see you, you are beautiful, you are strong, and you are loved.
In 2020 Annette began the biggest adventure of her life. Throughout quarantine she, along with numerous friends, transformed what was once a 40’ school bus into a beautiful tiny home and mobile photo studio. In March 2021 Annette hit the road and Beautiful Strength became mobile. In just 526 days, she completed her first trip around the lower 48 and into a small portion of Ontario, Canada. Traveling 35,000 miles solo, she conducted over 1500 portraits of resilience, bringing the total to 3000 portraits and this number grows everyday. From homeless encampments to Beverly Hills, National Parks to Walmart and Cracker Barrel parking lots; anywhere there were people willing to share their story; Beautiful Strength was there.
Annette has been a keynote speaker at conferences such as Women Lead Change and TNSAE. She has spoke at numerous events, including Girls Scouts, Pride events, Rotary Clubs, foster care group homes, and teen centers.
Annette McNamara is a 1998 graduate of Ackley-Geneva High School. She graduated from California State University in 2005 with a BA in Communications. Annette has been a freelance photographer for over 20 years; specializing in portraiture, documentation, and storytelling.