What Does Real Self-Love Look Like?

13-year-old photographer Olivia Wein explores the kind of love that only takes one in this personal photo essay.

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We sat for a while thinking about what self-love meant to us. Thinking back on moments when we danced around our bedrooms, feeling tall enough to be seen not as who we have always wanted to be seen as, but being completely OK with exactly who we are.

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We searched for pictures online, trying to see self-love through other people's eyes, trying to put some sort of definition on this seemingly hard-to-attain concept. We found smiles on smiles.

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We realized later that being happy is not separate from self-love. When someone truly loves themselves, happiness comes along with it—a freedom to laugh and wanting to be alone with ourselves come along with it too.

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We also realized that this idea of "self-love" meant being completely raw. We found that it came along with these blurry concepts of confidence, complacency, and acceptance.

All of a sudden these things seemed simple and, yet, still so hard to attain.

We decided to start in front of a mirror, and then shoot the uncomfortable, the raw, and the practiced.

We decided to pretend and see if we could become self-love.

Olivia Wein is a New York City-based photographer. She's the founder of Loser Zine, which you can follow on Instagram at @loser.zine. Snap her at @liv622002.

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