About the Episode
Welcome to 2022, this is our first episode of the year, and we are going to start the year off by reflecting together and taking a look back at 2021.
I want to share with you some of the intentions that I had for the past 12 months, the goals I set for myself, and my recent business projects.
There were so many good things in 2021, but there were also some really hard moments, too. I want to share with you those challenges, but also the lessons that I took from them, because I think that’s really important.
There are also some really positive lessons too, even through the rollercoaster of emotions that I experienced in my business. Reflecting back has allowed me to more easily decide how I want to run and lead my business 2022. Maybe this episode will help you do the same. Enjoy!
Topics discussed in episode #58
- How Melanie learned to balance the parts of the business that she loves doing and the things she doesn’t love as much
- Recovering from launches that don’t go as planned and how to create a plan to move forward that feels right
- Why losing her biggest client was the catalyst for Melanie to completely restructure her business and how she did so with her team
- What to do instead of telling your audience what they can “expect from you” in the future
- Working through the vulnerability of owning a business and how you can approach visibility in a way that works for you
- Melanie’s word of the year and why she chose, plus how you can pick your word of the year, too
Connect with Melanie here:
Melanie Knights (00:03):
So today we are joined by Linley who is a fat, positive photographer writer and activist. Welcome to the show. Thank you. I am very excited to sit down and have this conversation with you. And whilst I formally introduced you earlier, would you mind just taking a moment to introduce yourself in your own words?
Lindley Ashline (00:30):
Yeah. my name is Linley Ashline. I use she her pronouns and I'm a photographer writer and a body acceptance activist, fat activist. I have my hands in a lot of pies and my fingers in a lot of cards. So I do a lot of different things. I do client photography, stock photography writing consulting, and I have a web shop as well with the goods and goods and artwork made by fat and other marginalized people.
Melanie Knights (01:00):
Yes. And I originally came across your work looking for stock photography. So I was every so often I would go off and look for stock photography and try very hard to find photography that either represented my body shape and my body type, but also just didn't look like run of the mill stock photography. And I came across your work and, and I don't know, it may be a couple of years ago now. And I was just so intrigued and, and with all of the things that you do and I'm on your email list and I love seeing how you share this work and the conversations that you have on social media. So I'm really happy to finally get to do this. And for everybody listening to be able to learn from you as well and hear your own experiences as a business owner and as a fat positive photographer and an activist as well. So today, as we talk about the work you do and your lived experience in a fat body and as a business owner, one of the topics that I've covered a couple of times here is how we can build diverse and inclusive businesses specifically in our marketing. And your work has been mentioned on the show before. So I would love to start there. I mean, let's talk about size diversity in photography and stock photos. When and how did you start body liberation, stock photography?
Lindley Ashline (02:29):
Well, I started I'd been doing nature photography for a very, very long time before I started working with people photography. And in 2015 I left a really terrible corporate job and started my photography business. And and so I had to learn to photograph people and I took about six months and did a lot of training before I left my full-time job to, to learn how to do portrait and, and a boudoir photography. And that's the type of client photography that I do. But as I got started with that I knew I wanted to work with people in larger bodies, fat people. Partly because I'd been involved in the fat acceptance community for a long time. And partly because it was a market opportunity that at the time nobody else was serving that population. And and just for reference I'm outside Seattle in the United States.
Lindley Ashline (03:25):
And in, I think it was 2017 Getty images, which is a major stock and editorial photography service. They do, they do stock photos, really beautiful, high quality stock photos, and also things like red carpet photos and, and news photos at any rate, they released a collection of stock photos that was like a body positive collection and it was marketed. It, it got a ton of press and it was marketed as being inclusive and representative and, and marketed as being great for small business owners and all the body positive folks in my circles were very excited about this until we all went and looked at the actual photos and, and it turned out that this collection was not necessarily all it was hyped up to be because the people in the photos they're, they're lovely photos but the people in those photos are what we might call model fat they're they're plus size models.
Lindley Ashline (04:32):
But that, that means that they're still either at least in the U S what would be considered an average sized body or a little below. So yes, they were bigger than the people the, the size of the people you typically see in stock photos, but they weren't really representing anything more than, you know, the average size body. So so not only that, but they were very expensive hundreds of dollars to use one photo. And, and that, that is out of the reach of most small businesses. You had to renew the license every five years, if you were going to keep using the photo. And finally, the photos were editorial use only, which means you can't use them in your marketing. And I got so mad. I was like, is this really the best that we can do? This is so inadequate.
Lindley Ashline (05:20):
And I had been photographing people for a couple of years at that point. I had all these portfolio shots that I had taken, and I was doing a lot of portfolio building. And I said, what, you know, there's nothing stopping me from getting permission from the people I've been working with who were mostly regular people and not trained models. There's nothing stopping me from getting permission from them to use these, the stock photos and also to shoot stock photos going forward. And you know, and I just, I just started doing it honestly, honestly, a lot of my is because I get annoyed about something, or I get mad about something embracing my anger and my frustration and pointing them towards productive and world changing ends has been the impetus for most of my work. And, and it's a very sort of cleansing anger when I'm able to put it towards something like that.
Lindley Ashline (06:18):
But I just started producing these stock photos and the more that I worked on them, the clearer, it was how much, how big the need is for stock photos that are representing everyone. Who's not a thin white person who, who is able by. And as one person I can't possibly feel all of that need myself. So I'm also recruiting other photographers and paid contributors to body liberation stock so that we can fill even more of this. And as a white woman you know, I want more perspectives than just my own it on the site too. But that's an ongoing work. But it just, the need is so great for people to be able to represent more people than thin white models.
Melanie Knights (07:08):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I'm, so I'm very similar. I get very angry kind of how this podcast about something and, you know, as you described it, paying and channeling that energy into, you know, activism or changing the way things are done. And, you know, I think that I have so many thoughts, personal thoughts around entrepreneurship, the online space, and in this case, you know, using photography and in our marketing, I mean, when you, as you're describing it, you know, these, these photos from Getty images, which, you know, other than the fact that are astronomically expensive and cannot be used in the way that we would need, also not very diverse, even if they are really beautiful. And I think this is something that we see so often we see, you know, as you put it, you, one person perhaps can't ensure that everyone's everyone's needs are met or that all marginalized community communities are actually part of, of the bigger picture.
Melanie Knights (08:20):
So the fact that you are reaching out and diversifying by reaching out and bringing in other photographers and other other contributors is so important because I think this is so often where we kind of, as solo business owners can slip up in our work as well, by looking at everything through our own lens or through that one voice. So that's, I just love everything that you're doing in terms of continuing to do that work and also continuing to bring in other voices and other, other other contributors to that as well. And I'm really curious to, you know, besides obviously this, you know, these images and this incident that kind of really frustrated you and led you to starting to take these photographs, could you share a little bit about your own lived experience in a faculty and what it's like to be running an online business in particular, and some of the things that can happen when we are actively speaking up and doing that in a very public forum like Instagram or on social media in general?
Lindley Ashline (09:34):
Oh, this is such a, such a big topic and debating where to dive in. So as a as a person, rather than as a business or a brand I was not a fat child. I was an average sized kid until I hit puberty. And then and so I was I also have anxiety and I'm autistic. So I was bullied as a kid and I had some, some other things going on, but none of them were related to the size of my body. Once I hit puberty and suddenly looked like every other, a woman in my family were, you know, we're German peasants. We look like German peasants. We all have you know, big hips, big childbirth and hips and large breasts and, and very comfortable roly-poly bodies. Suddenly the world is approved of my body and I was, I had quite a bit of a sudden introduction to that, but so I, I felt horrible about my body.
Lindley Ashline (10:36):
Like many people do through my young adulthood and through my twenties and in my late twenties and early thirties, about 10 to 15 years ago, I discovered I, I stumbled upon the fat acceptance community and started reading about the science of bodies and, and why diets don't work and, and about, you know, accepting your body and working through all those things. And, and from there, by the time I started my business it was just a natural fit to integrate those beliefs and frameworks into my business. But it has been more difficult being a marginalized business owner. But also someone who focuses on marginalized people. So there's kind of two different, two different aspects there. As a fat business owner, I find that to be blunt, my, the progress and growth of my business are slower than people who started similar businesses.
Lindley Ashline (11:38):
At similar times, it is more difficult for me to network. It's more difficult for me to make connections. People aren't as eager to promote me in my work because the weight stigma and the fatphobia that infuse our culture, the culture of the entire developed world as a whole are certainly expressed in business as well and entrepreneurship, you know, there's no, there's no escaping it. So, so I have had a different experience than someone who isn't a more socially acceptable body. But that said, I still have the privileges in the advantages of being a white woman who lives in the United States, don't get me wrong.
Lindley Ashline (12:24):
But and, and so as a business owner, if you live in some kind of marginalized body, which many, many, many of us do in some way or another you kind of have to choose how much of your of your personality and your body that you're going to include in your brand presence. And some people choose to hide. And I think that's a totally valid decision. Some people sort of don't really put the photos. They might put headshots, but, but like not full body photos or anything online. You know, they might choose to downplay the presence of their personal physical body as a self protective measure. And I think that's a perfectly valid way to go, especially if you were in a life position where like I don't have kids, I don't have a day job. I mean, I do, but it's my own business it's so, so I am not if I put myself in positions where I may face stigma, it's not affecting my career, it's not affecting my social circle, you know what I mean?
Lindley Ashline (13:43):
My like my support network. And so, and, and it does affect, you know, it does affect, again, my professional connections and my, my career as far as my own business goes. So I can totally understand why people would not want to subject themselves to the penalties of, of being seen in a marginalized body as a business owner. For me hiding that way, never really seemed like an option. Because partly as a photographer, who's invested in, you know, representing larger bodies, I felt like I couldn't hide my own. But also since my business is focused on marginalized people that also, you know, subjects my business to waste stigma, there are, you know, again, there have been penalties for that. So given that I'm incurring those penalties anyway, I might as well show my own body too.
Lindley Ashline (14:46):
And it it is something that, because I have the privilege and the safety to that, it helps other people feel like they have permission to do that as well. So there's all kinds of benefits to doing that, but there are penalties as well. You know, I get, like I said, people are less likely to want to work with me. People are I get trolled and harassed. I've been doxed, which is where somebody releases your personal information or your location to the internet. So I've had my, I've had my, my location of where I live exposed by troll farms. You know, I'm, I'm constantly deleting troll comments. And, and the thing is that, you know, this isn't, this doesn't need to be a huge discussion of trolling, but, you know, I think almost everybody experiences that at some point, but the more marginalizations you have, the more you are subjected to that.
Lindley Ashline (15:46):
And it can be really encouraging as a business owner to be constantly having to delete Instagram comments or, or Twitter comments or whatever. So I think, again, I don't blame anyone who chooses to self-protect by not doing that. And I think when we talk about representation and talk about marketing it plays into that as well, because say I'm a massage therapist and I have a website and my website does not have any bodies on it. It's all like beautiful river stones and, and, and lakes and peaceful things and Lotus blossoms and so on. But because I'm afraid to put my body out there and I, you know, I don't know how to I, I'm kind of stuck because I don't want to just represent, you know, that, you know, that really cliche stock, stock photo of the the thin white woman with brown hair, she's laying on her, laying on her stomach on a massage table and with her arms underneath her.
Lindley Ashline (16:54):
And there's like stolen, stepped up beside her, beside her. Yeah. Everybody knows that photo. It's one of the, one of the classics. And like, maybe I don't want to just use that, but I don't know what else to use. And I'm worried that if I put any fat bodies on my website if I, if I put my fat body on my website, maybe people aren't going to be grossed out and not want to work with me. And maybe if I put other fat bodies, well, first off, where would I find them? You know, I don't know about Lindley's website, so I don't know where I would find fat bodies related to massage anyway. But then also are people not going to want to work with me? Are people going to be turned off by seeing that bodies period? And so there's all these, all these deep, deep decisions and things that pull on deep social currents, both in ourselves and in, you know, and then the way people respond to our marketing.
Lindley Ashline (17:50):
But the thing is that representing those people if I, if I'm on that massage therapist and I'm worried about attracting only people who are thin, yeah. Then, then that's a concern, but maybe nobody else in my town is serving fat massage clients. So moving, if I'm putting fat bodies on my website, that's a major market opportunity because all the fat people are going to feel safe with me. So, so, you know, there's give and take here, there it's a balance. And the more that we normalized fat bodies in marketing and in the media, the less risky it becomes.
Melanie Knights (18:30):
Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I have so many questions, so many things I want to discuss with you and thoughts. Yeah, I it's it's, I wanted to go back to one of the things that you were talking about in terms of, you know, hiding or not even, it's not even hiding, you know, it's kind of preserving your own feelings and how you feel about your own body. And interestingly, this is something I have been very aware of in my own business because many of, you know, those listening will know this, but I started out my business in the health and fitness industry. And whilst I was considered a plus size trainer at the time you know, I definitely, I never felt like I fit in and over time, my body has definitely changed. And I notice the impact that has on my business.
Melanie Knights (19:31):
And there are always questions that I sometimes ask myself or sometimes those thoughts will come in. Like, you know, my business, I know that my business doesn't grow at the rate of others because of the decisions I make in terms of my marketing and the way I decide to run my business, because I don't follow a lot of the traditional marketing tools and resources. But in addition to that, you know, these are things that come up for myself, you know, is it because of my body? And I can't, I'm not willing to change that, but it's also a very valid question. And one of the things that I think is really interesting is how we may make those choices. I think I make those choices in my own business without even necessarily realizing at times, you know, the way in which I will take a certain photo or the parts of me that I will share.
Melanie Knights (20:23):
But you recently did an Instagram TV video where you were talking, touching on this subject as well. And you were talking about within, you know, when we have these websites and when we have these areas where we want to showcase people in our business depending on which industry we're in and how we can be quote authentic with our, putting ourselves in that position of gang bang, those hateful comments, or, you know, potentially losing customers or business. And as you said, I think it's a really difficult line because if you don't put, you know, and again, there's a right or wrong answer, but you, when you don't put your own image on the website and you do that as a choice, it's, it's interesting to know what would then happen when people do come to work with you or see you in those kinds of things.
Melanie Knights (21:19):
And I think it's such a complex, it's such a complex conversation, and yet it's also a conversation that is so important. And I don't think it's so interesting to me in the ways in the last couple of years, business has really changed and shifted in a lot of, you know, it's still hurtful and very toxic, but there are things that have changed. And yet this conversation is not something that I'm seeing all the time. And, you know, I, I don't see a lot of business owners that look like me and I don't see a lot of people talking about these things in terms of business. And I think that's one of the reasons why, you know, I'm so drawn to what you do, because as well as that, you know, these are conversations I have with my fat friends. You know, we talk about that.
Melanie Knights (22:05):
And, you know, they've said to me, I'm looking for a, a fat hairdresser, somebody who I'm going to feel more comfortable with. And these are things that take a little bit of extra thought in terms of our businesses and in terms of our marketing, whether we are no matter what our body size is or whichever, you know, wherever we're at in our business, we need to think about and take those extra steps. So I think it's, it's, so it's, it's such an open conversation that there's so many places that we can really look at this in terms of marketing and business. And as you put it in terms of website and sharing other bodies as well, and allowing people to feel safe because safe space is one of those phrases that has just been really weaponized in the online space as well. And creating safe spaces starts with kind of, not just by saying it starts way before that, by how we show up for other people and how we will potentially use that in our business, within our marketing and imagery and words and language as well. And through consistency of, of, you know, showing that we lead in with that example. So in terms of, you know, in your business and especially, you know, you talked about social media and the impact of that. I'm really curious to know where, where in your business have you noticed?
Melanie Knights (00:03):
So I'm really curious to hear from you in terms of your business and the businesses that you have either worked with a scene, where do you see that there is still a need for these conversations and a need for diversity in stock photography within small businesses?
Lindley Ashline (00:23):
Oh gosh, everywhere. There are so many opportunities and I kind of feel like, like it's kind of two different areas a little bit as far as, as far as these conversations around authenticity. We are in a period of time at no other time in history have business owners, many expected to divulge so much of their, their personality and their lives to the public. And of course this is the first time in history that we've really had the ability to do that anyway, but, but like no one goes you know, 50 years ago, no one would have expected the local shoe repair guy to, to talk about his, his mental health challenges in the newspaper. You know, that, that just wasn't a thing. And social media has really you know, has really increased those demands. Because now it's, and now it's not the expectations are so high for us to share pieces of ourselves.
Lindley Ashline (01:36):
So it's not, should I have a personal presence in my business, but how much of one? And that that's something that I struggle a bit with because because my business has such a strong activism component. I do talk about sometimes I'll talk about things like parts of my medical history, but I don't want to put all of that on the internet. That's mine, that's my story. You know, and I, I don't talk I am open about my autism and anxiety, because those are part of the lens of how I see the world, but generally I don't talk about those in depth because first off I feel like in my activism work, I give so much, I give so much of myself on the fat side that I don't, I don't, I don't want to share everything else.
Lindley Ashline (02:26):
You know, I'm, I, last year I developed sleep apnea after some major dental work. And I did share that process because sleep apnea is something is an area of healthcare where there's a ton of fatphobia and it's difficult to get good care. And I did experience difficulties getting care around that. And so I shared that process and I took photos of the sores on my face when trying to get a mask that fit for a C-PAP machine. I was open about that. But that is very vulnerable. And again, I have the privilege to be able to do that. I, again, I'm not, I'm not in a corporate career where that might affect how people see me at work. But it was uncomfortably vulnerable. And and if I, you know, if I had to do that again, I don't know that I would be as open in sharing that because now that's on the internet forever.
Lindley Ashline (03:26):
So, so everybody is going to have a different comfort level with how much they want to share. And I think that it's okay to resist the constant pull of share more, share more, be more vulnerable, be more vulnerable because there's, I feel like there's sort of an authenticity spectrum. On, on the one end you have, I don't know, Coca Cola, you know, nobody expects to see you personal, you know, of Coca-Cola to tell you personal details about their lives and on the other, we have maybe something like mental health activists who are talking very vulnerably about these, you know, what goes on in their heads. And I think anywhere along that spectrum is okay. But it is more difficult. Vulnerability and authenticity are more difficult for marginalized people because again, to be really blunt when a 24 year old thin white blonde woman in the United States makes a touching vulnerable, beautiful Instagram post about her, let's say insecurity about her very socially acceptable body.
Lindley Ashline (04:39):
She's going to get a ton of support because again that she lives in a body and, and has privileges that, that make people want to support her a size 40 us that it's, that's, you know, way out at the end of the size spectrum person who is maybe lives in a body of color, maybe they're. If they made that exact same post with their body in the exact same pose they, there's a good chance they be getting death threats and no, I'm not exaggerating because that's what people in very large bodies live with. And so vulnerability and authenticity are received differently depending on who you are. So we all have to find our own balance of vulnerability and authenticity versus safety because depending on how marginalized you are, it can be an issue of physical safety. Like I said, I've had my address revealed to the world on a troll forum, and I was very nervous for a few weeks.
Lindley Ashline (05:42):
I was genuinely worried that someone was gonna come to my house. So, so you had to find your own balance and there is no right or wrong answer. I wish that I had some kind of firm guidelines to give, but coming back to where are there opportunities for, for us to represent more people in our marketing? I mean, that's everywhere. Just to pick one example here in the states as I, as I speak in September, 2021 there is we are in the midst of the Delta variant surge of, of COVID and I cannot safely create new stock photos right now unless they're of me. So I've been, I've been modeling for my own stuff and make it making my husband take the photos, but but as soon as I'm able to work with other people, again, I, I desperately need to do some healthcare photos because we do not have on planet earth right now.
Lindley Ashline (06:46):
A good variety of respectful, like respectfully taken non-shaming stock photos, where that doctors are interacting with patients or fat patients are interacting with doctors. We just don't have that. It does not exist and I can make that exist, but I got to have the safety to do it, but there are opportunities everywhere. Everybody can, can do something if you don't have any people of color on your site, if you don't have any indigenous people, if you don't have any folks, if you don't have fat folks on your website, I mean, there's always more we can do. There's always more I can do. And this is what I do.
Melanie Knights (07:27):
Yeah. Yeah. I think that's really important. There's always more we can do. And I have seen you talk about the, going back to what you were saying about the comparisons, where, or if someone a 24 year old blonde woman with a socially acceptable body posts that, you know, vulnerable piece of content in comparison, you know, I've seen you talk about this before, and I've seen you talk about it in reference to your own content as well, and how, you know, the impact is, is so different. And I think that this it's, it's a conversation that I know I certainly want to be able to have with more people because I see this in my own business, you know, and it's as I had mentioned, you know, for a long time, I said to myself, I don't see business owners who look like me, and this is very curious and I'm like, am I not looking in the right places?
Melanie Knights (08:31):
Like, why do I find people who, who look like me? And it was a, it was a journey of both actively looking for bodies that looked like me, like actively searching on Google and looking for photography and people who, you know, looked like me or had a body shape like mine you know, exercising a body shape, like mine, people of people eating. And like you say, there are so many ways in which we can, you know, we can definitely add more of this and, and not only have the conversations, but add more of this visually but, but actively seeking it out, but also by adding it into our own businesses where it fits. And one of the things that I both, I saw it when I was in the health and fitness industry big time, and I still continue to see it in stock photography is, you know, you talking about the healthcare, you know, healthcare and taking photos in within that lens.
Melanie Knights (09:40):
And this is something that I continue to see, because if you know, you're going into Canberra and you search for through that stock photography and you search like plus size woman, the photos that come up are she's unhappy, her jeans don't fit she's on scales. You know, these, these are the visuals that we are presented with continually. And for that person, this is how we feel when we often, when we go to healthcare providers, this is often how we feel, and we can feel very anxious and novice in that situation. And so, you know, being able to, you know, yes, it's uncomfortable, but then seeing this constantly validated this idea of what is socially acceptable in society. It's, it's, it's, it's really challenging to, you know, as a fab person to go out there and be like, fine, not only find photography that I want to be able to use, that represents how my, you know, who I want to help in my business and who, you know, the fact that a business can be diverse and inclusive and helping multiple multiple people in marginalized bodies and alongside that, the feelings that we have of of our own bodies and of ourselves.
Melanie Knights (11:01):
And I think this is, you know, this is where those challenges can definitely lie. And I definitely feel like in my, in my own business, and as I said, I feel like there's so many different way things I would love to ask you, but before we finish up today's session I do want to ask you a question that I ask every single guest that comes on the show. So here at entrepreneur Outlaws, we're all about doing business on our own terms. We're challenging the status quo and breaking molds really embracing that kind of outlaw way of doing things. So I'd love to know how you see through your own business, what it means to be an entrepreneurial outlaw in the way that you run your business and the way that you've been doing things.
Lindley Ashline (11:53):
You know, I think that what comes immediately to mind is, is just being a photographer who deliberately focuses on bodies eggs as they exist right now, and focuses on on fat bodies because in the photography industry at least at the time that I started now, there are an increasing number, which is wonderful. Now there's an increasing number of body, positive photographers, and people who say I'm a fat photographer. But at, in the industry as a whole, it's pretty much unheard of. And like you had to really seek those people out and because photography is so aspirational. So, so if you go to, if you just Google for a photographer near you and pick a random one and go look at their portfolio, their portfolio is most likely full of of people who look like models because they are models. Many photographers fill their, their portfolio with these very aspirational models who are not their actual clients.
Lindley Ashline (13:03):
And, and then the client photos may or may not make their way into the actual portfolios because when you're working with clients, you know, your clients have all kinds of different bodies and not all of those are, you know, socially acceptable. And so so those photos may or may not get displayed to anybody by the client, but but these, everything is, is airbrushed and perfect. I'm using that word perfect to mean completely aligned with cultural beauty standards. Everything is, and, and if you, if you go to YouTube and you look at and you look up things like Photoshop, fat rolls or something like that, there will be hundreds of tutorials showing you how you, how to erase bodies. And so, so most photographers won't put anybody with a fat roll in their portfolio because they will literally just erase the bat role or, or a wrinkle or or a scar.
Lindley Ashline (14:00):
And just the act of saying no, that scar is part of your story. It stays that back role is part of your body. Who am I to, you know, to tell you that your body needs to change. That's, that's pretty outlaw right there. The centering centering fat bodies and centering the stories that we all hold in our skin. I've worked with two different people now who had big scars on their just right below their breasts and above their stuff, sort of right in the core. And one of those was from a weight loss surgery, and one of those was from a heart surgery. And one of those people both of those people came in assuming that I would want them to cover it up assuming that they needed to hide ashamed of that. And I said, well, you don't have to show it if you don't want to, I'm not going to force you.
Lindley Ashline (14:56):
But I, I would like to honor that scar. That is part of your story. That is part of your skin, you know, that, that has inherent value because it's part of you of who am I to tell you that you need to erase that or highlight or change it, you know, no, I'm not going to Photoshop it out. And, and of course not everybody is going to want to work with a photographer who isn't invested in, in making them look more socially acceptable than they actually are. But, but just that it's very rebellious. And it's, so it's, life-changing for the people who experience it to finally be told, no, you're, we're the have been photographed just the way you are. And so, so the whole, my whole business structure is very counter to the way that the way the rest of the industry works. And I'm pretty proud of that because it's, it's it's changing the world.
Melanie Knights (15:48):
Yeah. Yeah. It's very owl. It's a very, very Allo and it, I, as I was listening, you were explaining that it kind of, it occurred to me how interesting is that, you know, to come back to a topic we touched on earlier about authenticity and how this is, you know, pretty much overused in, in online business, especially, but even in, just generally in the online space. And yet this need for authenticity is parallel to this need to, you know, fix people's supposedly floors, fix the things that are part of their story. And it's, it's so interesting how this has occurred, where we've got this need for, we want to be authentic and we want to be vulnerable and at the same time, but, but not, not that authentic, not that vulnerable. And we're trying to mold, you know, this, this perfect this perfect balance of what, you know, we have to look aside away.
Melanie Knights (16:46):
We have to look presentably authentic. And it's, it's so interesting because it, it has been so weaponized. And I remember one of the first things I learned when I started my online business was like, you've got to be vulnerable. You've got to be authentic. You've got to show everything. It's got to be like a reality TV show. And as someone who had pretty much tried to hide my buddy and myself for a long time, I was like, wait, what? You want me to show everything? And I go, you know, I gradually got comfortable showing more and more interestingly in the last couple of years I have retreated and it's not, I don't think it's just because of my body, I think is just generally about that protection, about that understanding that I don't have to do those things just because someone has said, that's what we have to do. And their body is socially acceptable. I get to choose, I get to choose. And that's something you had said. So I just wanted to mention that because as you were talking, I was like so interesting where we're at with these kind of two things that, you know, society is telling us and online businesses telling us, and yet, you know, essentially stepping out of those boundaries and saying, no, I'm not doing that is, is so very outlaw.
Lindley Ashline (18:07):
Yeah, yeah. I'd seen, this is the, this is what I'm going to do in a way that works for me. And because we all only have so many resources time, money, physical health, mental health that we can spend on our businesses support networks connections on and on. Those are resources that we have. And and we only have so many of those. And if I'm spending my mental health resources putting myself out there in a way that I know is going to attract trolls and shamers and things that is mental energy that I'm not spending all my clients. So, and, and that's okay too. Like I get to make those decisions and I, I wake up every morning, then I get to decide. But, but you get to decide what's right for you. There's no there's no perfect. There's no perfect right answer. And so, you know, we're all doing the best we can and that's enough.
Melanie Knights (19:08):
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. This has been such a wonderful conversation. I feel like time has flown by. And as I said, so many things that I, you know, I'm S I'm so eager to continue watching you know, engaging with your content and, and seeing as COVID restrictions, hopefully you start to lift and things shift, you know, seeing what comes with new photography as well. So I'm really excited to continue seeing that. So probably wrap up today. Could you just let everybody know where they can find you online, how they can find your contents and if there is anything in particular that you would like to share with everybody feel free. This is your moment.
Lindley Ashline (20:00):
Yeah, of course. You can find all my work at body liberation, photos.com. I'm also, I'm very active on Instagram at body liberation with Lindley, L I N D L E Y. And and I do send out in my newsletter three free stock photos every month. You can get that at bit dot Lee, which is B I T dot L Y slash body liberation guide. Or you can go to my website at body liberation, photos.com and click more. And it's under the dropdown at the top. You can get there as well. But yeah, those are the, the primary places where I do share and talk about that. Talk about fat acceptance, body image, power business things like things like sleep apnea and how it affects affects our body image, all kinds of body image related things and and diverse stock photography as well. So please come join me.
Melanie Knights (20:57):
Yes. And in particular, I wanted to say, I absolutely love the the journal prompts that you share in town on social media. Those are always really powerful and thought provoking for me like, oh, I haven't thought about that through for my own body or, you know, through that lens. So it's really, really powerful. And I really appreciate that content. So make sure you go follow Lindley. We will link to everything in the show notes so that it's easily accessible. But thank you so much for taking the time to come and speak with me today. And I'm so excited for everyone to hear this conversation.
Lindley Ashline (21:33):
Thanks so much for having me.
Melanie Knights (21:35):