Howard Zucker and I worked together as a team with support groups of gay men who were working on improving their self-esteem. Howard’s role was to do photo shoots of the men, individually, to help them see themselves in a more positive light. Howard has an ability to relax his clients and help them to find natural poses in various settings with differing attire. The clients often see a more realistic reflection of themselves than a mirror image in which they tend to project their negative self-talk. Sharing the photos with the group and using Cognitive Therapy in group work was advantageous in helping these men feel better about themselves.
Working with Howard can be a beneficial adjunct to psychotherapy with clients who have a poor self-image, body dysmorphic disorder or other body image issues.
Arlen Keith Leight, PhD, LLC
I am a clinical social worker in Fort Lauderdale. When Howard first approached me and described his theory of using photography to allow a person to open up and see themselves differently, I was immediately intrigued. At first l thought – what the camera shows us we look like is not necessarily what we believe or even what we see in a mirror. However, after personally taking part in a session, I came to believe that it offered much more.
First, one is allowed to look beyond the box we self-construct, what we call our identity. Second, Howard allows us to explore the hidden facets of ourselves. This is where the true rewards lie. One of my referrals to Howard believed it would be a “feel good” session. However, in the clinical setting, the experience opened doors to past hurts, unfulfilled needs and past rejection. This is only the beginning of what might be a professional journey for this client.
I urge any psychotherapists to consider Howard’s special talent. He knows how to talk to people and allow them to feel comfortable and encourage them to expand their sense of self. Even if you, the therapist, do not partake in a session, which I highly recommend, the process and results for your patients could be a remarkable professional learning experience for both you and your patient.
Ted Williams, LCSW
Howard has an incredible sensitivity towards making people feel comfortable and a heightened aesthetic that shows people at their best. As a therapist, I especially appreciate the power of the visual image in changing sense of self and increasing self-esteem. Howard interacts very well with therapists. The images become a catalyst for further discussion, exploration and change.
Deborah Welt. Ph.D.
Thank you so much for your time and dedication toward my students in Sport Psychology class. Your presentation gave a much better insight toward the psychology of distorted self-image and the therapeutic benefit of professional photography. Most are not aware of this new and upcoming field, and what positive benefits it has for many.
The students were thrilled and interested, as exhibited by their interaction and questions throughout your presentation. Your expertise, dedication, and commitment to this cause is commendable, and I wish you continued success with your efforts.
Rick Leitner, MS
Program Director, Sports Medicine and Fitness Technology
I was a participant in a ” self-esteem, body image support group” that was hosted by my therapist and photographer Howard Zucker. His personal slogan “See Yourself Thru My Eyes” is certainly appropriate. His work allows people to look beyond physical characteristics and limitations and reveals the beauty within. It was an amazing experience. I would highly recommend this photography session to anyone, as we all struggle with some type of body image issues as part of the gay community.
Having been in recovery from Anorexia and Bulimia for almost five years, I had reached a point in therapy where I felt I had hit a wall. I knew there was plenty more work to be done, yet I felt I had exhausted outpatient psychotherapy. My sessions consisted of long recaps of daily trials and tribulations and, while I remained symptom-free, I was still burdened by feelings of insecurity and self-hatred with regard to my body image.
Therapeutic Photography with Howard enabled me to move past the stagnancy. I had the opportunity to TRULY see myself through the eyes of others and, for the first time in my life, saw something beautiful in me. The photos have given me something new to work with in therapy. My distorted perception HAS shifted and I am grateful for the experience I had with Howard. Any inhibitions I had prior were quickly diminished by Howard’s professionalism and personality. It was EXACTLY what I needed!
After my assault in NYC, resulting in two major operations and months of physical pain, I was left scarred both physically and emotionally. Self-esteem hit an all-time low in the aftermath of physical abuse and surgery. Looking at the scars brought on waves of melancholy and depression.
A friend introduced me to Howard Zucker. After a few conversations revealing my self-prescribed shame, he suggested I do a photo shoot. The idea was to take photos where the scarring would be revealed, feeling it would be therapeutic for me to see what I looked like from an unbiased point of view. I was very hesitant but reluctantly went through with the photo session. Howard made me feel at ease during the shoot and I left in an upbeat mood, happy to have completed the experience.
When I went back to look at the results, astonishment would best describe my reaction. As each picture passed before my eyes, I felt my self-esteem rise. I saw the scars that days earlier seemed so grotesque, as having been exaggerated in my clouded perception. I look back on the process as a turning point in this ugly experience. My attitude about myself changed dramatically, no longer feeling downtrodden and lonely. The photo session was a great step towards recuperation of my body and soul.
I don’t talk about this very often, but I have struggled with, as many gay men do, self-image problems. I didn’t like the way I looked and hated my body. Over the last few years, I have been trying to improve that and really started working hard over the last 8 months or so. I feel really good about my accomplishments and have just overcome another hurdle – having my picture taken. I really hated having my picture taken, as I hated seeing myself. So I recently scheduled a photo shoot with Howard and it was really great. He made me feel very comfortable and we got some great shots. I was very surprised at how good the entire experience made me feel. I would highly recommend Howard.
I initially had a keen business perspective when it came to having photos done. I needed them for my professional website and I wanted them to look polished and professional. It was something I had to do and was dreading it. I am not comfortable in front of a camera. Howard noticed how tense I was right away and talked to me for over an hour before we started shooting, mostly to help me relax.
Howard had many techniques to get a natural picture. All I had to do was follow his direction. Normally I would spend that time being self-conscious. It definitely showed in the pictures. They were polished and professional like I wanted, but I was also coming across as easy going, confident and sexy. I definitely did not expect to see such great results. Howard captured something I did not know was there and I couldn’t believe that was me in those pictures.
By the end of the shoot I was actually enjoying it. With my newfound confidence, we took some personal pics for me at the end, wearing jeans without a shirt, which was a real milestone for me. Those photos came out really sexy. I am so glad Howard encouraged me to take them. I left on a high, feeling wonderful about myself!
When I went to Howard for photos, I found him creative and thoughtful and encouraging. And when I saw the finished product, I couldn’t have been more pleased! Howard is a genius with a camera.
I never thought of myself as “attractive” or “sexy” but Howard managed to capture something I didn’t even know I had. The pictures made me feel good about myself and caused my self-esteem to rise to new heights. I am planning another shoot soon. Howard has turned the self-conscious ugly duckling into a “STAR”!! Thank you Howard for a job done superbly well!
My therapist told me about a photographer who was doing photo shoots in an effort to help people feel more comfortable and confident regarding their appearance and self-esteem. I was very apprehensive, yet intrigued.
Knowing that I have always been my worst critic, I made an appointment although I felt totally overwhelmed with anxiety as I could only envision it as being a negative experience. I thought I would feel terribly self-conscious and see my appearance as flawed and unattractive. This was my first time being photographed.
Upon arriving for my appointment, Howard could sense my anxiety. He sat down with me and talked until I felt my guard come down and I was speaking very openly. Howard gave good instructions on how to accentuate my positive aspects and has great expertise in dealing with people.
At the end of the shoot we sat down and examined every picture. To my complete and utter disbelief I was amazed. I saw myself without the negative flaws that for so long had been engraved into my brain. The experience was overwhelming in a very positive way. I realized that the negative feelings I had carried with me for so long were invalid when I saw the proof in the photos. I actually saw a man that I felt was very sexy, hot, and attractive.
Howard helped me to achieve a very heightened level of self-worth and self-confidence. Since receiving my final pictures, I have shared them with numerous people and have had only tremendously positive responses.
Working with Howard was a life changing experience for me. Not only did he create amazing portraits that I needed for my business, but he also posed me for some social media photos that brought me to a whole new level. The photography session experience was professional and efficient, but in addition, Howard has a natural empathy and understands how to put one at ease and make it a positive experience.
The outcome of the session was not only some great photos, but an amazing boost in self-esteem and personal perspective. You simply cannot make a better investment in obtaining professional quality photos together with a life enhancing personal experience.