New book ‘Journey to the Woman I’ve Come to Love’ features famous women musing on self-acceptance

What do you think of the place of African-American women in photojournalism?

I still don’t see a lot of sisters doing photojournalism. I haven’t worked with an African-American female photographer in years. I may just be an L.A. thing that I don’t see them. It’s hard for anyone to break into that role though, because of the way the business has changed. What I have purposefully done in my career is I’ve learned how to do everything, and that’s how I’m surviving. I can shoot video, I can cut video, I can shoot stills, I can write, I can edit, I can do all the web tools. That’s what I tell kids who are coming out of college. You have to be able to do everything.

If you could photograph anybody as your dream subject, who would it be?

I have always been kind of curious to sit down with Whoopi Goldberg. One of the reasons is because I get mistaken for her every day of my life. I think we have sort of the same temperament and sense of humor. No one has ever really sat down with her at length from this side of the fence. She’s never appeared on the cover of Ebony or Essence or any of those magazines. At some point, you’ve got to give that sister her props. So, I would actually like to have a little sit-down with her.

There are so many books that seek to inspire black women and women in general. What makes Journey to the Woman I’ve Come to Love unique?

I think because no one has ever really asked this question, and because it includes so many different types of women from all walks of life, from all over the world. That’s something I’ve not seen. Just the combination of the photography and the words really makes for a special reading experience.

Do you think men can learn interesting lessons about women from reading your book?

Oh, definitely! And they have. I’ve had all kinds of men come up to me. One man bought six books. I think it gives them a keen understanding into how women of a certain age think.

What’s next for you?

We’re going to do a volume two of this, and I’m going to take it to Europe in February. Volume two, I’ll probably start sometime in the spring. Then I’ve been asked to do another book that I can’t really talk about too much. I’ll just say it has to do with women that have cancer. It again will be a photo book.

What do you hope readers take away from Journey to the Woman I’ve Come to Love?

I hope that they come away from it inspired and empowered. I hope that they can look at some of these women who are more like them, the women who aren’t celebrated, to see what they had to do to reach inside themselves, and find whatever it’s going to take to fully love themselves.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.