I remember years ago before I even had a photography business, seeing boudoir photos in an online forum and thinking, whoa. I was in a bubble of newborn images and photos of children, macro flowers, and dogs (who out there remembers ILP!?). I quickly dismissed boudoir photos. They were sooooo cheesy, I thought.
Then I became a mother. I came face to face with my own body image issues. I survived trauma, several times over. I began to see the power I had just because I was a woman. I started to explore what that meant. I tried to understand it.I began to take care of my body, eat better, laugh more, go for a run. I started talking kinder to myself. I got a studio. I looked at boudoir photos a little differently.
I didn't (and still don't) look at the cheesy photos, they are still very much out there. (Don't even get me started on dudeoir.) But I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do with "boudoir" photos. I didn't want them to be "boudoir" but how to get around that? And I quickly realized, calling them boudoir photos was the first problem. I didn't want to shoot "boudoir". I didn't want women coming into the studio with a bunch of lingerie and taking photos that scream SEX! in red flashing lights. I wanted to take photos of women (clothed, unclothed, whatever) so they could SEE how powerful they are too. So they can leave my studio walking taller, talking kinder to themselves, and stopping to smile in a mirror instead of pulling up the skin around their eyes longing for the days where it was tight.
So it was then Empowerment was built. I don't shoot "boudoir". I shoot Empowerment sessions.
What's the difference? Don't you still use a bed? Aren't your clients in lingerie?
Yes, I do sometimes use a bed. Yes, sometimes they are in lingerie. I don't have a thing against either of those things. Clients can be in parkas or naked for all I care, it's not about me. I approach these sessions first by asking why my clients are choosing to do it now. What was it that triggered you to contact me? What's going on in your life that you need this right now? Maybe it really is a gift for their spouse, but maybe there is more there, under the surface. And THAT'S what I want to know. The difference is the feeling, the mentality, and the approach.
When I connect with my clients on another level beyond taking a photo, when I listen, I show them it's ok. It's ok to feel vulnerable. It's ok to open up to me. I get it. I understand you. I hear you. I see you. And that's where a powerful image comes from.
You may or may not like my Empowerment photographs. And it's the only time I'll honestly say this, but I don't care if you like the image or not. When I create photos at an Empowerment shoot, they are for my client only. You might see one or two, you might see none. Clients go through a sort of transition during the shoot and that is very evident in the image. I know the vibe they had when they entered the studio and the difference from the vibe they had when they left. I feel that and see it. You might not. But they do. And that's what matters.
I also shoot them all on black and white film. It's rare that I'll even shoot one digital photo. Or one color photo. When you see yourself in a black and white photo, there are less distractions. You can focus on the real you. It's raw. And I think, it's empowering.