I’ve always been on a search for grace.
Grace in who I am, what I am doing, where I am, and especially in what I’m photographing.
Over the last few months of photographing dancers and connecting to the love I have for the beauty of form and movement; I am remembering where I first found this grace that I’m so fascinated with.
I first found grace on a Saturday night, in a warehouse, on the dance floor, in the heart of San Francisco when I was 16.
I don’t think I can count the amount of times I’ve spent dancing the night away. Literally dancing the night away. I mean walking outside with sunglasses because the sun is rising, it’s too damn bright and I have been dancing since 11pm
Oh my… did I love raves. I started going to raves in the 90’s in San Francisco. I was raving in the best time ever to be a raver. At least in SF! A costume, plenty of mitsubishis, and a good alibi… is all we needed to have the best night of our lives.
I’ve never forget the night of my first ecstasy induced rave adventure. We told our parents some lie (sorry mom) but we had too. We couldn’t tell them we were driving to SF, going ot an underground party, taking ecstasy and yes, totally going to have the best time eveeeeeer. Right!
Angie got away with everything, we never needed to say anything her her mom, so naturally we told our parents we were staying there. We got all dressed up, jumped in Lindsay’s sexy new 4Runner and headed off to the city.
It was a 45 min drive in and we took a pill on our way. It was my first big underground party in the city. I had no idea what to expect or what to be scared of. Go big or go home, and no fear was my motto at the time.
As we walked in the door, loud bass shook the walls, a laser light show beamed above me, and music starting pulsating through me. It was a gigantic warehouse, so many people dancing, crazy stupid loud bass, this was fucking nuts and I was elated.
Then like a monster wave slamming into the back of your head from out of nowhere, it hit me. I grabbed onto the wall to keep from falling down. Oh wow, what is this, what is this crazy feeling, holy shit balls… is this real? Am I in heaven, did heaven just hit me smack me in the face with a ton of bricks.
Music became something different for me that night. Music became god to me. I felt god inside of me, I felt me. My heart broke open and I became suspended between two worlds. Something inside me changed. Every cell in my body was vibrating and pulsing. My heart was exploding with joy, and I had a deeper understanding of who I was in this world.
When I am on a dance floor, feeling the music, I feel connected to my higher self. I feel like my soul is rising and grace glowing and expanding inside me. I can’t imagine not knowing that exists inside me!
Chase grace. Live Grace. Show grace. Repeat…
Only from the heart can you touch the sky -Rumi
I found dance after some very difficult years of being bullied, teased and tormented. I found dance at a time in my life when it seemed like there wasn’t much I was good at.Dance changed everything; it opened my heart and gave me the ability to express myself without words. It allowed me to work through emotions I didn’t know how to process.
Dance gave me freedom and the ability to feel my way through life – leading with my heart instead of my head. I was so excited to go to class. I couldn’t wait for school to be over. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I was going to be a dancer.I had found my purpose, my gift, and now nothing was going to stop me from manifesting my dreams. I was willing to give it everything and work as hard as I needed to. Something was alive inside of me and I was not going to let it die. I went to class every day and toiled for hours.
I was determined to get on the performance team. I was so close, maybe 6 months away when my mom sat me down and told me the news. “Marisa we are moving to Boise Idaho and we’re leaving in a few months”. Oh God was I devastated. I thought it was the end of the world. I finally had some amazing friends, a life I loved and something I was really good at. The little world I had built for myself was gone in a flash.
I was 13 and angry as hell. I looked all over Boise for a competitive dance class that would keep my dream alive, and I’ll never forget walking into the best one I could find only to realize within 15 short minutes that my dream was gone. How on earth could I become a professional dancer with these pathetic amateurs?
The disappointment was rough on me. There was nothing I wanted more than to dance my way to the top and here I was in fucking Boise Idaho of all places with no one to help me get there. So I did what any angry 13-year-old would do! I rebelled!! I started doing drugs, hanging out with kids my mom hated and ran around getting into trouble.
She took my dream away, so I made sure she knew how mad I was. My poor mom! I don’t know how she dealt with me back then. I was a total nightmare. But she is such an amazing, strong woman. Not only did she love me at my worst, she was always around to pick up the pieces!
I almost got kicked out of school for incessant skipping and I think my mom was at her wits end when it all shifted. The shutter fell on my passion for bodily movement and channelled itself into capturing the fluidity of life. Photography saved me!. It really did. It allowed me to move towards a purpose again. Express without words and this time in a way that gave me more control, more variety and more finesse!
I don’t know what I would have done without photography. It’s the eyes to my soul and I am thankful every day that I have discovered the joy of clicking that little button when I did. Dance taught me to feel with my heart. Photography taught me to find echoes of those feelings all around and present them for the world to see.
And both pursuits really drove home the lesson that without passion….there really is no other way to touch the sky.
Here is number 1 of my touch the sky series
I never truly believed in fate until your lips touched mine and convinced me otherwise – Michael Faudet
Anniversary gifts are tricky. The occasion is so laden with meaning and expectations that many people get cold feet when it comes to picking something that stands for commitment, love and dedication.
Traditionally speaking the first anniversary gift calls for the gift of “paper”.
At least in the US!
I know this is a guideline for family and friends. But it can also apply to SOs
And this is why I always suggest a couple of sizzling boudoir clicks as the sexy gift that will keep on giving.
Well…it’s paper right?
If you are on the fence about making intimate photography a part of your first anniversary celebration, I will give you two reasons that will make a lot of sense.
- People get so excited when they tie the knot or enter into a serious relationship. The year after the “I Do” is often known as the honeymoon phase. But what they forget is the fact that living together or being more “available” to each other can often strip the mystery and the anticipation from the union. It is over the first year that the disillusionments become the most pronounced. That people travel the road from infatuation to mature affection and are still stuck in the middle. A boudoir shoot and its clicks is the best possible way to bring excitement back into the setting. To tease and titillate and revisit the courtship.
- The gift of intimate photography is almost like a renewal of the vows. Not many women are fully comfortable with deliberate and seductive exposure for the purpose of documentation. Even if you sleep in the same bed and there are no secrets between you and your man, shooting some boudoir images for his eyes is a declaration of your trust in him and the longevity of the relationship. Believe me; he will appreciate your thoughtful gesture from the bottom of his heart.
Okay now that we have the validity of the gift out of the way, let’s look at some tips to personalize your first anniversary boudoir session for images that he will not forget in a hurry.
- Remind him that you are God’s gift. This one is very popular. It is the classic nudie with a red ribbon bow either at the throat or round the middle for that festive and celebratory appeal. If you aren’t comfortable baring it all, don a nice skimpy negligee. That works too.
- The inclusion of his essence. What’s your man’s dressing style? Is he more into vests? Does he do the oversized male robes? Filch a garment from his wardrobe and present yourself in this obviously, essentially male item of clothing. It is a tribute to his presence in your life and always melts the heart.
- Hint at what’s to come. How do you want to wrap up your anniversary night? Yes…most ladies have just that in mind. It is a lovely and exciting touch to tantalize your guy with the promise of a “grand finale” to top the experience, appropriately captured in sizzling photographs.
Long story short nothing can beat the impact boudoir shots bring to your first anniversary gift.
Come on – try it out.
You can thank me later.
How to hire a boudoir photographer you are comfortable with?
Wow, now that’s a question that very few clients ask – especially if they are lending themselves to this art form for the first time!
Most people focus on reflection and introspection. They try to find the right reasons to enter a studio and go through the transformation. For some it is a token of love and some take it to be the clarion call of boldness and empowerment.
Some just want to get treated like a diva because hey life takes pampering right?
But once they are secure in their minds about the “why”, the logistics crowd in. They realize that they have to strip down – both their clothes and their inhibitions for someone else. And the penny really drops fair and square that boudoir photography may be the trend of the season but the actual experience is anything but frivolous.
And we are not comfortable with that kind of intensity.
So here are some top tips from a shutterbug who has been in the game for well over one and a half decade to all the prospective intimate photography aficionados contemplating the plunge.
You, yes you, need to foster preferably a deep bond and essentially respect and liking for your lens woman. And everything hinges on who you hire.
Don’t Just Love the Art. Love the Artist Too.
Intimate art is live and dynamic and personal. You can buy a masterpiece from a gallery and think nothing about the personality and soul of the painter. It doesn’t really matter. You are being handed the manifestation of the creative process and if the end result pleases you – well you can enjoy it for as long as you want.
But in the instance of boudoir you are an intrinsic part of the creative undertaking. So the glamorous shots that you see adorning websites may not translate into reality where you are concerned if you don’t love the artist who is responsible.
In short, don’t fixate on a photographer without the face-to-face consultation. An adept professional you really like working with is a better option than a maestro who makes you uneasy. Start right and the rest will be in your favor too.
Eat the Frog.
This one is a classic productivity advice and it also applies to your boudoir photography consultation. When you are engaged in conversation with your photographer, lay your cards on the table right away. Give the meeting 15 minutes and push yourself to share your fantasies with the person. Do you want a BDSM angle in your session? Eat that frog and reveal the request. If you can’t, if you feel shy or hesitant…then you are just not vibing with the personality of your lens woman. Keep looking for alternatives.
Get on Social.
Collaborating with your photographer is the best way to know her as an individual and an artist. Take time to invite her to a Pinterest private board and build a vision for the session together. The small decisions around the décor, the clothing, the make-up and the ambience will show you loud and clear how the actual shoot will go down.
Can’t agree on anything in virtual? Chances are the shoot will also turn into a setting for covert power play. Run for the hills…you don’t want to mess your special day with the negativity.
I can lecture you till the cows come home on how to hire a boudoir photographer you are comfortable with. But at the end of the day your intuition plays an important role. When your gut says someone is right – go for it. Rationale will only get you so far.