Month: July, 2015
Just a quick little teaser from yesterday’s shoot with one of my favorites muses, the amazing Brooke Serine. I’ve been shooting her headshots for 5 years and this year she has already shot 3 movies and in the past three years she has shot over 30 commercials. She just signed with a new management company, and I have a feeling something big is about to happen! I see something new in her every time we shoot and today saw a wild horse, running free through the wind, fire in her eyes, and passion burning her up inside. She seems to have a new found confidence that I have not seen before and I can’t see anything slowing this beauty down.
It’s another beautiful day and I have a wonderful shoot scheduled. When suddenly a call comes through and a timid little voice tells me – ‘I can’t come. I can’t go through with it!’
It doesn’t happen often but yes, I do come across some unexpected cancellations. And 90% of the time I can tell if a prospective shoot will get derailed. Because I know how to read people! A decade behind the harshest critic and the truest friend – a camera has given me an uncanny power of perception.
The women who back out at the last moment suffer from anxiety and nervousness. But more than that they suffer from low self-esteem! And no matter how hard I try and scream myself hoarse shouting ‘Screw Society and its Narrow Minded Edicts’ they do not pay heed to my well-intentioned advice. They are cocooned in an envelope of despair and through these dark clouds, they can’t muster the courage to steal a beam of sunshine and live out their dreams in a boudoir photography session!
Stereotyping someone is the meanest thing possible. It is akin to taking away the actual multi-layered, complex personality of an individual and replacing it with one word or idea – usually derogatory. Yet we do it all the time. Society does it all the time. Fat, slut, slow, lazy, dim and dull! These adjectives we lob in someone’s way with such apparent ease are all stereotypes. Remember that funny line you read in grade school, ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’?
But when stereotypes are taken out of text books and used to carve up the dreams and self-confidence of a living breathing human, it hurts like hell. In one fell swoop it can shatter expectations and give birth to a deeply ingrained sense of inferiority. It can literally destroy lives and induce problems like depression, frigidity and impotency.
Women Who Think They Are Not Enough:
I never intended to write about a topic so sensitive but when I go into a consultation session with a young girl about to get engaged and see a hundred doubts in her eyes about her worthiness and attractiveness, I feel like screaming.
Why can’t people understand that on a planet populated by close to 7 billion people and a million species of living things, beauty truly lies in the eyes of the beholder? There can’t be mold, a set of rules to follow. Loveliness can’t be quantified. It is not a science. And propagating trash on the media based on some people’s notion of what is alluring and what isn’t is nothing but arrant nonsense.
I want to go public right now for all my future clients. For the women who wake up on the morning of their boudoir shoot and do not see Cindy Crawford in the mirror:
“It is okay. You are unique. You are perfect. That bulge near your tummy. It comes from sitting for long hours at the office desk so that your kids can have a wonderful life! That scar that runs across your leg…you got it saving your pet dog from a rushing truck. And those stretch marks you want to hide from my lenses, they prove that you are a real woman with real fears, joys, responsibilities and insecurities. Why would you want to hide your true self?
Intimate photography isn’t about re-touched photos. It is not about conforming to those stereotypes you hate. It is about breaking free of them and establishing your own definition of ‘beautiful’.
Through the eyes of the camera that doesn’t judge, doesn’t lie!”
Not a single day goes by that I don’t walk into my studio and feel an overwhelming amount of JOY! I have been so blessed, and so fortunate to have such an amazing space to shoot in! I have huge veranda windows facing North and West which gives me the most beautiful light possible. I never run out of ideas and different ways of using all this yummy, sexy light. Even at the end of the day, when the light is almost gone, something magical happens and all I need is just a kiss of light to get the perfect shot!
“Let us make pregnancy an occasion when we appreciate our female bodies!”
– Merete Leonhardt-Lupa
As a free spirited intimate photography evangelist, I have shot hundreds of women from all over the world. I have had the delight of working with uninhibited ladies who bare their body and soul as a mark of freedom and I have witnessed with pride the gradual transformation of shy housewives into sexy, scintillating goddesses. My work is incredibly rewarding and unbelievably empowering.
But a question shot at me a couple of days ago had me thinking! I was asked, ‘What boudoir experience do you cherish the most?’
My first reaction was indignation – each and every shoot is precious to me. I feel like a mother who brings new life into this world and in a sense that is exactly what my job is. To help women channel their true selves from underneath the weight of responsibilities, stereotypes and practicalities. They leave my studio rejuvenated, re-energized and emboldened – a new person.
And then it hit me. I do feel that there is no better purpose to my creativity than capturing the blooming, radiant beauty of women full with the love for their unborn children. I am talking about the trend that is all set to become a rage – boudoir with the bump!
WHY DOES MATERNITY BOUDOIR INTRIGUE ME?
I have immense respect for mothers. In my opinion they are a force of nature! Fiercely dedicated to their home and family but with the spunk and character to slip into stilettos and rule the corporate world with charm. However this is only part of the fascination. The rest comes from the fact that the camera adores a pregnant woman. She is a nymph who exudes raw sex appeal and vibrant beauty. She is the vessel who carries within herself the ability to create the miracle of life and that confidence simply oozes from her and hits me like a sledge-hammer. Shot after shot I am amazed by the fluidity of her body and the impact of her personality. It doesn’t really matter whether she is posing to freeze her 9 months of glory in time or overwhelm her significant other. She is vulnerable yet capable and the juxtaposition of these two contradictions is MAGICAL!!
WHY DO I RECOMMEND BOUDOIR WITH A BUMP?
If you are going through a difficult pregnancy, my account may not ring true. You don’t really feel like the picture of attractiveness right now! But stop looking at the puffy ankles and the under eye bags as flaws. Don’t hide behind baggy clothes and unflattering maternity gowns. Right now you are God and the Universe to your child and the significance of these moments can’t be described in words. The hormone changes that are racing to form a perfect little human being have gifted you with rare beauty, magnetism and enigma. The Mona Lisa wouldn’t have been what it is today had the subject not been a pregnant lady with her mysterious smile! You can beckon and thrill with one look. All you need is someone to show you the ropes and put you at ease. When you embrace intimate photography to celebrate the most triumphant achievement of your life, the result is electric.
So drop those doubts and live it up! There is no better time than now to appreciate your womanhood!
With love, respect and awe for all you mothers-to-be!
I am writing this post today to kill two birds with one shot!
I want to give the lovely ladies who diligently subscribe to my content and evangelize my work an idea of how ephemeral and capricious the term ‘beauty’ is. And I also want to provide some basic guidelines to readers on the verge of an eclectic boudoir shoot as to how different looks can be re-created for a ‘Through the Ages’ theme!
Sounds exciting? Let’s dive right in! BuzzFeed’s recent post about ‘Ideal Body Types’ had me thinking hard and this piece is the culmination of my musings! And yeah, if you don’t know what the heck I am rambling on about, this is the video that has caused quite a stir in the market.
THE ROARING TWENTIES:
Bobs and androgyny ruled. It was the age that gave birth to the concept of ‘Pe*** Envy’. Women had just secured the right to vote and they wanted to experience blessed freedom like never before. The sentiment was loud and clear: ‘Why Should Boys Have All the Fun?’
Beauty was a slim toned body and curves were not in fashion. If you wish to re-create the 20s scandalous glamour, get ready to go brazen! Bold flapper style dresses are a must. With plenty of gloss to accentuate that killer pout and kohl accentuated eyes. If you do not want to invest in a bob (and I do advise against it), you can pick up a really luxurious hair piece or even rent one to give your shots that authentic Coco Chanel look. And yes, girdles, girdles, girdles – don’t forget the girdles!
HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN ERA:
Ladies around the US woke up from the fast paced haze of the twenties to reclaim their femininity. From the 1930s to the 1950s Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Harlow reigned supreme. They were the epitome of ‘chic and class’ and their influence spread far and wide.
Women started cherishing curves again but took care to ensure lithe arms since cleavage display halter tops were big in the fashion circuit and they attracted so much attention to the shoulders.
If you are looking to channel your favorite star of yore make sure you pay special attention to the hair. Soft brushed ringlets and even the peek-a-boo bang are great options. Remember this era stood for an aura of mystery. So props like elbow length gloves and eye masks are not off limits. Go over the top dear! You will enjoy it.
THE POST-FLOWER POWER 70s:
I love this look. It personally intrigues me to no end! The 70s saw the dominance of the flower power movement but the spaced out fashion was tempered with some structure in the form of billowing sleeves, micro minis, the bare washboard mid-riff and colorful floral prints with the first hint of paisley.
Frames slender and tall became the accepted definition of marvelous. With Farah Fawcett style ‘big hair’.
If a boudoir session with some of the 70s glitter and chutzpah is your desire, you are in luck. We are seeing a resurgence of some of the path-breaking trends of the era. Go kinky Afro or traipse in chunky gold jewelry that leaves very little of the imagination.
All is fair!!
THE SUPER MODEL ERA:
The late 80s and the early 90s ushered in the obsession with being fit. The super model era defined minimalism and elegance for whole generations to come. Buxom with a tiny waist, towering height and near perfect hips, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell wove the dream of cover girl glory and runway excitement for millions of girls all over the world.
These decades lend themselves extremely well to intimate photography sessions. Hoop earrings and charm bracelets paired with permed hair and distressed jeans can elevate your chic quotient sky-high. Just make sure that the sultry, smoldering, haughty look is down pat. That is your most important accessory.
I really hope that my tips have fired your imagination. And reinforced the notion that ‘Beauty Lies in the Eyes of the Beholder’. It is evident that the so-called experts and pundits can’t hold on to a single definition of perfection for even 10 years. And you really do not need to pay heed to their proclamations. Invent your own beauty ladies. And allow a boudoir session to capture it for posterity.