Month: September, 2015
I am thrilled with the opportunity that has come my way. And I am writing to you – my ever supportive peeps to make you a part of the celebrations. I have at long last found a client who wants to get in front of my camera for the sole purpose of catharsis. And given the powerful emotions that will flow, I am ready to capture the bleeding heart, the gradual healing and the ultimate dazzling diva transformation with the wonderful theme of re-birth.
THE BOUDOIR WOMB:
When we come to consciousness in our mother’s womb just moments before being pushed into the glory of the world, we do not understand who we are. We do not remember the hurts, betrayals, pains and disillusionments of our past incarnations. We have nothing to go by, no reference point to orient ourselves and think, ‘Hmmm…I am Marisa. And I would like to ace intimate photography as the purpose of my life’. We are just a squirming lump of sentience – capable of learning but with no history to form ‘judgements’ on.
As we cuddle in our mother’s arms, still wet with the remnants of the life giving placenta, it is a wonderfully comfortable state of being. Wrapped in her love and her joy, we find the first stirrings of life inside. We feel the need to squall and reach out for the ever nourishing nipple. And from there on, our journey starts anew. We grow and we unfold in layers. Our personality is complex driven by the myriad motivations of love, care, desire and lust!
Finally we step into our own, calling the shots, staring the world in the eyes and screaming with passion to proclaim our birthright: the right to be free, the right to be ‘unjudged’ and the right to live life to the fullest!
An intimate shoot in the boudoir can replicate this experience for you. It is a suspension of reality and logic. It is a suspension of hurt and lies. It is just this vastness that is empty, looking to you for color, love and life force. You forget your identity; the identity foisted upon you by the ‘society’ and your body dances to an ancient rhythm – painting everything in your hues…the rainbow of your personality. And as each shot is clicked, you grow… first rediscovering ‘who’ you truly are beneath the veneer of who you should be, then accepting it, rejoicing in it and then finally claiming it like a badge of merit that no one else can take away from you. The boudoir is the chrysalis. It is an alembic!
TURN THE BOUDOIR JOURNEY INTO RE-BIRTH:
You can play with the concept all you like. Just make sure, it’s all ABOUT you!
- Start with a couple of silhouette shots. The ones that capture the play of light and dark near your curves to hint at something beautiful. Revel in the feeling of freedom. The joy of not knowing. The joy of innocence. And the anticipation of what is to come. Often nothingness is the precursor to creation.
- Move on to the flattering natural light and sheer textures. Know that the lens is your mother and it is cheering for you every step of the way.
- As the shoot progresses, you evolve into the wholesome gorgeous diva. She knows she is desired yet can’t help being a coquette. Her lushness is there. But all she won’t bare.
- The culmination can be nothing short of electric. The maturity comes in, the boldness glints from the eyes. And you willingly return to the nudeness of birth, but this time to live without inhibitions and stereotypes. The smoke and mirrors are gone. And there reposes a glamazon.
Do you dare mess with her?
I thought so…..
It’s Sunday night and I’m flying home from visiting my mom in Arizona and I get a text from my dear friend Natasha and she says, let’s take a girls trip to the desert, go to Integraton and do a sound bath for my birthday. Which is two days away. As usual, the first thing that comes to mind is, someone’s clothes have got to come off, if I’m going to the desert with all my beautiful friends. So, I ask “Who wants to get naked in the desert”? Then my friends confirm why I love them so much and write back, “I’m in momma”, “hell yes” and “duh”!!!
After a early morning drive to Joshua Tree, a spiritual experience and a big lunch with too many margaritas, it’s time. The sun is setting fast, we still don’t know where we are shooting, 4 girls are getting ready in front of one mirror and I’m wondering if this is really going to happen. We get a tip from a strange hotel clerk and we just decide to go with it. Little did we know it was a 15 minute hike into the dunes. We finally get to the spot the wind starts roaring and sand starts blowing. It’s everywhere, but these girls are troopers, so they did what troopers do, weathered the storm and stripped naked. I can’t believe we actually got this shot. Sand was in their mouth, hair and well, just about everywhere. It was hard for them to hear me and so I just winged it.
When I got home and downloaded all the photos I was pleasantly surprised, as I did not think I got it, then I laughed at myself as I always think that. It’s so silly, because I always get the shot….
This to me is timeless boudoir at it’s finest. It tells a story, it evokes emotion and it’s ageless. It’s a shot I’ll pull out in 50 years and It will stand the test of time.
Have a great weekend!!
Is where our beauty is more blinding than the sun. It’s where our hearts are bursting with love, love of ourselves, love of the the magic of nature, love of everything and everyone around us. In the real garden of Eden there is no judgment, there is no guilt, and there is no shame, but there is something that no one can take away from us. Something that gives us courage, strength, and the ability to follow our dreams. It is what makes us human, it’s what makes our soul unique.
It is, our free will!! Our free will chooses to be happy not sad, to be brave not scared, to love and not hate. We came into this world naked, and as a blank canvas. You were born to create, to love, and to dream. Your free will is here so you can be whoever you want to be. If today was not a good day, wake up tomorrow and say it will be!
As the last few days of summer blend into the first chills of autumn, I am preparing myself to take optimal advantage of the glorious panoply of colors that this season brings to the palette of nature. I simply adore the burgundy and the brown, the subtle gold and the fiery reds and to bring these hues to life, I do a lot of ‘nature walking’ to see them in their splendor at parks and sidewalks.
And that is where the inspiration for this post comes from!
IT ALL STARTED WITH ANDY:
Andrea walked into my consultation room bubbly and ecstatic. She was getting engaged and wanted to present her finance with a collection of tasteful yet sexy images which would convey in no uncertain terms her undying love for her man and her unswerving faith in their relationship. She was a young, petite bombshell and my mind started whirring with ideas of daring shots and electric, smoldering poses. I could definitely go all out with her and do epic work!!
So imagine my surprise when she suggested a look and feel for the intimate session that would definitely fall way short of doing justice to her glossy mane and her knock-out figure. I didn’t press much because it is not in my nature to drive clients over the edge. I rather prefer the gradual unfolding of grace and confidence and women mostly do step into their own under the hypnotic gaze of my camera.
Yet her apprehension kept gnawing at me. It wasn’t natural reticence. Thanks to my years of experience, I have learned to trust my gut feeling and my intuition.
The day of the shoot dawned beautiful and sunny. My studio was flooded with an abundance of natural light. It is flattering and gentle – the best kind of ‘effect’ possible. You would think that with a cracker of a ‘model’ and all the elements aligned in my favor; I would have a rip roaring time. Alas that is far from the truth. No matter what I suggested, Andy would retreat into her shell and shake her head, in almost abject misery. This continued for a while. At long last I called for champagne and sat her down. Was she forced into this shoot by someone? The answer was no. Was I doing something to upset her? She squeezed my hand and assured me I was perfect. Was something about the setting bothering her? She again denied affirmation. I was stumped. Just when I was about to give up, she blurted the truth out. She had been a model in high school and had worked extensively with quite a famous photographer. Recently when she approached him for her boudoir shoot, he came back with the reply that maybe she should reconsider the decision to ‘go nudie’ in front on the camera.
Oh! Imagine the arrant nonsense and the gall of this person. I could not believe someone could say that to such a beautiful women. I took her hand, and told the beauty and strength I saw in her. I reminder her that anyone who could say that to another human being was insecure and clearly disillusioned.
I gave her a hug and promised her that she would LOVE her images, and if she did not, I would bring her back in. As the session continued, she came out of her shell. She blossomed, just like a flower.
I made her shed her inhibitions. I shot her in myriad settings and after each click I showed her the raw images. I showed her how graceful the arch of her back was. I showed her the strength of her solid legs and how they could take her far in life. I will always remember the tears that fell down her face as she said over and over again, “I am still beautiful”.
AS I WALKED THAT NIGHT, I SAW THE TREES:
With a completely different perspective! They are lush emerald green during the monsoons, fresh and dainty during the springs, shorn of adornments during the winter and bold and blazing during the autumn. Despite going through such rapid and profound transformations, they always retain that erect posture and that aura of aloofness. They are grand and unbending. And that is what we should be like. After all we humans are just as much a part of nature as the flora that surrounds us. Then why do we feel that change is to be dreaded instead of celebrated? Why do we feel compelled to hold on to the bodies of our adolescence when mental maturity is so desired? Why can’t we love ourself and the way we look at every stage of our life?
THIS IS A REQUEST TO ALL THE LOVELY LADIES OUT THERE….
Walk into a boudoir shoot to pay homage to what you and your body have been through. Celebrate each supposed ‘flaw’ because it is a milestone on the path that took you from where you were to where you are! You can’t gauge your loveliness unless you leave the baggage of stereotypes and confirmation behind. See yourself as the world sees you. And make that confidence a part of you.
I can’t wait for you to shine.
When the untimely tunnel accident claimed Lady D’s life, I was too young to understand the sorrow of the world. But I do remember one headline that seared itself on my mind.
“Grace is Lost!”
It wasn’t until I took to wielding the camera and discovering the hidden beauty of the female form that those few words became crystal clear to me. Princess Diana was the embodiment of grace and elegance. She was the icon of spontaneous finesse, one that doesn’t need to be taught but comes from having a personality that is gracious, warm, loving and open. I have gone in search of this elusive quality and the results have been mixed. Sometimes my portraits and intimate shoots have reflected this quality that is eloquent even in silence. And often all the props and filters in the world have fallen short of true grace.
I think grace is rather like the famous ‘muse’ that writers talk of so often. It must choose you. It must allow itself to be captured from the aura and being of the subject for perusal by posterity. Grace in intimate shoots takes proceedings to the next level and like all invaluable assets is chimeric.
But First Let Me Vent Some Acid!
Whenever I hit the keyboard with a longer piece, it is because I have something important to say. Something that I believe is stereotypical and derogatory. And this time around it is an article. I won’t name any names because the intent of the author wasn’t sinister. The piece was not created to spark controversy. It was a humdrum listicle in a ‘How To’ format. And the topic happened to be ‘Grace’.
It was geared to dispense advice around how women can be graceful. I had a feeling of intense irritation right away. Okay, so women aren’t born graceful? They need to acquire grace. Is that it? Well then how do you explain the dramatic transformations I witness in my studio every single day? When the hesitation and gaucheness fall off leaving a nymph ready to sizzle and steam?
It got worse however. The suggestions started with the openly presumptuous statement, “If you are not ready to pose and pout in front of the mirror and pick out your flaws, you may have a hard time being graceful” (paraphrased obviously!)
So ladies with ‘flaws’ are not graceful. Well then I guess nobody is graceful and the attribute really died with Princess D.
The true essence of grace is not perfection in terms of style, deportment and posture. It comes from the beauty of the soul. It comes from being comfortable in your skin and your surroundings. As a photographer I have a very keen sense of observation. And often times I see more grace in the bent back of a homeless woman than I see in the artificial, mechanical movements of runway stunners. Maybe this is my perspective, but I somehow believe that my readers agree with me.
The tips I am sharing now aren’t going to ‘make’ you graceful. They are just add-ons to create the perfect setting to capture and enhance your innate grace. And trust me, you have it woman!
Black and White Shots: Nothing personal against color. But black and white, shadows and blurred filters somehow mute everything else around the subject and bring out the true grace that shines within.
Understated Accessories: Props make or break an intimate shoot. When grace has to take center stage, make sure that your accessories are classic items of style. A sheer silk stocking in black, a pair of Louboutins with the signature red soles or even gloves and a choker…they all somehow harken back to softer and easier times when grace was the crowning glory of women.
Art Inspired Silhouettes: I love extreme boudoir. It is empowering as hell. But when the question is capturing ‘grace’, I go with Art Inspired smooth flowing silhouettes. Less is more here because we are in search of something that is hard to pin-point. It is either there in a shot or it isn’t. Demurely crossed legs, the famous ‘shifting sheet’ or the shy body wrap all lend themselves fantastically well to the end result we are looking to achieve.
The next time you come across a woman who emanates so much grace that it affects everyone around, understand that you too have it within your soul. You need a nudge to let it flow or maybe the dispassionate eye of the camera to get acquainted with your own elegance.