How Our Outlook On Nudity Changes Our Understanding Of Our Experience
I’ve been struggling lately with reconciling what society thinks I do and what I actually do. I am an intimate portrait photographer. But to most the translation falls somewhere between boudoir photographer, fine art photographer, and pornographer. I have come to the understanding that it really depends on your outlook on nudity and the human body.
For the longest time, I felt shame around my interest in photographing nudes. A constant conflict to celebrate the human form in its fullest beauty and a more conservative expectation that removing clothing is only to be done in private and isn’t to be shared with anyone else.
One statement I hear regularly from potential clients is that boudoir is for young women. For fit women. For women with naturally good genes. That is simply not true. One of the best parts of my job is seeing the look on your face when you do see that image that makes you change your mind. Where you realize that boudoir is exactly for you and you are gorgeous.
We all have those days when we just don't feel like things are going the way they are supposed to. Do you feel that way? I do, today at least. I feel like just throwing myself down on the ground and begging for guidance. Just some clue as to what I'm supposed to be doing.
I love what I do, and I know what I do is important. The impact I make on the amazing women who hire me is life changing. It's in times like this it's important for me to remember WHY I do what I do. I craft images of NOW so that in thirty years you can look back and remember the moments, the feeling, the smells, the memories of today.
It's every woman's worst nightmare. A lump. In an instant, your outlook on life changes. The numerous possibilities you had for tomorrow begin to narrow. Lights don't seem so bright, and colors don't seem so vibrant. A hole begins to grow at the pit of your stomach that nothing will fill. You find yourself facing a an endless battery of tests and doctors visits. If all goes well, the rest of your life spent worrying that it'll come back.
It's been painfully cold here in the Chicago area (it's currently -25) and it's had me hibernating at home with the family. I've been editing through sets and planning out shoots for once the weather does turn nice. But it definitely feels like I'm getting bogged down. Have you ever felt that way?
One of the most common concerns I hear when going into a boudoir session is not having anything "sexy" to wear. Those who have worked with me know that I proudly boast that I can do amazingly sexy boudoir in a parka.
Occasionally I get asked why am I a boudoir photographer...
It's not so surprising to find out I had a life before becoming a boudoir photographer. I had actually originally intended on being a rock star; did the whole move out to LA thing too! And then we decided to start a family. My wife and I moved back to Minnesota to be closer to our families and I picked up a job working for a battered women's shelter.
Judy Blume: Wifey
'Sandy sat up in bed and looked at the clock. Quarter to eight. Damn! Last night she'd told Norman she might sleep all day just to catch up. No kids for once, no demands, no responsibilities. But the noise. What was it, a truck, a bus? It sounded so close. And then the empty sound after the engine cut off. She'd never get back to sleep now. She slipped into her robe, the one the children had given her for Mother's Day. "Daddy picked it out," Jen had said. "Do you like it?"
"Oh yes, it's perfect," Sandy had answered, hating it. Imagine Norman choosing the same robe for her as she had sent to his mother and her own.
She traipsed across the room to he window, rubbing her eyes to keep them open, spitting her hair out of her face. She looked down into the wooded backyard. He was in front of the crab apple tree, hands on his hips, as if he was waiting for her, dressed in a white bed sheet and a stars and stripes helmet, standing next to a motorcycle. What was this? A kid, playing Halloween? A neighborhood ghost? No...'
How many of us are professionals and family people? While I'm a photographer, I'm also a father of two, a pretty damned good husband, and a music teacher. Last year was tough! I met a few gut checks that forced me to put my priorities in order. And now as I sit here this morning and watch my 2 year old play around the messy house (Christmas presents still strewn about my living room), I can't help but consider my current standing in the world of family.
There are so many goals I set for myself in 2018, some I achieved others passed by. And I ask myself as I look back in reflection, am I happy with where this year has taken me? Am I happy with who I am THIS year compared to last year? Maybe you’ve done the same. If you haven’t I urge you to do so.