Earlier this year I started shooting boudoir full of energy and excitement…then it stalled. Essentially what happened was the hotel I was photographing in found out and told me that 1. I wasn’t allowed to photograph there anymore and 2. I could no longer use all the photos I had already taken. I was very confused at the time because I photograph there all the time for weddings, but it was my fault for not checking first. I’m not going to lie, it hurt. I had spent so much time, energy and money to launch this project, only to have it taken away.
A New Idea
I cried a little and then my husband Caleb and I sat down and brainstormed. For many different reasons we kept coming back to the idea of photographing in people’s homes, mainly because no one could stop us and it would make the shoot much more affordable and accessible to people at a lower price point. But honestly, we were both worried because it seemed to remove all the lux and glamour from the shoot and after all, isn’t that what boudoir is all about?
So we started all over again, contacting women to do test shoots, taking photos, editing, re-doing the website. Honestly, it was hard because I was totally lacking the enthusiasm I had the first time around and the photos, though I loved them, weren’t as fancy as the ones I took in the hotel. Then something changed in me, it was like the grief I had been carrying about my original idea (yes it is ok to grieve over creative projects) started to dissolve as this new project grew. The boudoir I’d been exposed to was all about fantasy, which there is absolutely nothing wrong with! But there was nothing fantastic about what I was doing. It was real. When I went into people’s homes I was photographing not only their real body but their real space.
It’s All Good
Social media is an amazing tool for being inspired and connected, but it’s also amazing at making us feel crap about ourselves. It’s not just our bodies we compare to these other carefully curated women we see online, but their clothes, homes and jobs. As I started to photograph women in their homes it wasn’t about fantasy, it was about truth. The truth that these women’s bodies in all their diversity of age, shape and size are good. But along with that their lives are good, the home that they live in, the people they’re loved by…it’s all good.
I’m no longer disappointed about having to start all over. The photos I’ve taken these past few weeks may be lacking the glamour and fantasy of a fancy hotel, but somehow they seem right.