Why I shoot Boudoir Photography
How Wrestling Mental Illness Helped Me Find My "Why" for Shooting Boudoir
Let’s start with the most basic of questions…
What is Boudoir, Erotic and Intimate Photography?
To make it as simple as possible, whether you choose to keep things soft and pretty, or want to have more explicit commissioned artwork, the point of the work I do is about sensual self-exploration. It is allowing yourself to be seen while in a safe space.
I suppose it’s like a weird combination of things. It’s a safe sensual space, so it shares some attributes with a swingers or kink space. It’s a photo studio, as I am in fact taking photo (and possibly video), and the end artwork is photographic in nature. But the experience of the shoot also shares similarities with therapy (and sex therapy) work, as you’re choosing to work through fears and inhibitions to create the artwork.
A slice of my life : a tale of woe and empowerment
When I started my journey in photography, I was right in the middle of a waging war within myself. On one hand, I had be an exotic dancer and a cam girl, I’d had my own adult website… and vanilla was NOT a word in my vocabulary (in lifestyle or flavors). I was a sex goddess in my own mind, and, if I do say so in the minds of those I played with, (but that could be just a fun delusion). The other hand was filled with deep chronic shame. To try to describe it for those that don’t have that issue, (and I pray that you don’t). It’s basically feeling so irreparably flawed that you attempt to wish yourself into nonexistence. Every time I said “I’m sorry” I meant “I’m sorry for the inconvenience my existence has caused you”. Unfortunately, the side of shame was WINNING!
I knew deep down what I wanted to do… but just couldn’t shake the shame. My brain just would not cooperate with me. I danced around the idea of boudoir and erotica for the last 10 years trying to find any niche in photography that I could join happily. Families, newborns, weddings… landscape, travel… I ACTIVELY AVOIDED boudoir and the idea of it! I ended up coming around to contemporary glamour, which had some of the aspects I loved (A bit of glitz and glamour.. and specializing in working with women.) That’s where I studied for years, even as I tried all the rest.
But after the shipwreck and the sexual harassment from my father-in-law who was also our boss and roommate on a SAILBOAT more then 1000 miles from “home” (but that’s a different story), I started on my largest major downward spiral with my mental health. Even though I had started medicating, I was having panic attacks daily, I almost never left my room (and I was living on the most beautiful tropical island you could ask for)… My 40th birthday I decided I just couldn’t live like that anymore. And I started choosing to be curious about why I was how I was… and did all kinds of research into what I thought my mental health issues were. Following the rabbit hole, I found a diagnosis that fits to a tee and explains pretty much everything.
With that info in hand, suddenly my world started to make more sense. Knowing why I am how I am has freed me to explore the root of the issue (the chronic shame) instead of focusing my attention on side issues, (the anxiety and depression)…
Which brings me back around to my photography… the chronic shame that’s threatened to devour my very soul has had me running for most of my life… interspersed with brief moments of glorious rebellion. In my work, I’m working to cling to that rebellion. I am working on seeing the beauty in who I am, as I am…. and letting myself discover WHO that is, (instead of just who my shame will let me see).
I want to help you with learning to overcome shame as well… Let’s Get SHAMELESS!