Boudoir Photography and the Doubts of a Boudoir Photographer
As a man, I have a deep respect for women. I believe they have to be treated with respect and given the same possibilities men have; however, I am aware that men and women are different. They hold different strength and weaknesses, and because the world we live in seems to reward physical power, women have to be defended.
In the past months, with the rise of the feminist chorus to defend women, I have started questioning myself and what I do. In this post, I will dissect my thoughts to make you appreciate my ideals. This is going to be a dive in the mind of a Photographer that makes of Boudoir Photography his main branch. I am a man photographing women and I challenge you to challenge my views.
Boudoir Photography and Nudity: my honest take
The genre of Boudoir Photography focuses its attention on the woman’s body. I think that part of what I do is in the bigger picture that is into the discussion, but before starting any deeper thoughts, I would like to set a few ground rules. I believe that almost everything in the world has a positive and a negative side. To me Boudoir Photography is about the real beauty of a woman. I see nudity as a natural state of the body, something to cherish and revere more than cover and blame.
The objectification of the woman’s body
I believe that objectifying the woman’s body is wrong. Any comparison between a human being and an object is wrong. I also questioned myself about Boudoir Photography. Is it promoting an objectification, or am I, by any chance, trying to represent women for less than they are? I cannot generalise for Boudoir Photography, but for the way we perceive this type of photography I think we are well away from this.
Objectifying and sexualising are different from photographing a body from the best angle to emphasise its qualities. Our Boudoir Photography for us is exactly this; making every woman comfortable with her image and with her unique beauty.
The damnation of the Perfect Body
The more I look around, the more I see that women are bombarded with marketers’ idea of perfection. Faces that have lost the idea of time; bodies that look like statues and that hide the reality behind women’s appearance. I see a constant pressure on women to be an ideal version of themselves. To me this is the damnation of the Perfect Body, something I don’t want in our Boudoir Photography. I see the body as a woman in terms of natural beauty and health. I have photographed women from size 4 to size way over the 20, girls that made me think they were anorexic and others that were unhealthy on the other spectrum of the problem.
Do you want to know what I have realised in these years of working with women? No woman realises her beauty and aspire to be someone she is not. I have realised that each and every one of them compares to the messages we are constantly bombarded with.
Size 0 or size 20?
In a nutshell, it doesn’t matter. A good friend of ours is a natural size 6. She struggles with her weight because she cannot gain any. But in the same way we know women who are size 14 and they are equally healthy. Now –and we have already said it in the past– we believe that the truth is that women should be healthy!
One of the people we photographed for a Boudoir Photography session is Laura Wells. Laura is an Australian model. She has one of the most healthy relations with her body I have ever seen, and from many perspective she is a role model. She could teach self confidence and self respect to almost any other woman we have met. You should certainly read one of her recent blog post about the fashion industry standard and the realities perception.
Why do we have size zero models?
Let’s get to the point without beating around the bush: photographing a skinny model is simple, and any dress would look good on her. Is it simple and straightforward enough to you? Now there is another sad fact to this; if you promote a garment with a larger size model, you will sell less. Who is responsible for this? We can certainly blame the media, but that’s just part of the truth. The body image problem, the “size zero” models issue, is alive because all these things have become part of our society.
Would I agree on the ban of size 0? Hello No! They represent part of the society and population. Would I be in favour of diversity in the media? I think this is a possible solution. If we start allowing a model which, like Laura, don’t think that the “tight gap” is a must, then models will probably feel free to be their size and would not revert to anorexia to be considered. Let’s change the rule of the game, let’s require publications and media to give equal opportunity to size and sex.
Photoshop in Boudoir Photography, as in photography in general, is not the root of all evil. It is the tool that allows many women to look as they would like to be in real life. At London Boudoir Photography, we have decided that we would have used photoshop to remove the skin blemishes, to correct minimal things like we use salt and pepper to enhance the food natural taste. We are open and honest about this, and when we are asked what our approach with post processing is, we make sure that our customers understand that they will see the best version of themselves through our images, not a digitally enhanced version.
Boudoir Photography: Good, Bad or Neutral?
How does Boudoir Photography fit is this? Do we feel part of media that misrepresent women? The short answer is no, we do not feel this. We focus our efforts on showing the natural beauty of every woman, every size or shape she is. We believe Boudoir Photography is a way for women to discover their true self, without comparison with skinny models. Boudoir Photography is not just for young girls, it is for everybody, any age and size.
What do you think? Do you believe that Boudoir Photography promotes a right message? Or is Boudoir Photography part of the media industry that put more and more pressure on women?
We would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment and share this post.
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