“As a survivor of sexual trauma, it can be hard to even look at oneself in the mirror- especially without clothes. Having been objectified and reduced to a body for most of my life, I thought I could find my empowerment through living exclusively in my own head- and thusly rejecting my physical body entirely. Recently, I finally came to the conclusion that embracing this body (in conjunction with a strong spirit and strong mind) would give me the unshakable empowerment that I’ve been desiring all along. Emily was the perfect person to facilitate the capturing of this self-acceptance on camera. She made me feel extremely comfortable and confident- and out shoot was just SO playful! I truly cannot remember the last time I felt a sense of playfulness regarding my physical body- its only ever been anxiousness. A million thank you’s to Emily for helping me to feel safe in my sensuality- I will cherish these pictures forever.”
– Danah Denise, singer/ songwriter
Reading Danah’s heartfelt review became a defining moment in my journey as a boudoir photographer. Her words brought to light the impact that my work can have – highlighting the safe energy that I try to create for every woman I photograph.
Although Danah let me in to bits of her past during our prep for her session, it was her review that made me fully appreciate the depth of her experience. Her review allowed me in to her feelings of her session. An incredible gift of an insights as I’m always seeking to grow and learn within this space of boudoir.
This blog post is an intimate glimpse into my perspective. It’s my memory of our visions, shared creativity, and the mark this experience has left on me…
The allure of the eye wing is something I simply can’t resist. It strikes a chord within me. As Danah and I began to conceptualize her boudoir session, the eye wing took center stage, becoming a character in our own visual play. We were intent on capturing her signature look, a beautiful fusion of her art form and my medium – photography.
Danah, being an extraordinarily gifted singer, songwriter, and musician, has a natural affinity for rhythm and melody. However, we were cautious about introducing the theme of music into her session. The mere suggestion gave her pause. The trope of incorporating instruments can often feel clichéd and overplayed. So, we decided to subtly honor her musical roots – her father’s vintage guitar and a worn-in vintage coat she often dons for her performances.
Her color palette: black. Pure, unadulterated black.
A commbination of black hair, black lingerie, black eyeliner – a serenade to my emo soul. To inject a hint of contrast, I suggested an exquisite silk green Reformation dress from my client wardrobe. Its rich hue wrapped her petite frame in stunning elegance. Apart from these few styling elements, we left the rest to the natural ebb and flow of the session. A playlist, featuring both of our favorite tunes, set the tone for our adventure. We entered the space with an openness and a mutual trust in the magic that was about to unfold.
A palpable, rhythmic breath was what I aimed to capture in this shoot. Inspired by Danah’s stunning hair and her ability to express herself through motion, I found myself pushing the boundaries of my own creativity. I pushed my camera to a place of intentional blur, transforming the static into dynamic.
Danah and I fell into a rhythm with an almost uncanny ease. During my sessions, I delight in the art of play. I allow myself the freedom to venture beyond the familiar, to experiment with novel poses and scenarios. I thrive on reshaping my modest space to weave new scenes. No two sessions bear resemblance, as I steer clear of a “one-size-fits-all” approach. No pre-set lists of poses, instead favoring an organic flow that shifts with every woman in front of my lens.
With Danah, the dance was beautifully symbiotic. She was open to my spontaneous bursts of inspiration, fearlessly following my guidance and cues. We created in tandem; she embraced the movements, allowing her body to articulate her intuition. In the absence of fear and judgment, she presented herself, unabashed and authentic. This courageous act of vulnerability empowered me to guide her through a journey of self-discovery, both inwardly and outwardly.
The outcome of Danah’s session was a gallery of images that felt so uniquely her, and me. Weeks after our time together wrapped, I received a notification of her review. Reading Danah’s review was a moment that transcended beyond mere words on a screen. Each sentence resonated within me, offering a glimpse into the depths of her transformation. She had moved from a space of self-doubt and trauma to a place of acceptance and playfulness. The fact that I played a role in that journey left me deeply moved. A humbling reminder of why I chose this path of boudoir photography – to provide a safe space for women to reclaim their sensuality.
Danah’s experience served as a mirror, reflecting back the potential that each session holds. It wasn’t just about the eye wing or the black lingerie; it was how these elements reflected her truth. Her review made me grasp the significance of these moments. The confidence she discovered, the playfulness she experienced – all a reinforcement to the value of the work I do.
The impact of Danah’s session rippled beyond the beautiful images we created together. Her words painted a picture of her journey – from anxiety to a newfound comfort in her sensuality. They served as a testament to the power of boudoir photography. The purpose is not just to produce stunning portraits, but to transform perspectives and empower individuals. This ripple effect continues to resonate within me, inspiring me to approach each session with intention and love.
In retrospect, Danah’s session was a dance – a dance of transformation, acceptance, and playfulness. A view into the light and shadow within each of us. It was an experience that reminded me of the significant role I play in others deeply personal journeys. My final thoughts rest on gratitude. For Danah’s trust, her courage to share her story, and for the beautiful space we shared. We have remained close; a friendship I cherish and consider rooted in truth.
To anyone who might be contemplating a boudoir session, know that it’s more than just a photoshoot. It’s a transformative journey. A celebration of your unique beauty, and a way to see yourself through a new, empowering lens.
Want more? Check out our blog on shattering your excuses here!
July 2, 2023
I left a career to be immersed in this world of photographing women. I love connecting and talking about this stuff. Even if you're unsure, reach out. I may not be the right person for you, or I may be exactly what you need...
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