Hating Yourself is Tiresome | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

 

Alicia, the amazing woman behind Buxom Boudoir, and I recently got together to do something that we do for other people all the time but don't really do for ourselves...get neekid(ish) and have our own self-love experience! We each took turns posing and photographing out in nature one afternoon and I must say it was SO MUCH FUN! I can't wait to do it again! 

I asked Alicia to share a little bit about her experience with her body and how it's changed over the years so you can get a glimpse into the amazing person she is. It's easy for me to sit here and type about how important it is to love yourself along your journey but it's so much more powerful to hear other women talk about their struggles and how they are working to overcome them.

So without further ado here is what she had to say-

"My relationship with my body was strained for a very long time. When I hit puberty, I started gaining weight in my midsection, and a big belly and thighs just became a part of who I was. Even if I lost weight, the belly remained. I also have acne, body hair, cellulite, stretchmarks, and other “imperfections” that I hated for a long time. I was not kind to myself for many years, and all it took was a glance at my nude body in the mirror to start crying. I hated having my photos taken, I never believed people when they complimented me, and I never changed in front of other people because I was so insecure.

Then about two years ago, I started to actively change my mentality. I was exhausted from self-loathing. Hating yourself is tiresome, and I was over it. Around this time, I decided to start shooting boudoir under the impression that I would be helping other women feel better about themselves. What I didn’t realize is that it would have a positive effect on my self-image, as well. I started learning about body positivity, reading articles, wearing clothes that forced me outside my comfort and spending more time naked in my home. (It might sound silly, but sleeping nude and just being in solely my skin helped me have a better appreciation for my body.)

I’ve still got a long ways to go in regards to loving myself, but I’ve already changed a lot for the better. When people compliment me, I say “thank you.” I do not chastise them. I wear what I feel comfortable in, so if that’s short shorts and tops that reveal my shoulders when it’s ungodly hot out, so be it. I do not put any effort into hating my acne, stretchmarks or cellulite. I don’t love them, but I will not exhaust myself by hating them. I accept them. If I’m having a bad day and feeling garbage about my body, I give myself the day to feel that way. Then the next day, I practice a lot of self-love and remind myself that I am worthy of love and happiness no matter what I look like. I don’t weigh myself anymore. I take care of my body and mind as best I can on a daily basis rather than treating it like a project I’ll get to when I have the time.

If you had told me two years ago that I would wander in the woods half naked, I would have called you crazy. But I did it. I laid in a river wearing just a white robe, and it was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done. This body and I have come a long way, and we have a long way to go, but for once, I’m not afraid of the journey. I’m excited for it."

Here is what I captured that day of Alicia! 

And if you want to see MY session you can check out Alicia's blog HERE! 

A Part of Me | Omaha Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I think artists are always just trying to create things that will give their lives worth. Things that will be there long after they are gone. Things that live forever, or at least for as long as anyone cares to look at them. 

I create for all of those reasons.

I create because if I don't I literally feel like life is pointless. 

I also create because I have so many fucking feelings inside of me that need to get out. 

So in a way it's my therapy. 

If you know an artist and you think their work is awesome PLEASE TELL THEM. Like their photos, comment on their work, buy their things, tell your friends.

Being an artist can be so terrible sometimes. You put your soul into something, put it out there and...crickets. Suddenly a flood of feelings hits you like a wall. Does everyone hate it? Does it suck? I suck. I'm horrible. I should quit. No one cares. If no one sees my work or likes my work does it even exist? Do I even exist? What is the point of living? 

I can't be the only artist that goes through this.

I know rationally that my worth isn't determined by likes and comments. I KNOW this. I know that the social media algorithm is not in my favor and a whole slew of other things can effect how many people even see my images. But when you are an artist that has reclusive tendencies and putting your work 'out there' on the web is the equivalent of going to a party and no one says "hi" it fucking sucks because that's what happens at the real life party too. So it can seem like you're failing at everything. And that is a dangerous place to be in for sensitive souls. 

BUT. Sometimes we create something that is so in alignment with our feelings and emotions and psyches that it doesn't fucking matter what anyone else thinks. You want to share it with the world and you do not care if people 'like' it because YOU do and you just want everyone to see a part of you.

And that is this session here. 

I've been going through a lot of stuff lately. I'm not going to hide it or pretend I'm okay and that everything is hunky-dorey. There are way too many people out there acting like everything is fine when there is a fire going on inside of them and I really don't want to add to that list and help fan the flames of the stigma around mental health. So anyways... I had this session coming up and it was supposed to be nice and light boudoir-y but I just could not do that. I was feeling too dark. Some stuff had just happened that really (I hate to say this word but it's so true in this sense) triggered a lot of things I've stuffed way deep down for far too long, things that I thought I was over but clearly am not. 

So I talked to my model Lola a bit about it. And from the minute I met her I just knew she got it. She truly understood what I was feeling. 

And then we made art. 

Thank you for helping me express some of the pain I've been feeling. Thank you for being an emoter and an artist and a muse. Thank you for giving me something that I'm proud to have live forever long after I'm gone. 

All of the leather pieces are made by AudioHelkuik. I was so impressed with the quality and the amazing human who makes these pieces that I ordered one (the first of many!) for myself. 

To The Fullest Capacity | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talk about loving yourself and learning to love yourself A LOT. I practically shout, "YOU ARE A STUNNER!" to every woman who complains about their body anywhere within my earshot. But the truth is that it's not that easy to see your beauty when you pick yourself apart all the time. You don't just fucking wake up one day and feel at peace with the flesh cage that permits you to live this life. It takes WORK. And I talk about that a lot too. It's a real battleground for most women, and a lot of them are fighting on the wrong side. Wasting all of that precious energy attacking themselves instead of reveling in the miracle of being alive! This life is such a precious gift, something so trivial as your stretch marks should not control your thoughts. My goal is to help you flip that switch from hate to love, to show you just how amazing you really are, and to empower you to help others do the same. 

I recently had an amazing session with Chelsea whose self-image is something to aspire to. I asked her to write a little sumthin' sumthin' for me and when I received the following response I swear to you I started crying in public. And you know why? Because SO MANY WOMEN HATE THEMSELVES THAT FINDING ONE THAT DOESN'T FEELS LIKE YOU'RE IN THE MIDST OF A MAGICAL BEING. I encourage anyone who is not okay in their body to print this passage out and put it on their mirror. Let's all try to get our Chelsea on! 

Here's what she had to say-

My body is my vessel. No, not in a religious, spiritual, or metaphysical way, but in the truest most factual sense possible. There have been times when it has failed me, made me feel like a complete outsider, and hate every inch of my being. But I've also rejoiced within it, worshiped it like an altar and anointed every curve I have. Only within the past few years have I learned to balance forgiveness and self love. At 21 years old I've helped myself see how strong and beautiful my body truly is, and see that every possibility is mine to grab. I've been in awe of my muscles, gotten lost in the stretch marks that map my thighs, and fallen in love with my self. This is the only vessel that I'll have in this lifetime, it's the only thing I have to get me through this journey and to survive. Why would I spend so much time beating it up and forcing it to be things that it's not? I'm going to nourish it with the love and affection it deserves. I'm going to celebrate every day I get to spend wrapped up in its perfection. I am going to love myself to the fullest capacity.

Holy shit right? 

And to top it off, her images are just going to blow you away!

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Corsets- Corsettery

To book your own Self-Love Experience- CLICK HERE

Summer Goddess | Madison Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard to talk about summer Goddess sessions when the Midwest is about to be dumped on by 17 inches of snow. In April.

Luckily, I'm currently in Nashville where it's a nice 65 degrees!

I took these images last summer and am just now getting around to posting them because life is busy and I suffer horribly from dotoomuchitis. But here they finally are! 

Elan looks like a damn Goddess brought to life...because she is. And we all are. We just have to realize it and OWN it. 

It helps when you're wearing lingerie that looks like a million bills, your hair and makeup is on point, your poses are flawless and the nature is cooperating with you to bring everything together! We even caught some cool sun flares!

This whole set took us about ten minutes to shoot, you can get some really great stuff with me in a short amount of time if you just trust me, I promise!

I still have a few slots open for short outdoor shoots this summer in Hixton, WI. so contact me soon if you'd like to know more! 

Now have fun looking at these images and pretending that it's this warm where you are. You can almost feel the sun on your face when you look at the last image, right?! 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book your own Goddess Session- CLICK HERE

Blue-Haired Girl | Memphis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Sometimes I don't have much to say in my blog posts. The writing gods aren't blessing me right now and I don't feel like regurgitating the same 'love yourself' mantra to you again because honestly I'm struggling right now personally. 

Everything is sort of out of balance in a big way for me.

I'm working on getting things back on track, sorting through my priorities, and changing some things.

It gets old, this re-aligning. I feel like I have to do it a lot.

But maybe it's because I want the best life for myself, who knows. 

Either way I'm still taking on boudoir clients! And I'm pushing myself to try new things, to create in new locations, to just let the human in front of me BE more of who they are and then pose around that. 

This is Luna. A beautiful, currently blue-haired woman living in Memphis. We didn't really get to connect as much as I usually like but I can tell that she has stories within her. This was her first boudoir shoot and she really rocked it out!

All That Glitters Is Not Gold | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

It's hard being a woman.

Most of us are stuck in a state of MORE- a bigger, better, faster, stronger mentality that keeps us in a loop of perpetual unhappiness. 

The constant need to PROVE and BE THE BEST (what even is that?) gets to all of us at one point or another, no matter how zen you claim to be.

And the worst part? All of us are walking around unhappy wondering what the hell is wrong when the answer isn't that you need a new dress or a new body or a new house but that you need a new perspective. You need to look at your SELF, because you already have everything you need within you. You need to get off the damn hamster wheel and get into the self-reflection. 

If you love Netflix maybe watch documentaries that encourage you to think. If you feel like working out how about doing something you love instead of logging time at a gym you hate. And how about instead of scrolling on the phone for half an hour before bed you read a damn book. I know you've got a stack of them just waiting to be cracked open. These are small things that seem like they don't have anything to do with anything but in all reality are ways that you can disconnect from the 'machine' and reconnect with yourself and your goals and your BLISS.

I work with women's bodies a lot. Which really means that I deal with women and their issues about their bodies a lot. It's probably the most profound thing about us as women- that we all walk around hating our bodies. And no wonder, when everything we watch and hear is telling us that we need to be better, thinner, more like this and less like that. And then-CURVEBALL- all the rules change and what was the ideal body type 5 years ago is now not okay anymore. How the fuck do you ever win???? YOU STOP PLAYING THE GAME.

We tend to pick ourselves apart. We don't see ourselves as people, we see ourselves as thighs that are too big and boobs that are too saggy and stomachs that are too pudgy and teeth that are crooked. Not big enough, not small enough, not straight enough, not tall enough or light enough or smooth enough. Well enough of that. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE SO GODDAMN ENOUGH IT'S AMAZING HOW ENOUGH YOU ARE. 

The sessions I do with people are so much more than just glitter and gold. Yes they are glitz and glam but they are also raw and real. They change people. They hold up a mirror to YOU and all of your power. They help to teach you that the only person you need to look to for acceptance is yourself. And that all you need to do in order to accept yourself is this- say YES.

Own it. Own who you are, perceived flaws and all. Revel in the miracle of YOU. You are sensual and beautiful and brave and deserving. You are also strong and capable and can do anything you set your mind to. You can also be none of those things because YOU MAKE THE RULES. 

Everyone wants to blend in but by being yourself you stand out. You make a difference by owning your truth and accepting your unique you-ness. People look up to the people who are brave enough to be themselves. There is so much power in self-acceptance. It effects every aspect of your life. 

All that glitters is not gold. All that beauty you see in the world is surface, not substance. It's great to look at but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter. What matters is INSIDE. Once you accept yourself for who you are and just love yourself so much time is freed up for other stuff. Imagine how much mental space you'd have if you could get rid of all of that negative self-talk? I would get whole entire years of my life back! 

These photo shoots help you see you for who you are, they help you get your power back, and they help you move on. You hang your portraits up and look at them every day and remind yourself that you are a badass. And then you go out into the world and kick some ass. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book your own session- CLICK THIS!

Vulnerability Part 2 | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I talked A LOT about vulnerability in Part 1 of this set so I'm not going to harp on it too much more except to say that it's hella important, in life and during your photo shoot. So give it a read if you haven't already.

I'm here to connect with you, soul to soul, and capture a piece of it in images. I can't do that as effectively if you don't let your guard down.

Droping all of that over-thinking and just feeling the moment and connecting with me is the key to great images during your session. That's it! All you have to do is trust me. And relax. Because I've got ya!  

The proof is in the pictures!

Kimono Flow | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I LOVE styling boudoir sessions. LOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE it! I think I could honestly just quit taking photos forever (sad day) and still be able to carve a beautiful life out for myself with styling photo shoots/movies/whatever floats your boat. Lingerie and vintage clothing bring me THAT MUCH JOY.

There's something so incredibly satisfying about pulling different elements together to create a narrative. You become what you're wearing. Everything makes sense and just clicks in. That's important with boudoir because sometimes we need help bringing out what we have deep within us and the styling of your session can really help do that.

I bought this vintage embroidered silk kimono recently at an antique store somewhere in the US and, even though it needed some work and had staining, I just #hadtohaveittakemymoneynow! Kimonos are quite plentiful out in the world. There are tons of different styles and fabrics but the QUALITY of most are sub-par. They are usually of the souvenir variety and I pass up almost all that I see. 

But this baby... I put it on and it just flowed. It had life. And it had me in one spin. 

SO. I knew I had to put someone in this and capture it on camera. 

I found this bra and panty set that goes perfectly with the robe and we were aiming for a really dreamy, beautiful session so Elle did a romantic braided up-do for the hair. 

Pair all of that with a serendipitous wind and Carley doing her thang and you've got magic! I feel like you can almost feel the silk of the kimono in these images.

If you want to do a session with me but have no idea how to style yourself please let me help! It would honestly be my pleasure. And I have a whole wardrobe of things to choose from! 

Wardrobe and styling- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair & Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own shoot- CLICK THIS!

Pin Me Up | Madison Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have a great love for pin-up, old Hollywood glamour, and film noir styles, probably because I have been collecting vintage for literally over half of my life (It all started with a pair of snake skin kitten heels...).

Due to my reverence and respect for the past I am very wary about photographing the different genres (because those are 3 different genres, and even those three can be divided further into sub-categories) unless we hit all of the boxes-

Hair and makeup needs to be on point- check

Outfit needs to be on point- check

Posing needs to be on point- check

Location needs to be on point- half-check (we did the best we could with this shoot!) 

Once all of those details are squared away I'll agree to shoot the concept, because that's kind of what this style of photography is- a fully thought-out production. It's like a mini-movie!

I've seen a lot of bad work out there, and most of it comes down to lack of/poor planning. If you've got the outfit but you don't have the hair and makeup to match then the illusion is shattered and you're just a lady wearing some old style knickers. (There's nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't label it pin-up.) It's the difference between the utter perfection of Mad Men and... not Mad Men. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for breaking the pin-up rules but you have to know the rules first in order to break them. And a lot of people are just clueless when it comes to authenticity. 

Even this shoot could have been either improved upon or changed if you're looking to be cynical. The hotel is modern (which is actually kind of cool and ended up being a neat twist) and therefore not authentic. The outfit is freaking amazing (thank you Bettie Page Lingerie for existing and making new versions of classics in fun colors!) but would have, if worn in the fifties, had stockings attached to the garter belt. (I brought those along but much preferred the bare leg because DUH look at those gams amiright?!) And tattoos weren't mainstream back then so Ginny's beautiful body art would have been sorely absent. 

Nevertheless this shoot turned out wonderfully and I'm very proud. It was even featured in Delicious Dolls Magazine (although they kind of spelled my name wrong) which was a nice surprise since it was my first time submitting to a magazine. Ahhh validation! 

So if you've got a hankering for the vintage glam let me help you make your pin-up, old Hollywood, or film noir dreams come true! It'll take planning but it's really fun for me to create little worlds, in fact it's kind of how I started out when I first picked up a camera. Costume, set design, makeup, posing, the whole shebang! 

Even if you don't care for that style you can at least appreciate the utter perfection that is Ginny Rosewater here! And Elle Allen killed it on hair and makeup! 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own Pin Up shoot- Click THIS!

F*CK That Guy...| Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I'm a Do More Photographer. It's a group comprised of the best boudoir photographers in the world and I'm freaking proud to be one of them. We have a private group where we discuss 'boudoir' issues and help one another out and one concern that gets brought to the group way more frequently than it should is this-

A client wants to book a shoot but their husband/fiance/lover says NO and cites various excuses such as "I don't need to see you naked in photos when I can see you naked at home" (NOT the same) or  "You don't need to be spending money on something so frivolous" (OKAY I'm sure he's never spent any money on anything 'frivolous' in his life) or (my personal favorite to hate) "Only sluts get those types of photos taken." (I don't even know where to begin with this one.)

Sometimes a client does a boudoir shoot as a secret surprise for the husband and then the husband gets MAD because they spent money on this experience as a gift for THEM and the client is left feeling like shit and the photographer is left feeling like shit and there is just way too much shit floating in the air.

Yes ladies, this happens A LOT.

And it breaks my fucking heart. 

And you wanna know why?! (Here we go...)

You aren't doing this for HIM. THIS.IS.NOT.FOR.HIM. This is for you. This is a celebration of YOURself and YOUR body and all the goddess that you are. This is an experience that honors your life, your self-love and your uniqueness. He doesn't get a say in that, even if you are married.

Everything from the lingerie you choose to wear (or not) to the setting you want to shoot in to the dang color of your lipstick is about YOU and what makes you feel your best self. It's a time to be truly self-centered, and I'm here to help guide you through it and create images that'll document who you are. 

At the end of the experience you'll BUY something material, an album and some wall art or a collection of images but that's not all that you are getting, you are getting that self-love experience, maybe a new outlook on life, maybe a WHOLE NEW YOU. And some men find that sort of intangible thing hard to understand, so they get mad.

I cringe when I get an email from someone and the first thing they say is something along the lines of, "I'd love to do a boudoir shoot for my husband." 

WELL LADIES, I'D LOVE FOR YOU TO WANT TO DO A BOUDOIR SHOOT FOR YOUR OWN DAMN SELF. (Yes I yelled that, it was necessary.) 

You aren't wrong for wanting to give the gift of your sexiness to your man, there is nothing wrong with that. But it shouldn't be the main reason why you're booking with me, it should be reason 15 or 16. It should almost be an afterthought.

You should be booking with me because you want to wear a dressing gown so glamorous you thought only the people in Vogue wore those types of things.

You should be booking with me because you want to get naked in the woods and grab your titties and not feel guilty about being a sexual person. 

You should be booking with me because your friend who did a shoot with me told you it'll change your life. 

You should be booking with me because my products are the best (okay no one books BECAUSE of that but it makes a hellava difference when it comes time to order your goodies). 

You should be booking with me because you hate yourself. 

You should be booking with me because you love yourself. 

You should be booking with me because you feel like you know me even though we haven't met yet. 

I just listed 7 possible reasons that have nothing to do with a man. 

This sounds like a bunch of man-bashing but I promise it's not. I love men. I just think that sometimes they think this whole boudoir thing is about them. It's not about them. It has nothing to do with them. They are LUCKY if they get to reap the benefits of your session. They are PRIVILEGED to get pictures of your ass. 

So FUCK THAT GUY. Fuck that guy that says a woman can't do what she wants with her own body. Fuck that guy who makes a woman feel guilty for wanting this for themselves. Fuck that guy who says you're a slut for getting sexy pictures of yourself taken. 

(And much respect to the partners who support their women, who worship their women, who love their women. You deserve a picture of their ass.)

 

 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To FUCK THAT GUY and do this for yourself- Click this!

Mother Goddess | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Okay I'm going to be very honest here and tell you that I don't want kids. I don't even really like kids. I'm that person that awkwardly holds little babies when I'm forced to but only because saying HELL NO is apparently considered rude to most people. I know, you're probably thinking I'm a horrible human but WHATEVER KAREN not everyone has that maternal....thing. I mean I have it hardcore for my dog but people tell me that's not the same. 

BUT. BUT. I love photographing women and their babies together. Like a LOT. 

And you know why? Because their maternal THING is totally rocking and they look like glowing goddesses of love and light and earth and soul and they have this human that they are in charge of now and look at them being so connected! It's goddamn beautiful and I get to dress them up, make them look their best, and capture this moment for them for all eternity.

These photos really come in handy when you're staring at a puke-inducing diaper and wondering why the hell you got yourself into this whole 'kid' business. You can just look at that gigantic photo that's hanging on your wall and remember that sometimes you gotta wade through the shit to get to the good stuff. 

Kids are magical beings. They aren't jaded by life yet and everything is new and wondrous to them. We can learn a lot from kids. Or UNLEARN a lot. But at the same time they tend to sap a lot from their parents. I know this because I see (and hear) it all the time. When you have a child they will come first from now on. Period.

And that's okay. But that doesn't mean that you get forgotten. You are still a woman. Still sensual and beautiful and now filled with so much more than before. So don't neglect yourself. Don't forget who you are when you're caught up with who you're trying to be as a parent. Make sure that you are taking time to re-align with your soul and what brings you joy or you'll eventually bring everyone down. And for goodness sake  EXIST IN PHOTOS DAMMIT. You never know what day will be your last and now that you have a child you're going to have to have memories WITH YOU IN THEM for them to look back on. So go ahead and get those cute photos of your kid dressed up as a princess or wearing an uncomfortable (but very adorable) suit. Get them done every year, and make some of them embarrassing. But then make sure you go and get some professional photos taken of yourself every once in awhile. Who cares if you're overweight or haven't gotten your hair cut in forever. Your kids won't care. All they will see is their mom. Which means all they will see is LOVE.

Capturing moments and emotion is important. As a photographer that's what I'm here for. So when you're ready to take some time for yourself let me know!

Here's Katie and Edwin being stunning in the early morning sunlight! Their connection is tangible and it made me allllmmmmoooost for a second want that for myself. (And then I got a dog.) 

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own shoot- Click HERE

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 2 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Remember when I wrote about this awesome powerhouse of a woman? If not, hop on over HERE to catch up and check out the first set of images.

In that first post I also talked about how I'm doing things a bit differently now and I'm following my heart more. Which really is a fancy-ass way of saying I'm gonna just get a bit more RAW and SEXY and make imagery that give you ALLLL THE FEELS, HOKAY?!

So without further ado here is Part 2 of my session with Kit.

And YESSS PEOPLE THERE IS A PART 3!

So stay tuned for even MORE. 

Also p.s. aren't those balloons the BEST!? (And that ass gives me serious squat goals.) 

Wardrobe (and balloons)- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To Book a shoot with me- Click This! 

Skyclad | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I always feel the most electric type of alive when I'm communing with the earth. 

There's always such a deep sense of welcoming home when my body and soul are in their most natural state. All of my insecurities melt away and I'm so utterly consumed by the breeze on my neck and the grass slipping through the space in between my toes to even care that I'm twenty pounds overweight and my breasts aren't what they used to be and I'm starting to see wrinkles from always frowning with concentration. When I'm out there my face relaxes and my soul breathes deeply and all I feel is infinite love

We are universal beings and there is no shame in reveling in this fact. 

I love photographing people in nature because it's just so damn magical when a person's skin is being illuminated by the sun or the wind is caressing their face and they tip their head to accept it's embrace. I love how the sense of awkwardness that usually comes from being naked and getting your image preserved is just swept away and replaced with a sense of freedom and unity. It makes for some great imagery I tell ya! 

But enough of me gushing about Mother Nature and being clad in nothing but the sky. You can see for yourself! 

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

To book a photo shoot like this- Click HERE

Hay Isn't Just For Horses! | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Excuse the pun-filled title! You know I had to do it. 

I've been wanting to do a barn-themed shoot for quite awhile now. I'm from Wisconsin and half of the people I grew up with either lived on a farm or knew someone that did. 

There's something so beautiful to me about barns...the smell of the hay, the well-worn wood, the way the sun glints in through the cracks. I just love it, and I knew the perfect place to shoot at! 

 I wanted this look to be a little less typical than the cowboy hat and plaid shirt simply because this was a stylized shoot. I wanted to show that you can do a photo shoot in a barn if you're more of a country girl without losing the fashion aspect. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a cowboy hat and plaid shirt, but if I've got a chance to put someone in thigh-high boots...well I'm going to! 

I wish I had more time in this barn, I wish I wasn't so tired when we shot this concept, and I wish I had known that Samantha was scared of chickens! Still, in the 15 minutes we spent there I think we got some awesome stuff and I cannot WAIT for someone to book me for a photo shoot who wants to shoot in a barn or on a farm!

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

To Book your own barn-themed shoot- CLICK THIS! 

'Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum' | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

To me boudoir isn't really a gender thing, it's a human being thing. We are all just trying our hardest on this here planet to 'Nolite te bastardes carborundorum' and all that jazz and it's so easy to forget who we are when the whole world is telling you who you should be. 

I don't really care what your gender is or your sexual identity is or your ethnicity is. I don't care what you weigh or if you've got a face full of acne (still have that myself) or if you've had a double mastectomy. Those are just things about your body, and while they may seem important to you when you're crying on the kitchen floor about it after a bottle of wine at 1AM (wait, that's just me?!) they don't REAAALLLLYYY matter. And you know this. Deep down buried under all that crap you tell yourself every day, all those little ways you cut yourself down, DEEP DOWN YOU KNOW YOUR CELLULITE DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER. 

And it might seem counter-intuitive for someone like me, someone who technically profits from taking everyday people and 'glowing them up', to tell you that beauty doesn't matter. That the outer you doesn't matter. That the images of you don't matter. 

But here's the thing peeps: those images really do matter. But not in the way that you might think. I know this because people tell me that their photo shoot has changed them. It's made them see just how beautiful they really are and blah blah blah. What they are really saying through all the fluff that they don't know how to articulate other than "EEEEEE I love these photos" is that they now know SELF WORTH. They know their POWER. They have seen a piece of themselves captured and given back to them that they can look to when THE BASTARDS ARE JUST GRINDING THEM DOWN. 

That's why my images matter. And everyone deserves that. 

This is Jon. He's a stellar human. He's also very tall and I feel like a dang munchkin next to him, but that's beside the point. He bared his soul for me and now you get to see the results. He's powerful and sensual and vulnerable and god-damn beautiful! Just like you. 

I Can't Make You Love Yourself | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I don't know how to make you love yourself. 

I don't know how to undo years of people telling you how you should act, how you should look, and how you should be. 

The truth is that I don't think accepting yourself is something that you can just 'do.' It doesn't come easily and you have to work at it every. damn. day. 

It's really fucking hard when Instagram is filled with tanned, toned bodies that get thousands of likes and magazines still (STILL????) show mainly Caucasian models with contradictory articles- one self-love and celebration, the other detailing just exactly what to do to lose ten pounds in two weeks. (I don't even think that's healthy BTW.) And don't even get me started on what the fashion industry deems as 'plus-size.'

So yeah, I'm still working on that self-acceptance, and I think I always will be. 

In this business I see a lot of bodies. They are all different and lovely and beautiful and unique. I truly mean that.

But at the end of the day they are just bodies. And I capture more than that. I capture the way your soul shines through when you laugh, the seductive intimacy of your gaze, the look of raw sexuality when you're in the moment. 

That's why it hurts me so much when people say they want to book a session but they have to lose a bunch of weight first. YOU DO NOT! Your value is not made up of what size you are or how many stretch marks you do or do not have. You are SO MUCH MORE than just a body, you are a celestial being trapped in a flesh cage. You are heart and soul and loss and love and ecstasy in motion. And if you're worried about your ass that much I got you covered and it will look bomb-diggity in your images trust me. 

The greatest gift that I can give you is to show you what I see in you, what the world sees in you, and what you will hopefully see in yourself after your experience with me. 

I can't make you love yourself. But I can give you a glimpse into the beauty that everyone else sees. And maybe that will be enough for you to start accepting yourself.

 

This is Elan, she's a freaking goddess, a walking Renaissance painting living in the modern world. I had the honor of capturing her while Elle and I were in Madison, Wisconsin at HotelRed. All I have to say is DAAAAYYYYUUUUMMMM.

 

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup 

Lingerie- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet 

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I Will Fly On Scorched Wings | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Kayla and I are Soul Sisters, a bond that runs deeper than blood or distance or time. I think we both knew, from our very first meeting back in middle school that there was something special between us. A bond that is one step past friendship, a baser vibration that could not be ignored. 

And so we became inseparable for a beautiful period of time. Whenever I think back on it I am overwhelmed with memories- running barefoot in the prickly grass, belly dancing on the back porch under a full moon, sharing clothes and food and heart ache and secrets. And always, the smell of incense. It was truly the happiest time of my life.

Well shit happens and life happens and people drift apart because they are going through things that they think no one could possibly understand and so they push people away. And that's what we did to one another, in small ways, during what I would call the 'in-between years.' 

I think though, looking back, that it was the right thing, the necessary thing to do, because we were so linked to one another. If we were close when our own personal shit was hitting the fan we might have just helped one another drown. 

And that's not how you get better. You slay your demons on your own, in the middle of the night, every night bit by bit until you can breathe again and get out of bed again and give yourself food again and look in the mirror without hatred again and accept the love you DESERVE. 

Needless to say I love taking her photograph, but not just because she is beautiful. I feel like each time we shoot together I am getting closer to capturing for everyone what I see in her- strength, courage, determination, loyalty, love and perseverance. 

So here's to my lioness, my soul sister, and to everyone out there who's got a bond that cannot be measured in words.

Watch me. I will go by my own Sun. And if I am burned by it's fire, I will fly on scorched wings.  -Segovia Amil

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

Bodysuit- Duende Boudoir Closet 

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The Body Says What Words Cannot | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Half of my life has revolved around dance. I was one of those kids who started taking lessons but didn't quit when the fun stopped and the real training began. My parents probably spent a good chunk of their earnings on all of the classes and costumes and traveling it took to feed my passion, sacrificing so I could go to competitions or get new shoes. I thrived on the rules of ballet and the freedom of jazz and the precision, yet absolute abandon, of it all. Dance was my constant, my solace, my outlet, my teacher.

At some point during junior year in high school I fell into a depression and dance stopped being all of those things. I no longer had the energy to get out of bed, let alone move my body and the few times that I did I just spent analyzing and nitpicking and just utterly tearing myself apart for not nailing every step. My perfectionism, combined with the constant looking into the mirror, became my enemy. So I simply quit. I walked away. 

And DAMMIT I miss it. Mainly I miss the freedom. The absolute letting go. The body crying or laughing or loving or screaming through movement. The most amazing release it gives. It's therapy, if you let it be. So I think I'm going to bring it back into my life a little. Maybe take some time, some good music, and just MOVE when life gets just a little bit too overwhelming. 

Great boudoir images, to me, are all about connection and emotion and letting go. They make you feel something and at the same time they show you a glimpse of the soul of the person whose image is being captured. Dance is very similar.

So obviously I wanted to smash the two together. With smoke bombs. Because duh. 

And this is the result! It helps that Jess is crazy talented and that she trusted my vision and just went with it. My only regret is that we only spent about 6 minutes getting these shots (yeah, I know, she NAILED IT!) when I could have easily spent hours. 

I love capturing non-typical boudoir images like this dance-inspired session and I hope to book many more in the future! SO WHERE ARE MY DANCERS AT?!?!  

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet

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Darling Just Fucking Own It-Part 1 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

You know what I really want to photograph?

I want to photograph women being raw and sensual and sexual and free. I want to photograph the lions, the daring ones, the luminous beings that dig deep within themselves and find diamonds buried in their depths.

And you know what I want even more than that?

I want to help women find that part of themselves and bring it out and document it for them.

And you know what I want even MORE than that?

I want those women to put those images on their walls somewhere where they have to look at it every. damn. day and are reminded of who they are at their very core. And I want those women to go out into the world every day knowing and FUCKING OWNING who they are.

And I want those women to help other women get to that place of self love and acceptance and just general bad-assery as well. Because empowered women empower women and anything is possible if we just work together on raising one another up instead of ripping each other apart. 

I'm going to start shooting more from my soul, speaking from my heart, and living my truth authentically. I'm going to start PUSHING IT past just a pretty image and begin creating art that makes you FEEL SOMETHING, dammit!

I just want more- more in-the-moment, intense, powerful images from and for my clients.  I'm digging deeper, and I welcome you to come along for the ride. 

Kit is a perfect example of a woman who just OWNS IT. In addition to being a va-va-voom powerhouse, this lady is an extremely talented and driven hair and makeup artist. She makes plans, lists, goals and then just CRUSHES them. And if life gets in the way and she falls on her ass for a bit (which happens to all of us) guess what- she gets back up. A woman after my own heart, truly. I admire her soul and I'm grateful that she trusted my vision and was open to the experience of creating meaningful images with me. I think we captured some great stuff.

Stay tuned for part 2... it gets a little steamier!

 

Hair and makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

Wardrobe- The Duende Boudoir Closet

If you're ready to FUCKING OWN IT ALREADY hit me up!

Shine On | Wisconsin Outdoor Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

This girl right here is my oldest friend. We met on the first day of kindergarten and never looked back. Samantha and I have hunted ghosts together, belted out Spice Girls songs at the top of our lungs, and had lots of sleepover talks about cute boys. 

Well, life keeps on going and before I knew it this girl was a married woman (to her high school sweet heart!) and had a beautiful girl of her own. Time is funny that way. It just zips on by if you don't pause every once in awhile and take it all in. 

Although we've remained Facebook friends for as long as Facebook has been a thing, our physical distance from one another has made it hard to go out for coffee, stay connected or spend the day thrifting! 

That's why I'm so elated that we finally found the time to be together and that I had the opportunity to photograph her!

I'd like to think that I captured the sensual, free-spirited woman that Samantha has become while keeping true to the giggly, wondrous girl that I grew up with. 

To book your own outdoor boudoir shoot CLICK THIS!

Hair and makeup by Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe from the Duende Boudoir Closet