Mother Morpho | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I’ve had the Mother Morpho concept floating around in my head for awhile now. To say it came to me in a dream sounds corny, but it’s 100% true, at least the name for the shoot did. And this shoot almost happened with someone else a year prior but it was pouring rain and we were downtown St.Paul and it just was not meant to be. So I put it on the back burner and waited. And waited. But then, when I thought I was going to have to shelve the concept for good I found out my favorite model Ashley was preggo! AND I was going to be in the Wisconsin area with Elle and everything aligned. We shot in my favorite spot which is just for realz MAGIC and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

I used one of my STUNNING Catherine D’Lish gowns as the base and paired it with Free People lingerie, a necklace as a crown, a long ethereal wig, and some butterflies. (All come from the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet so this could literally be YOU if you want it to be!)

Elle did her magic with the hair and makeup and kept it equal parts weird and dreamy in a way only she knows how to do and Ashley basically just ate a panini, hopped on the 4-wheeler, and then struck a pose (she’s THAT good).

As is my new custom I like to ask all of the people who get in front of my camera to talk about their bodies. the relationship they have with it, and anything they want to share. It’s kind of like an emotional baggage spewing catharsis for the writer and I think, well I KNOW because you all tell me, that it helps the people who read it.

I asked Ashley to stick with the theme of pregnancy because generally she is such a body positive force of a woman and I thought it would be interesting to hear her take on growing a dang human inside of her!

Here’s what she had to say-

“Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience but that doesn’t mean it has to change who we are as a person. 

 

I’ve noticed that as a society we tend to view pregnant women in a different light. Suddenly, because we are carrying a child, literally the product of our sexuality, we can no longer be seen as sexual beings. There is a great divide between the conception of pre-pregnancy women and mothers-to-be but in reality, are we not the same person we were prior to pregnancy?

 

Even with all the changes my body has and continues to go through during my pregnancy it’s been important to me to stay as true to myself as possible. Shooting boudoir has always been empowering to me and continuing through my pregnancy has helped to remind me that even though my body looks nothing like it did 7 months ago, I am still beautiful, I’m still sexy, and I am still me. 

 

Like every woman, I have moments when  I break down, when I feel I feel like my body is failing me, nothing fits, my skin is stretched to the max, I’m exhausted, and I look in the mirror and wonder who I’m looking at. I let myself feel feel the feels but quickly remind myself that my body is doing something amazing! I’m literally creating and nurturing a new life. My body deserves my respect! 

 

I hope to always inspire body positivity and through my continued boudoir work I hope to show society that moms-to-be are still sexy.”

Hellz yeah to THAT!

Feel All The Feels- Part 2 | NYC Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

If you haven't read Part 1 of Feel All The Feels then you're missing out (on both the message AND the images) so do yourself a favor and getonitdammit!

In the first blog post I talked extensively about how being in touch with and honoring your feelings can help you lead a better life. 

And let me tell you I've been doing a lot of that in the New Year. And it's fucking hard.

It's been an interesting few months. Things that were once very important to me have, for the time being at least, ceased to really matter. 

For all intents and purposes I'm running for cover. I'm introverting hardcore and I do not even care because I'm trying to figure things out and people and places and things (all of those damn NOUNS!) just distract me from what I'm learning about myself right now. 

And I'm learning that emotions kinda suck. I mean they are great and all when they are great and all but when you're letting yourself feel things that you usually just SHOVE RIGHT DOWN it can be kind of intense.

Especially when you're discovering that maybe all of the 'things,' the 'stuff' you surround yourself with and all of the times you ate at nice restaurants but didn't really appreciate it because everything is magic until it becomes routine could have afforded you the luxury of traveling the world multiple times over by now. When you discover that maybe you give too much and get too little from the people around you because you want them to like you and you don't want to be alone in the world. When you feel like you're wasting your life sitting around all day waiting for it to come to you instead of fucking going to IT. Etcetera, etcetera. 

So yeah, I'm feeling lots of emotions OKAY. 

But that is part of the growth process, the way to bliss. Or so the wise ones say. So I'm going to sit with it and feel all the feels (even if it means that every.single.time I meditate I start crying what is even up with that). 

I'm learning a lot of stuff about myself by allowing myself to feel, even if it is REALLY hard. And some of it is even good! It's almost like I'm reuniting with ME. Which is comforting and weird but whatever. All of this is hippie-dippy talk anyways and if you're catching the vibe I'm throwing out you'll understand and if not...well maybe you should get WOKE already.

But ANYWHO here is Part 2 of Feel All The Feels with Catherine at the Andaz 5th Avenue in NYC. My goal is to get everyone who comes in front of my camera to emote with me like she did. Cause DUH. Also this is probably my best work. I've peaked. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet 

Hair and Makeup- She did her own. Which you are allowed to do if you know how!

To Feel all YOUR feels in front of my camera- Click THIS

Darling Just Fucking Own It- Part 3 | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Here it is people!

Part 3 of Darling Just Fucking Own It!

If you haven't yet I suggest you go back and look at Part 1 and Part 2 so you can better acquaint yourself with Kit and the message behind these posts. 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Wardrobe Closet

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

To book your own self-empowerment session- Click this! 

Roccoco in the woods | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

When I first picked up a camera 4 years ago it was to take all of the ideas that were hogging space in my head and bring them into the world. I grew up on the (small) stage and both my grandmother and mother were part-time seamstresses so my head has been filled with pouf dresses and ballerinas and faeries and glitter for as long as I can remember. As I grew older I also became positively addicted to vintage and antique clothing, a love affair that will last me until my dying breath. 

I carry all of these things inside me, all of these loves and knowledge of different time periods and fantastical elements just waiting with me until they can be released into the world. I'd like to think that I do a pretty good job of making my dreams a reality with Duende Imagery. 

But at some point I became a little bored. I wanted a bit of a challenge. And I wanted to show that there might be a different type of boudoir that you can do if you're seeking something a bit more unique. So I decided to smoosh the whimsical world that I play in at Duende Imagery together with Duende Boudoir. 

Et Voila!

That's what I've kind of been doing. Half the time I'm in the hotel room getting people to bare their souls for me and the other half I'm cavorting around outside making dreams come true with lingerie and wardrobe styling and the whole she-bang! Both are extremely fulfilling, and to me that plays a key role in how good the images are. 

This particular set is a more romanticized, loosely based take on Marie Antoinette. The corset style is different than she would have worn and the hair and makeup is more beautiful than authentic but I think that everything works well together as a modern interpretation. 

Just think about all the things we could do with a boudoir twist! Sultry mermaids and dark goddesses and glam princesses galore! If this is something you'd like to do just let me know and we can work together to make it happen! You could even do half of the session creative and the other half more of a boudoir version! 

Hair and Makeup Artist- Elle Allen Hair & Makeup

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet

To book your own unique photo shoot- 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 

If you're ready for this experience- Click here!

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 

To book you own session- Click this!

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

To book a dance session of your own- Click Here! 

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

Sundays Should Be Spent in Bed! | Minneapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I rarely get a Sunday off, it's just the way it is right now. I'm not complaining because sometimes you just have to do the things you need to do now in order to get to the place that you want to be in the future. For the people who work the daily grind the weekend is something of a countdown, a finish line, a punctuation to end the week. I fully believe that you shouldn't save all of your enjoyment for two dinky days and have varying degrees of malaise during all of the other 5. There's kind of something wrong with that, don't you agree? Instead, aim to have little moments of serenity mixed in during the week. Sprinkle some serenity and joy around like confetti into your weekday life, however you see fit! Get off your phone for ten minutes and go out into nature. And if you don't have time to get 'to nature' get yourself a cute little succulent set up and stare at that adorable thing for ten minutes. I promise it'll help lower your stress level, and you might just have enough mental brain space free up to solve a problem that's been keeping you up at night. 

But back to the Sundays in bed idea. I'm all for it. I can't wait to be able to sip some coffee, snuggle with my love (and probably like 25 dogs) and just generally relax. So if that is your life right now you better be savoring it and reveling in your fluffy pillows and your sloppy dog kisses or kitty nudges or kiddo snores. And what better way to do it than in some fancy AF lingerie?! Because you're a dang queen and life is too short to wear the holey underwear amiright? 

Here's some images of what I think a stylized Sunday in bed should look like! 

 

Photographer- Yours Truly! (Duende Boudoir)

Hair and Makeup- Elle Allen Hair and Makeup

If you want to spend a glamorous Sunday shooting in bed with me just let me know!