Embrace Your Weird | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

From the very beginning when I first picked up a camera Rachel was down to pose for me, no matter what the concept. I would throw her in pouf dresses and mohawks and even once, with the help of my entire family, I suspended her in a cobweb of ropes from a few trees. She's always trusted my vision and never hesitated to help make the pictures in my head a reality. 

I fondly call Rachel my beautiful alien, weird and unique and true to herself. But it wasn't always that way. I remember a completely different girl in high school. I remember someone timid, shy and trying to blend into the background. 

Luckily, being out of school can help change things and Rachel found her voice! But you don't need me to talk about it, here she is in her own words-

"When I was growing up, I was the awkward lanky kid, never to be caught dead in dresses and shorts. I was too skinny, too pale, too quiet. I only started wearing makeup when I was 17, because my twin sister begged me to try mascara. I struggled a lot with my body confidence because people told me I was too thin, or I should tan because I look like a ghost. After a few years of growing up, I feel like I'm the ghost with the most. I started changing my look with my vivid colors, and my own artistic expression. I found confidence in myself by looking at the differences not as weaknesses- but something that makes me stand out in crowds, and that makes me feel unique and beautiful." 

I'm going to try to take Rachel's words to heart, to look at my differences as strengths instead of weaknesses. It's kind of interesting to me because I've always been the different one and embraced that to the max but when it comes to my body I still find that I want to be the same as the Instagram stars with millions of likes. I want the big, toned booty and the tiny waist and the perky boobs and the clear, unblemished face. But I'm not that, I don't have that, I can work really hard and get close to it...but is it worth it? I don't know. I really like chips. 

The more bodies I photograph the more I really, truly realize how incredibly STUPID we all are with our insecurities about our differences. Every person that gets in front of my camera has hang ups about themselves and their outer appearance. And it's so mind-blowing to me to be on the outside looking in at you and only seeing your beauty and your strengths and your uniqueness. All I see is perfection and I wonder why you can't see it too. But then I go back into my little bubble and beat myself up about how I look and feel like I'm a fraud for telling everyone to love themselves when I am honestly not fully there yet. It's a mind-fuck I tell ya. 

I guess the moral of this story is embrace your weird. 

Here's my beautiful alien in all of her glory wearing Sweet Tooth Lingerie styled with a vintage beaded thingy I had lying around. This was photographed in my newly decorated Wisconsin 'studio' and the amazing hair and makeup is of course Elle HMUA.

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. 

Lingerie Lovers Unite! | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I used to think that I was a pervert because I loved lingerie so much. I didn't really think that liking lingerie was sinful in itself but having a straight-up love affair with corsets and panties and balconette bras seemed somehow...wrong. No one else I knew gave a shit about 'underthings' past the point of going to the Victoria's Secret at the mall a few times a year to buy underwear on sale with the word PINK plastered on the back. Obviously something was wrong with ME.

So I sort of kept my obsession a secret. I'd scour the Goodwill's  and the thrifts stores for vintage garter belts and itty bitty bustiers that I, a 14 year old, really had no use in buying. I remember being ashamed at the check out counter, trying desperately to hide my newest score, a green velvet bra, in the middle of a pile of sweaters and jeans, all the while praying that the lady ringing me up didn't give me 'that look.' 

I eventually got older (as you do) and grew some lingerie balls. I also discovered the wonderful, anonymous world of online shopping! Ebay, and later Etsy, took a lot of my money (and still does). 

My tastes have changed as well. I now lust after and splurge on designer lingerie as well as independent brands because the quality, construction, and design are just so much more well-executed than your average JCPenny bra/panty set. And talk about unique! But I'm not a snob either. I still scour the thrift stores for vintage girdle panties, bullet bras and 80's Victoria's Secret finds. 

One of my main labors of love is the Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet. It's where my passion has turned into something beneficial. I have SO MANY options for you to choose from to wear at your boudoir photo shoot with me in a wide variety of sizes and styles. I get stuff so frequently that I have a hard time posting it all up on there for people to look at! I have things that people could only dream of wearing, such as a Catherine D'lish gown (I have FOUR so far) or an Agent Provocateur corset. Or discontinued Made by Niki. These items are out of most people's price range, considered an unnecessary extravagance (you can love lingerie but think it's crazy to spend $700 on a robe and still want to wear one for a shoot!), but when you come to me you can truly experience luxury lingerie for a day. 

I recently discovered a private Facebook group dedicated to Lingerie Addicts and I feel like for the first time I found MY PEOPLE. 

And one of those people is Melissa (@theheiresslingerie on Instagram)!

Melissa currently lives in Nashville and we have similar lingerie tastes. We both love Bordelle and Agent Provocateur and the store Baby Likes to Pony so I thought it only natural that we team up for a photo shoot. She kept insisting that she isn't a model. I kept insisting that didn't matter. She brought her favorite pieces, I added a green Corsettery corset and my black lace D'lish gown and we made magic! We didn't have enough time to capture the Bordelle set she owns which haunts me to this day (both not having the images or owning that set!) but oh well, there's always next time and vigilant searches on Ebay!

Here's what she had to say about the experience-

"The shoot was even more fun than I thought it would be. I've obviously never modeled nor am I a model but having someone say things like, "Yes fierce goddess!" to me was just awesome. I'm a little different in that I wear lingerie that's slightly...aspirational. I have very specific tastes and they're usually a bit expensive so every piece I own is like a little piece of jewelry to me. Meeting Paige through lingerie and then getting to live my 'fancy rich lady model' fantasy, if only for a few hours, was so joyful."

It was a joy for me as well, smooshing three things I love together- lingerie, nature, and making a woman feel amazing!

 

To book your own shoot- CLICK THIS

Light and Dark | Nashville Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

We all contain multitudes, we are made up of light, dark, and 50 shades of gray. 

What a wonderous thing that is, this multifaceted life!

UNLESS...you want to book a boudoir shoot with me and have to decide between my dreamy, airy work AND my sultry, moody stuff. OMG how do you EVEN CHOOSE?!

Well, NEWSFLASH, you don't have to decide! Do them BOTH! 

The style and type of shoot you do, or the VIBE as I like to call it when I talk to you about your dream photo shoot, is completely up to you. It's whatever you dream about, whatever you love, it's make yourself into ART time! 

There are so many different, very personal reasons why women book boudoir experiences and your reason, your WHY, will most likely factor into your style and your vibe. 

For example-

If you have been feeling frumpy and dumpy and like you've just lost your damn mojo you might want to go for a more powerful, badass sex goddess vibe to help you harness and MANIFEST that shit back into your life. 

If you've always dreamed of having a gorgeous, magical fairy tale photo shoot with the wardrobe and the sunshine and all the 'fixins' you're probably (most definitely) going to want to go with a more ethereal vibe. 

If you just want to capture you as you are (but the best possible version, you know the one who has cute underwear on and just lounges effortlessly cool-girl style around the house) then you're going to want to go for a more lifestyle vibe for your shoot. 

These are just some options, but really the whole world is open to you as far as ideas go. You want to do a shoot in Vegas? Cool, I'm on a plane! You want to do a shoot in a shower, awesome I love it! You want to do a photo shoot wearing latex, riding a horse in the desert? That might be kinda hot but I'll bring a spray bottle! 

I'm all about making your boudoir dreams a reality. 

Sometimes you can't decide between two styles (this happens A LOT. Like basically every client.) and that's OKAY! It's totally fine if you want to be a princess but you also, in the same afternoon, want to get pictures of yourself grabbing your ass like it's nobody's business (because it's hot. It's really, really hot). 

All it takes is a few tweaks to make the transition. Change the wardrobe. Maybe change the location, maybe not. Change the lip color and mess up the hair a bit more. Change the posing. CHANGE THE ATTITUDE. (Change the playlist!) 

Easy Peasy!

Here's a shoot I recently did in Nashville where we started with more of a fairytale vibe, then switched to a gorgeous, powerful vibe second and rounded the whole shebang up with a few minutes rolling around in the water! 

You really can have the best of both worlds people! 

Good luck choosing which images to put up on the wall though! (Or don't choose and get a whole collage!)

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Lingerie Closet AND corsets by Corsettery

To book your own light and dark shoot- 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!

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!