Embrace What Makes You Different | Wisconsin Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I have known Samantha ever since that first day in kindergarten when we looked at one another and just decided to be friends. She always seemed so strong and confident to me so it was a shock to read her story. I never knew that she struggled back then, and that's just it- we ALL struggle with body image issues, some of us are just better at hiding it. The stories women are telling me are all so different...and yet so similar. I guess the moral of these is to be kind to one another, and to teach your children to be kind, because this world is hard enough without body shaming added to the mix. 

Samantha came in for a session this summer and wanted to shoot both inside and out. I think the images turned out wonderfully! 

Here are her words and a few of her images-

Growing up, I had what felt like a very healthy relationship with my body. I have always had a more “athletic” shape, and I loved what I could make it do, I loved seeing the limits I could push with it. My family always praised my good looks and athleticism, and I believed them.

As with many young women, my insecurities started along with the arrival of middle school, and it's hyper-critical nature. I started questioning my athletic legs, my muscular calves and thighs in particular, that I had earned from years of hard work ice skating and playing softball. Why did I have such large “manly” legs when many girls my age (and the models of the early 2000’s) had sticks that sprouted out of their back? Why couldn't I comfortably wear those short shorts without my thighs rubbing together in pain? Why couldn't the new trend of knee high boots zip up over my legs? I started to wonder if maybe my “manly” legs weren't so awesome after all. And so my self doubt sprouted it's first seed.

Middle school through it's trials and tribulations brought on another challenge in my life. I was diagnosed with psoriasis, a common autoimmune disorder that manifests as patches of dry, scaly skin on various parts of your body. Mine had reared its ugly head on my lovely calves that I had grown to be insecure about, with a couple patches on my arms. My classmates and friends would question the areas, pointing and turning up their noses, not wanting to come near me. It took me years to get over some of the hurtful things people said during that time.

After finding out there was no cure for my illness, I decided to embrace what made me different. I decided to flaunt the areas that had previously been points of negativity and disappointment; I was now showing off my powerful legs and booty instead of trying to hide them. I decided to accept myself, and that I feel like was the best thing I could've done from that young age. I had started dating a young man (who I married! Because you don't let the kind of people who lift you up leave your life!) Who encouraged me to leave my comfort zone and who supported me. Who PRAISED me for my “manly” legs, whose shape made him run wild. He told me I was beautiful, and I believed him. And after I heard it from those around me, I started telling it to myself, believing myself.

And though I still have trouble with myself now and again (hello pregnancy), I feel whole, I feel beautiful and empowered because of the support I have been shown from my partner, my friends, and my family.

 

Unpredictable Magic | Indianapolis Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Photo shoots in nature are my absolute favorite...but I've said that many times before.

I keep trying to think of why exactly I love them so much (besides the fact that I freaking LOVE nature) and I finally know why- 

Everything is up to chance. The scenery changes not only by the day- things blooming and fading- but also by the minute-one moment full sun glare and the next dappled shadows. 

I have to be in artist mode when I'm working outside- looking, searching, seeking for inspiration and then meshing that with the person in front of me to produce images that we can both be proud of. And it's such a thrill! Things never go as planned, and that's why it's so moving when we capture what we do. 

I hiked around the location of this photo shoot multiple times leading up to the day with my pup and had very specific ideas of what I wanted to do where. I should have known this would be pointless but nevertheless I wanted to be prepared. There was a gorgeous carpet of flowers I wanted to work with and the curvature of the nearby lake was going to make for some stunning fine art style imagery. I was very excited.

Well...nothing with nature is ever predictable! The flowers had all disappeared with the recent rain and the lake curve area was in full sun. After walking around for honestly 1.5 miles and me refusing to get mediocre images we stumbled upon a bunch of great locations! A gorgeous forest that let just the right amount of light in, a hidden fishing spot straight out of Huckleberry Finn, a grassy lane behind a porta potty of all things, and finally we went to a spot that I had hoped we could have time to get to- a gorgeous algae-covered pond complete with two geese! 

Everyone always wants to do the nature shoots but the truth is that no one thinks about the logistics.

If you want to get 'the shots' you have to be willing to brave the mosquitoes and the creepy crawlies, roll around in the mud, and lay still when you feel a spider making it's way up your arm (don't worry it's almost always a blade of grass!) Sometimes the shoots are freezing cold in the water and sometimes they are sweltering hot in the sun but you won't ever be forced to do anything you don't agree to. 

In the end, we create magic together and the images are even more cherished because of all of the things that had to fall into place to get them. 

Here is the unpredictable magic that Kiann and I created that day!

 

To book your own nature shoot- CLICK THIS! 

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

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!

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!