Little Boxes | Tulsa Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

Human beings are very judgmental towards one another. We make snap decisions about a person based on what they wear, how they look, where they work. We like things to be neat and tidy and to fit into categories so our brains work really hard to quickly sort out a person in a short amount of time. Into the little boxes they go, judged. And there is probably a psychological reason for this, like maybe keeping us alive and safe.

But what about when you judge the lady ahead of you at the Target check out or the person begging on the corner or your brother’s new girlfriend? I doubt any of those people are out to do you harm. I bet most of those people, if you gave them a few honest minutes of your time, would reveal things to you that would make you realize that maybe you’re more similar than different.

My experience with people, mainly through working so intimately with women, is that they don’t fit into tidy little boxes. Or that the boxes they should be placed in based on certain factors just don’t fit who they are. We are all complicated beings bopping around this planet just doing our fucking best, okay? So let’s give one another a break and cool it with the judging. Or at least be more mindful and try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes before making up your mind about someone.

I’m embarrassed to admit this but I made a snap decision about Kyra before I even met her. She was late for our shoot. I hate it when people are late, it’s my biggest pet peeve. So I was not the nicest I could have been right off the bat but I don’t think I was rude. (At least I HOPE I didn’t come off that way.) So already I’m thinking it’s going to be a waste of time and that the images are going to turn out bad because we are half-way through our hour allotment before we even get started and people need time to warm up to the camera. A lot of thoughts are just flying around in my head and they are all negative. WHY DO WE DO THIS? WHY DO WE LET ANGER CLOUD OUR JUDGEMENT SO SWIFTLY? There are a million legitimate reasons why she could have been late. Like the fact that she’s never been to the hotel I’m at, that parking is really confusing here and that traffic that day was backed up. But no, I judged. And I feel like an asshole because of it.

We basically skipped all the usual chit-chat get to know you stuff and went right into lingerie and shooting. And from the first image to the last I was just in the flow with her. She opened up to me in such an honest way with her movements and her soul that few can do right away. I think you have to be very in touch with your pain to be able to deliver like that so swiftly, at least that’s my experience.

These images are some of my favorites ever taken. But I can’t look at them without a little part of me regretting how quickly I judged her. She’s a beautiful soul, inside and out, and I am privileged to have gotten to capture her on camera at this moment in her life.

Luckily I get to know how she saw the experience because here are her words! —-

“Doing a boudoir shoot definitely scared me. Not because I had never done one before and not because I wasn’t comfortable in lingerie. To be completely honest there was a point in my life where my job revolved around being comfortable in lingerie and being exposed to any eyes to see. And back then I was full of confidence. But that feels like another lifetime and another person. So doing a boudoir shoot at this stage in my life scared me because I feared I wouldn’t be able to bring out that sexy confident woman I once was. I used to be a lot more fit and toned, my body was at its prime back then. I’ve let myself go over the years and grown to really hate what I see in the mirror. Doing this boudoir shoot with Paige was the best thing that could’ve happened to me this year. Paige made me feel beautiful again. Being in gorgeous lacy lingerie brought back a confidence I didn’t think was possible for me anymore. It inspired me to love the woman I see in the mirror and accept my flaws as beautiful. It helped give me the courage to walk outside with my head held high. And ultimately it gave me that voice back in my head that says “Kyra you are one badass bitch.” I am so grateful to have been able to work with Paige. I’ve never worked with a photographer that has such a creative vision and knows exactly how to portray it to you. She had all this brilliant ideas and worked with me to execute them and in the end they turned into flawless images. Thank you Paige for bringing out my inner sexual goddess again.”

Same story, two different sides. And I was on the wrong one. I tell you this (if you even read these) because I want you to know that I’m far from perfect. I judge too quickly still even though I work on combating that every day. And I hope that you can work on it too. Because the world needs more compassion and less Judg-y McJudgertins in it.

Okay here are the bomb-ass images (there are a lot more but I narrowed it down as best I could!)——-

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. 

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! 

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

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!

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

Vulnerability is the Birthplace of Connection | Grand Rapids Boudoir | Duende Boudoir

I want to talk about vulnerability for a minute. Specifically how dang important it is. 

Vulnerability is the gateway to a more fulfilling life.

Trust me, I know. I've been working on different pathways to better know myself and vulnerability is one of the most effective ways to suck the dang marrow out of life. So, I've been experimenting with this whole 'allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to alllll the feelings and experiences and joy and pain' thing for the past few months and my life REALLY is changing! 

I think Brené Brown phrased it best when she said, "Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn't feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive." 

In order to make meaningful connections you have to allow yourself to be seen. So I've started letting people see me in all my socially-awkward glory. I've stopped pretending to be happy when I'm not and I have stopped apologizing for things that don't need apologizing for. things like saying sorry for taking a little longer than usual to walk through a door that's being held open for you. (First of all don't hold a door open for me when I am so dang far away that I have to practically run to get there so you aren't standing there holding the door for me for all eternity because now I have to RUN and I HATE running. Rude.) 

What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful. Perceived 'flaws' and all. Anyone who isn't a walking zombie or a huge douche canoe is going to be immediately drawn to you if you're an emoter (see my previous post) or you show vulnerability. Why? BECAUSE BEING WHO YOU REALLY, TRULY, UN-APOLOGETICLLY ARE IS FUCKING BRAVE. And everyone recognizes that vulnerability and courage at a cellular level.  

So what even is vulnerability? 

It's the willingness to say 'I love you' first when you have no idea if the other person feels that same way as you do. 

It's taking the leap and doing that thing (like moving to a different country or quitting that job that is sucking the life out of you so you can try to make a living off of a passion that you have) even though everyone around you is saying that it's too risky. 

It's getting on the stage and singing in public for the first time.

It's telling your partner about a sexual thing you want to try.

It's SO many things but basically it's just being brave. Having courage. Opening up. 

I see the lack of vulnerability in boudoir SO DAMN MUCH and it looks like this-

"I'd love to do a shoot but I'm to old/fat/thin/not pretty enough/not good enough/don't have enough time/money/support to do it but someday maybe I'll do it."

SOMEDAY.....MAYBE...

All of these things are excuses that people use to ring around the rosey the REAL issue which is this-

Lack of self worth. 

You see, it's easy to say, "I'm gonna go into that boudoir shoot and rock it out when I'm perfect and toned" but the truth is that rarely happens. You'll either be paralyzed by fear and shame because your looks aren't the real issue OR always be chasing the impossible perfection because to stop and look at yourself in the mirror and say 'I'M GOOD ENOUGH' would mean you'd have to be vulnerable enough to sit with yourself and confront who you are right now. And then accept yourself and alllll that you are....and all that you perceive yourself not to be. That takes true vulnerability.

I promise this isn't a post trying to guilt into into booking a session. You'll book when your self worth barometer goes up a bit, or when you've saved up enough, whichever comes first. 

This is a post about being vulnerable so I'm going to digress some more about MY FAVORITE DAMN THING ABOUT MY JOB! 

My favorite thing is when I get you in front of me and I look into your eyes. Not with my camera, but with my own eyes looking into yours. And you know what happens? YOU CRACK OPEN. You spew your vulnerability everywhere and I capture it for all time.

It's so much more than great butt pictures y'all. It's connection and soul gazing and vulnerability and emotion AND YES it is also good butt pictures.

This is what I love about my job. I get to give you yourself.

The you that maybe you've always known was there but from a very young age were told in tiny little ways wasn't good enough so, piece by piece, you shoved your YOU-ness into a box that you hardly ever (or maybe never?) look at. 

The you that you're starting to get to know a bit better and are learning to love who she is, 'flaws' and all.

The you that maybe needs someone like me to come along and push you off the vulnerability cliff so you can feel what it's like finally to be just un-apologetically yourself, even if it's just for a photo shoot. 

Shooting with me is an exercise in the art of vulnerability. Not just because at some point you'll most likely be naked but because your emotions will be out on display and you'll have to tap into feelings that maybe you don't always show people. But I got you boo, that's what I'm good at. And if you don't believe me then just look at these dang pictures. 

This is Autumn. She started out a stranger and became a great friend. We connected, she was vulnerable, and you can feel her vulnerability in the images.  

 

Wardrobe- Duende Boudoir Closet

If you're ready to be vulnerable with me CLICK THIS