How many people clicked on this because I titled my post It's Not That Hard - Boudoir Photography? Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm gonna talk about something serious for a few minutes. As an artist, people fascinate me. There is no end to minute differences in faces and bodies, hair and eyes, hands and feet; the textures of our physical humanity. There is almost no part of the visual aspect of people that I do not find interesting and more importantly beautiful.
Consequently, it’s difficult not to notice how most adults I photograph are incredibly critical and mean to themselves. I wish they could see themselves as I do. It's such a shame when I show someone a stunning photograph and they see only their weight or hair or wrinkles, what they have too much of, or what they lack. I think about how I could change a picture with Photoshop, make a person younger or thinner or give them big breasts. Would it help to be totally altered? Can you only see yourself with love if you don't look like yourself? It seems that for most people seeing beauty in themselves is a tremendous struggle.
Knowing all this, I was still surprised when Skye, a gorgeous award-winning esthetician in the Highlands, turned out to be one of those self-critical people. When I was editing her session, I was nearly giddy and felt so lucky she’d chosen me as her photographer. Yet when I showed her the photos, she could notice only her “faults”. What faults? I thought and shook my head in dismay. A day later she emailed me. “The more I look at these the more I love them. I love love my body!” The clouds parted and there were rainbows.
Skye taught me two lessons: First is that even the most beautiful among us feel self-critical, there is no defining line on who gets to feel critical and who doesn’t. Being beautiful doesn’t make you immune to self-criticism.
The second lesson was that if Skye's perception of herself is so wrong, is it not possible that my perception of myself could also be wrong? Could not YOUR perception of your own appearance be wrong? You see only crows feet or thinning hair. Does anyone else even notice those things? What if you let go of some of the hate? What if you "love love" your parts instead?
What I admired so much about Skye was that she was able to step back from her self-disparagement and recognize her true self so quickly. It took her a moment, but she corrected her attitude and just saw beauty. Would that we could all accept our own beauty. Most of us can't appreciate our own beauty until time passes, and we can only admire our 20 year old selves from afar.
We shot these boudoir portraits not because Skye wants to show them off to anyone, she bought them as a gift to herself from herself. What a lovely thing to do, just for you. Love yourself. It shouldn't be that hard.