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Dealing with trauma via boudoir photography

A few months ago, we flew back to our home country, France, to do one of our Boudoir Bash in Paris. We met a lot of wonderful Frenchies there, including the exquisite Nora. The first time we talked with her on Skype, she opened up right away about her motivations to do a shoot and her story moved us.

 
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Having someone telling you about her past is quite emotional and this is why we love being boudoir photographers. It gives us the opportunity to work and help people to win back their confidence and even better, their self-love.

We are no therapists but we know that in some cases, photography can help heal consequences of a traumatic event such as abuse, assault, harassment and other traumas who have left you confused about who you can see yourself.

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My name is Nora, this is my story…

“Let's start talking about my fear… I know, pretty unusual for people who know me!

My biggest fear is actually one of my family member, so it makes it really complicated to move forward, to liberate myself from this situation. Even though I haven't seen this person in years, I know that, deep inside, we might see each other again.

Yes, I grew up but I still have that fear to see his face, the way he looked at me, or even worse, to awake those bitter memories of his physical and psychological hits.

All of those years by his side can be summed up with tears and this feeling of helplessness against a man way stronger than me. To me, it sounds like a trivial story, so I tell myself “there is probably worse stories than mine.”

I grew up surrounded with machismo & the “alpha male” spirit. One day I had no other choice but to escape this life. I gathered up my strength and I left. I needed to get away as far as I could from this person, this source of fear. It was love that helped me to take this first step and put a temporary "band-aid” on what was haunting me.

Inevitably, the consequences of this sitution with this member of my family remove completement all of my self-esteem.

Being constantly put down during the first decade of your life makes you forgetting about who you are very quickly. However, time goes by and we try to rebuild ourselves after all, even if we have to put our loved ones aside.

I do not have this person in my life anymore. I have been with someone who listens to me and understands my past, who pushes me to thrive as much as I want for the past few years.

With time and maybe without noticing it, I was attracted by those women who are self-confident and whom by art, politic and culture were able to accept themselves the way they are. This is how I had the idea to use boudoir photography as a way to heal myself.

 
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The Boudoir Shoot

What an unforgettable experience! A moment of peace where I was able to forget about my problems, all of my "flaws” and more importantly, my demons. It was just a magical therapy!

Posing in front of the lens made me realize that the qualities I was admiring in others were also part of me. I was able to win back what I thought was gone forever and shout out to the whole world “I will never feel ashamed to be myself anymore.

This magical moment had a real positive impact on my life and I don't want to stop here as I have more ideas to keep feeling unstoppable. I have to say it would have been much harder without Fanny and Juliette's help.

“I am beautiful”

Thank you to the man who I have been sharing my life for the past 5 years, it is because of him I am still thriving!


FRENCH VERSION

Je m’appelle Nora, voici mon histoire

Commençons par parler de ma peur, chose inhabituelle pour ceux qui me connaissent je sais.

Ma première peur, la plus grande, est un membre de ma famille. C'est donc compliqué de s'en défaire, de s'émanciper, car même si je ne l'ai pas vu depuis de nombreuses années, je sais qu'au fond de moi nous nous reverrons un jour sûrement.

Oui, j'ai beau avoir grandi, j'ai toujours cette hantise de revoir son visage, son regard et surtout de réveiller amèrement les souvenirs de ses coups tant psychologiques que physiques.

Tout ce temps à se côtoyer durant toutes ces années se résume aux pleurs ainsi qu'à un sentiment d'impuissance face à un homme bien plus fort que moi. Mon histoire me parait banale et je me dis alors "qu'il y a certainement pire que moi".

J'ai donc grandi dans ce contexte de machisme, du "male alpha" à la maison. Un jour j'ai eu la force de m'enfuir loin de cette vie, je n'avais plus le choix, il fallait mettre une réelle distance avec ce qui incarnait cette peur, une rencontre amoureuse m'a confortée évidemment dans cette démarche. Ce qui m'a permis de mettre dans un premier temps une sorte de "pansement" sur ce mal qui me poursuivait. Fatalement, ces déboires familiaux, dû à cet individu principalement, m'ont enlevé toute estime de moi.

Être constamment rabaissé durant vos premières décennies de vie vous font "très vite" oublier qui vous êtes, mais le temps passe et on tente malgré tout de se construire même si cela implique de (se) priver (de) ses proches.

Je ne partage plus ma vie avec cette personne avec qui j'étais partie à l'époque. Depuis quelques années je suis avec quelqu'un qui m'encourage à m'épanouir comme je l'entends, il a particulièrement su m'écouter et me comprendre. Inconsciemment peut-être, je me suis doucement intéressée à ces femmes qui s'assumaient, s'acceptaient au travers de diverses façons (art/politique/culture). L'idée d'accepter mon image et de faire un shooting photo m'est alors venu.

La séance Boudoir

Une expérience inoubliable ! Un moment où j'ai oublié tous mes soucis, tous mes (potentiels) défauts et surtout, tous mes démons ! Ce fût ni plus ni moins une thérapie magique.

En se prêtant au "jeu de l'objectif", j'ai pu constater que ce que je pouvais admirer chez les autres, je pouvais aussi l'apprécier et le retrouver chez moi. Je pense avoir, presque malgré moi, crié aux monde entier "je suis moi et n'en aurais certainement plus honte !".

Ce moment "magique" m'a réellement fait du bien, m'a donné d'autres idées encore et rien de tout ça n'aurait été si parfait sans Fanny et Juliette.

" Je suis belle "

Un énorme merci à l'homme qui partage ma vie depuis plus de 5 ans, grâce à lui je grandis encore!

5 unusual inquiries we got for boudoir photography

I love my job. Being a boudoir photographer is a wonderful experience, we've met so many people with different personality and style. Some are very open minded, others a bit more shy. They worked with us because they need a boost of self confidence or just to treat themselves whether they are women, men or couples.

But sometimes, between all of those kind and awesome emails we receive, are hiding creepy and unusual requests. Some are hilarious, others are disturbing. Since we are starting to receive them quite often and have the feeling it is not going to stop, we decided to write about them. 

 
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Mesdames et messieurs, here is our top 5 of the weirdest inquiries we got in a year:

N°5 : The dick pic guy

If there is something intriguing with Boudoir and men, is that most of the gentlemen who contact us for a boudoir shoot want to do something more erotic. And this is fine with us, why not if it is a serious project. But the disturbing part is that they believe we need to see their pee-pee so we can accept their request. So time to time we receive photographs of big Willy and the twins with a very non flattering angle and lighting, of course, pictures we never asked for. 

Gentlemen please, let me tell you something: HELL NO, WE DON'T NEED THOSE! It was very tempting to add a moustache and a hat on this photograph and send it back to that particuliar client. If you really want to show us your joystick, at least do it in an artistic way...

 
 

N°4 : The pink blouse guy

This man contacted us a little while ago, he wanted to do a boudoir shoot for his future husband. His idea was to lay down on a bed made of Kleenex - FIRST RED FLAG. He was also looking for a wedding photographer but didn't want to tell us the day of the wedding - SECOND RED FLAG. The icing on the cake was when he asked us to wear pink blouses for the first planning meeting. Because "the first impression is super important" for him.

Yeah man sure! Do you want us to wear a french maid outfit so we can clean your discourtesy off your face?  We nicely told him we would not do it, so he decided to go with another photographer (apparently).

N° 3 : The "I like humiliation" guy

This one is pretty recent. Few day ago we received an email from a guy who lost a bet and had to do a boudoir shoot, wearing high heels, sexy dress, lingerie and/or be nude. Had to walk like a model and be shoot in some very embarrassing poses, for his humiliation and women amusement. We told him boudoir photography is an art and we work only with people who see it as a serious project.

But we could provide some headshots for professional purpose if he was interested. You have to see business opportunity everywhere right?! 

 
 

N° 2 : The "you need to wear sexy clothes so I can feel turned on" guy

Ooooh man, our first weird inquiry. This married man sent us an email because he was looking to do a couple boudoir shoot with his wife. They have been married for 20 years and they were looking to spice up their relationship. We were pretty happy about it since, at that time, we didn't get a lot of couples interested by a session. So he started to explain what he wanted, sent us example of videos and pictures (remember the dick pic story previously, well those were the beginning). His wife had apparently a big and sexual appetite and they were looking for erotic photography. We explained to him this is not the type of service we offer but we could give them sensual pictures.

We were not against working with them, they wanted to celebrate the love they have for each other by trying a new experience.

Unfortunately he crossed the line when he asked us to dress up very sexy during the shoot so he can be more excited. Now that I think about it, I am happy we didn't go forward with this inquiry: this couple were the lions, we were the gazelles. 

N° 1: The "let's redo American Pie" guy

And the winner is... (actually my little favourite, probably because I watch all of the American Pie movies)
Once upon a time in Toronto town, a man who loved his mom a lot decided to treat her with a boudoir shoot. Such a sweet and thoughtful gentleman who was open minded enough to offer this experience as a gift. Or so we thought.


We replied to this guy to get more details about his request. Why not right?! Maybe his mom asked him to book the shoot for her or maybe it was a gift for his parents' wedding anniversary.

Oh no, it wasn't a fairytale, just a crazy idea: some pictures taken of his mom and his best-friend having sex. The story never said if it was a spam or a serious request. 

My friends, let me remind you that even if we are photographers whose main goal is to highlight sensuality in everybody, it doesn't mean we get sexual pleasure out of it. So keep your pants on, we are not part of your fantaisies, don't plan to be and will never ever touch your purple-helmeted warrior of love.