eroticism

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!

We can never be too careful: Boudoir Photography

Boudoir photography is such a great experience to try at least once in your life. It is the best way to get intimate and sensual photographs of yourself. It's a great exercise to feel more comfortable with your body and posture, as well as putting your boundaries down for a moment in front of a stranger.

Since this type of photo shoot is closer to sensuality or eroticism than a regular headshot session, it sadly has the tendency to attract ill-intentioned people who use boudoir photography as an excuse to assault women. This is why it is important to be careful when you book your session.

It is sad that we have to take so many precautions but this is the kind of world we live in. And we will tell you everything you need to know so it never happens to you!

 
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You have less risks with female photographers.

I am sorry gentlemen I am not saying you are all the same, I know a lot of male photographers are very respectful to women. The goal of this post is not to put every men in the same basket, I just want women to feel comfortable when they're about to stand in lingerie or naked in front of photographers.

I have been working in the photography industry for 10 years and I have never heard stories of women assaulting their clients. Unfortunately, it seems to happen with some men and I am not only talking about the relationship between male photographers and women clients: 9 times out of 10, when we get an inquiry from a man, they turned out sketchy. For example, some have asked us to dress up sexy so they can feel turned on during the shoot. We have never gotten any bad emails from women.

Professionals are a go-to

We didn't spend years to learn our craft just to have a piece of paper to look pretty on a wall. Photography is a real career and doesn't only require to press the trigger.

So please, I am begging you, hire professional photographers who have a proper website, social media and reviews. Stop going on Kijiji or Craiglist to find the person who will take intimate pictures of yourself in his basement. This is how problems start most of the time!

 
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Safety first

It is really easy with the internet to pretend to be someone else. As mentioned above, some men uses "boudoir" photography to get closer to women and get them to pose them naked in very sexualized poses. Sometimes, it doesn't go any further that just bad taste, but in other cases, nightmares have happened with women getting assaulted.

This is why it is important to meet your photographer face to face in a public place, a proper photography studio or at least on skype (actually this rule should apply in our every day life, we can never be too careful!).

We personally always, always, always meet our potential clients before starting anything. We have refunded a deposit because we did not feel safe. Plus it is pretty nice to talk about your photo shoot around a cup of coffee and pastry, isn't it?!

Also, know that you should be allowed to bring someone with you. If the photographer says no, leave, it's a red flag.

Last but not least: we know pricing is a big factor when choosing your photographer and it is why some women go for cheap photography services without thinking of the risks behind. Don't you think it will be better to postpone the shoot to save up what you need and get breathtaking photographs of yourself and a proper boudoir experience?

Do your own research

The good thing with internet is you can track people to see if they are serious and professional.

  • Read the reviews people leave on google, forum and other websites. It will give you a good overview of the person and the company.
  • Don't hesitate to ask questions to your photographer and tell her/him if you feel anxious. Your photographer should care about your feelings and do his/her best to reassure you. If the photographer doesn't really reply to your questions, keep them unclear or doesn't explain to you how the session will go, then go with someone else.

Trust your instinct

Either you go with a female or male photographer, there is one think you should always do: FOLLOW YOUR GUT!! 

The human body is very powerful for this and we are most of the time able to feel when something or someone is wrong.

If you have a bad feeling about the person who is going to do your photo shoot, don't go through with it.

 
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The recap:

• Avoid Kijiji or Craiglist.
• Always meet with your photographer(s)
• Check the company's reputation with reviews or referrals.
• Have a contract signed and the details of the session laid out before the day of. Everything has to be crystal clear.
• Bring someone with you or let someone know where you will be and when you'll be done.

Stay awesome but more importantly: stay safe.

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