paris

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!

Paris & Lyon: Our first business trip

What a trip! We are back from France where we met 17 new Scandals! Since we could not take all of you in our suitcases to show you our home country, we decided to bring our business trip to you.

Make yourself a nice hot chocolate and enjoy the show:

 
 

Two busy weeks

Let me tell you: we had a blast and were very busy. In 14 days, we traveled for 20 hours, worked in two cities, drank few glasses (or bottles you will never know…) of red and white wine, had a lot of cheese, pastries, well, awesome food in general. We photographed 34 nipples and 17 butts, had to keep working on blog, vlog and social media. I will skip the number of time we packed and unpacked our suitcases but I can tell you we now mastering the art of folding clothes, in a way we can have room for more food (call us for our folding workshops!). And on top of that we were able to spend a bit of time with friends and family. We felt like Wonder Women and sadly time flew a bit too fast.

17 new and different personalities

 What made the experience even better was the fact that those new scandals were all different from each other. They were all creative with their outfits and ideas: they brought masks, small lights, colourful lingerie and were all happy to experience nude photography. They had different styles and personalities but they were all similar in one thing: they were bold enough to put their boundaries down for their first boudoir shoot.

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Thank you to our french ladies and gentleman for trusting us and trying for the first time the boudoir experience. You guys were really amazing, badass and fun to work with!

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Coffee talk - Love and cultural differences

Ahhh l'amour, between the rendez-vous and the je-ne-sais-quoi floating in the air. What more can you ask for?! Being in love is wonderful. Being in love with someone who comes from a different country is even better!

Different countries or not: relationships are work.

Yes, being in love and living with someone is a great life experience but it can also be very difficult. You have to swallow your pride here and there, (I have to work on that one!), make some compromises, put your boundaries down... In a nutshell, you have to let go.

 

It was too tempting! - evil laugh

 

Two different cultures living together

Now that we set the vibe, try to picture your relationship with someone with whom you don't share the same language. Personally, I think that's the biggest obstacle, which is pretty ironic for someone who thinks communication is the key for a successful relationship! I have been with my partner Ivan for the past 3 years and I have to say that sometimes our communication is not the best.

Well nothing to be surprised about... I am French, he is Colombian and at home we speak English, which is not our first language. So you can imagine this creates misunderstandings, frustrations and fights. And the more we argue, the worse our English gets and the less we can express ourselves correctly. Which creates?... Frustration. It is a vicious circle!

Sometimes I wish we could just yell at each other in French and Spanish, like in those romantic comedies, with a dramatic music in the background. But that's not how it works and honestly, it would be way too chaotic. 

Bad words can get worse.

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The solution is quite simple: we have to be careful with the words we use (easy to say but not to apply!). I had never had to be on fleek with my vocabulary - not that I was using "paraglider" instead of "tomato" or "carpet" instead of "toilets" - but I never really cared to choose the exact words until I realized it can slightly change the meaning of your sentences.

Trust me when I say I learnt the lesson the hard way. When you speak in another language, you have a tendency to translate expressions from your mother-tongue without realizing the meaning can be quite different in another language. Believe it or not, some words can sound awful in English, but not so much in French, and vice versa.

Finding balance

(Juliette stole the keyboard)
There isn't only language difference. Habits & lifestyles are also big ones, especially when you live in your loved one's country. The good news? Getting accustomed to a different culture can actually bring out a better You.

If you know me, you likely see me as a hardass. And you're right. Well guess what? I was 10 times worse back in France. If I hadn't move to Canada, chances are I would have become a French version of The Devil Wears Prada. Dating a Canadian and living with him has taught me to chill the hell out (don't you dare laughing!). On the other end, I taught my partner to shake things up here and there in his everyday life. That's just one of many examples.
(keyboard is back with Fanny)

The double-culture treat

Leaving with someone from another country is a great way to open your mind to the world and change your way of seing things. You get VIP access to a new culture, which includes: food, music, history, fashion and a way to be even more sarcastic and joke about national clichés:

- Ivan: "French people are so weird, you guys shower with perfume. French shower is gross !"
- Me: "First, not true! Second, at least we don't sell drugs. Go ask Pablo Escobar if he had time to shower!"

Speaking of... food, this is also a big avantage (food aficionados: put your hands up!). Every time Ivan goes to Colombia or his family comes here, I always get some traditional delicacies. And that, my friends, is gold.

 
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Long term relationships are already pretty hard and while having your partner in crime from another country could be challenging, it also comes with rewards. Such as getting the opportunity to say that yes, blue cheese and wine together as a match made in heaven.

New year new you?

Oh January. You feel like a blank canvas. It's the time when everyone gets a chance to officially think about themselves by grabbing a piece of paper and writing things they'd like to change or improve in their lives. For some, it's easy and challenging, for others it's a burden. You  definitely need to find motivation to make those resolutions a success!

 
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Resolutions? Blah-blah-blah

Most of people don’t really like those new year’s to-do lists, either because they don’t know what to wish for or they prefer not to think about the future. Stop kidding yourself, you can always improve in something or learn new tricks. There are always little things you wish you could do, so roll up your sleeves and hold on to your panties, you're up for a ride. You have so many aspects of your life to work on: travel, business, health, habits… It should be easy to find a way to think outside of the box, open your mind and get creative. HAVE FUN!

The new you can take its time.

There is nothing more frustrating than making unachievable goals. Forget about going to the gym 5 times a week, learning a new language in 2 weeks or eating avocados only (the good fat!). Find in your mind or heart what you really care about, make it your Super Goal and then break it down into smaller tasks.

You will find it a lot easier to fulfill and this will make you happy, we guarantee that.

 
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What about us?

Indeed, it is easy to give advice to people. The question is do we have good resolutions at Scandaleuse? Of course we do:

• Develop our wedding division

After shooting weddings for others, we finally opened our own wedding studio back in November and our main goal is to make it grow just like our boudoir.

 
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• Work on getting a studio

Do we know anything about real estate? No. Should we in order to get an office space sooner than later? Absolutely.

• Keep traveling and working abroad

We've had a blast in Europe for the past month. Having a chance to shoot there and make it a yearly thing is our biggest goal.

• Invest in new photo gear

And stop drolling over that 85mm 1.4. We're coming for you. Just wait.

• Add more Scandals to our family

We have met so many fascinating people since we opened and we can't wait to add more to the list. We actually worked on 8 shoots in 4 weeks, which is a first, so get ready to see more boobies around here!

• Make more projects come to life.

Between Boudoir Bash (next on on January 20!), The Boudoir Circus, Model Call and couple sessions, we still have a lot of ideas. We even wrote a little guide on dealing with creative funk, to start off well!

• Visit San Francisco

It's been a dream of ours to go to SF for.... 6 years. (We want to see the house from Charmed but don't tell anyone.) Living in Europe, it was a lot more ocmplicated, but now in Toronto, you'd think it'd be easier. It is indeed, it's just the amount of $$$ that is just as big.

• Keep working on becoming aerial silks ninjas

4 years of this lovely circus activity and counting!

These are the main ones we have, and we will keep adding them throughout the year. Because yes, January is not the only time to work on yourself.   

What about you Scandals, what are your 2018 resolutions?

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How photography can change the way you see yourself

Today I wanted to write about me, myself and I. It can sound a bit pretentious but this is not the point of this article. I am going to share with you a part of my life that was pretty difficult with a life experience that happened 8 years ago. 

Believe it or not, it’s not because I have a Boudoir photography business that I always felt in harmony with my body. Let’s go back in time and see how photography helped me to feel more self-confident.

 
When you are 15 years old and you look like 11!

When you are 15 years old and you look like 11!

 

Middle school was rough

If there is a period of my life where I don’t want to go back, it is definitively middle school. I hated it, even if I met one of my best friend then, I don’t have lots of good memories. You are still young, but yet old enough to care about other people's opinions. It was pretty much when my self-esteem went "hasta la vista baby!".

When I was a teenager, I was very thin. Too thin. Some people told me I was anorexic (you know how children can be mean!). I come from a tiny little family and I took everything from my mom side: small boobies, not tall, thin bones. We could have been a lilliputian family (the only interloper is my butt, my mom got it too, I truly don’t know where it comes from!). I was and I am still a pretty short person but on the top of it I had buck teeth. Not because I was sucking my thumb, no I wanted more than that, I was sucking 3 of my fingers (at the same time!). Then of course I got braces at the age of 15.

When you are in your teenager phase, you are way more vulnerable and you take all of the negativity from others as if it was the truth. Even if I never felt ugly, I had no self-esteem for several years because of all of the tough teasing I got from others.

Apprenticeship, the beginning of freedom

Long story short, middle school sucked and I was happy it ended. What hapepned after? Well, before we start, just know that, in France, you have 3 options after middle school: you either go to high school, university or apprenticeship. I went for the last one because I wanted to learn a profession and get a paycheck. It works like this: first you need to find the field where you wanna work in, second you find a business ready to hire you and then a school who teaches the profession you choose.

I have done 7 years of apprenticeship (2 years of dog grooming, 2 years of sales and 3 years of photography) and every year was one more step towards freedom and self-development.

 
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The time I won back my self-esteem

When I started my first year of photography school, I was still a bit shy. My arms were often crossed and my shoulders were tense. I remember my classmates telling me to relax and put my shoulders down.

When you learn photography, you also have to learn how to pose. It is very important to understand how modelling works if you want to be able to guide your model in a better way. The first times as a model was tough for me. I felt awkward, stupid. It was so not natural and I was afraid of smiling. Then there is a moment, you decide to take it as a game, an experience that happens few times in a life. After a few times, you start to relax, smile more naturally, pose by yourself and you take off your clothes more easily.

For me it was pure freedom, especially when I saw the results on the screen. I was like: “oh man, I look gorgeous, is that me?!”

The final step of my self-confidence goal, was to pose fully naked, which I did! Trust me, once you put down your vulnerability and your clothes, you feel ready to dance naked in the street!

As a photographer, it has been a while since I met someone who loves 100% of his/her body.  Even me, sometimes I catch myself thinking that I would like to change a physical part of my body. But what is the point of those thoughts?

 
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Here is a good exercise

Find a mirror where you can see yourself, from your head to your feet. Go naked and look at every centimeters of your body, even your intimate parts. Start to think about what you like in yourself, don’t let negative thoughts coming through.

Then everyday you are facing a mirror, take 5/10 min to think about the parts of your body you don’t like and for each of those, start telling yourself out loud that you are beautiful, those parts are awesome, it is not a big deal to have something physically different, that it doesn’t change the fact you are strong, smart, sexy and pretty. It sounds silly and ridiculous but trust me it does work if you work on it daily. Telling yourself something positive everyday will help your brain to believe in it.

And you, what is your story?

With love,

 
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