I visited a lingerie store several months ago and while looking through the clothing, an employee offered some assistance. During the course of our discussion she asked about me being photographed and I joked that I was seldom in front of the camera (which is true). She quickly replied “How can you expect women to be photographed that way if you aren’t willing to do it yourself?” It was a fair question and one that stuck with me since then. I have thought about this for some time and kept coming back to the fact that boudoir and lingerie is for women.
It’s true that men don't typically wear lingerie, but being in front of the camera isn’t just for women. I set out to try to get a feeling for what the experience might be like for a male. I was still faced with a challenge: I am the size of a teenaged child, have the hair of a woman, and don’t have the features of a model. I realized this is the same kind of thing that goes through the heads of the women that I photograph prior to and maybe even during a boudoir session. Not the same exact thoughts, but still the kind of thoughts that quickly become negative.
The transformative value of being photographed for boudoir, and likely with other types of portraits, is that it helps us to accept who we are. We have to first accept ourselves and our bodies. My job as a photographer is to capture the person, and the personality, in front of the camera and reveal who she is.
So here’s an image of my first experience (in front of the camera) with this type of photography. Other photographers jokingly use the name “Dudoir” to describe male boudoir photography. Regardless of what it’s called, the experience was revealing, for lack of a better word. It gave me a little insight into what it might feel like for a boudoir client to stand in front of the camera and reveal herself while letting go of any negative thoughts she may have about herself.
In the end, I realized that we all can get caught up in reinforcing negative opinions about ourselves. We just have to work to overcome them. I hope as a photographer I can continue to capture those positive moments from behind the camera, and maybe occasionally, in front of it as well.