Why do you take so many pictures of women?
This article originally was a blog post, but I thought it was a question that deserved to be given its own space here.
May 19th-21st 2017 The Art A Whirl festival descended on the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. It was my first experience showing any of my work in a setting like that and I had a great time being able to talk to people about my photos face to face. It was a wonderful learning experience.
I felt like I got asked two questions the most during Art a Whirl, one was, “Why do you specialize in Boudoir photography?” and the other was, “Why do you take so many pictures of women?”
The first question I was admittedly ready for off the bat. When you are a guy who takes pictures of women in more intimate settings that is the first question on everyone’s mind. I don’t see any point in being shy about my passion for it, so I usually take the opportunity to explain myself.
I love it because it’s fun! It’s not every day most people get to dress up and do a photo shoot. I like making that experience happen for people. I feel it is a wonderful way to promote self-confidence and body positivity. Let's be honest with ourselves, most of what we hear every day is crap. It is very subtle most of the time but it is ever-present. Most of this crap is directed at our insecurities and body image is one of the biggest insecurities most people have.
We are all conditioned to look up to a standard of beauty that has been accepted but isn’t actually real. This constant barrage of “you are less than Blank so you should buy Blank so you don't feel bad.” is targeted to women harshest of all.
I feel that boudoir photography is a wonderful way to jab back at that nonsense. You are perfect just the way you are. The skin you’re in is all that you need. Plus you get to have the light shown on a part of your personality that never gets seen by the majority of the world. You get to decide what version of your private self you want to actually visualize. It's your opportunity to tell your story as the way you see yourself at your best, or to show a side of yourself that you usually don’t let out.
My job is to create an environment where you can feel confident, let your light shine and then capture the moment for you. All in a safe, relaxed space where nobody will judge you. Where you can take some risks, push yourself out of your comfort zone, make your own art and hopefully grow a little. It's kinda like a doctors office but the cameras aren't nearly as invasive and you actually want to be there.
That is why I like boudoir photography. The second question, however, about, “Why do you take so many pictures of women?” I hadn’t really been asked before at random, so I thought I’d give it some time here.
Put most simply. I love taking pictures of beautiful things and I happen to think the female form is the most beautiful thing in the world. Add to that I love taking pictures of people and it stands to reason there would be a lot of women in my photographs.
More deeply, however, I think women are fascinating. Being a guy I have a pretty good idea of how men think so they don’t interest me as much. I don’t think like a woman so being in a more intimate one on one situation, whether its boudoir or portrait photography, where you get a glimpse of how someone ticks, is a very interesting opportunity. On a larger scale that would be translated I suppose into my Roller Derby photography. So I guess I get to have my interests met from a psychological and sociological level.
I also really believe photography can have a positive effect on a person's self-image. Nobody ever got upset because they saw a photo of themselves where they looked beautiful or like an amazing badass and then thought, "aww now I feel worse." That doesn't happen.
This world needs more light shined on the positive and what better way to do that than by helping people feel good about themselves? Photography also gives me a chance to choose what people see and to tell a story, so why not tell an amazing story about a woman or group of women that have previously not been given the light they should?