I’m using boudoir photography to redefine beauty and empower women
In my brief 33 years of life thus far, I've had my fair share of interesting jobs. I've sold plywood (seriously), waited tables at small-town diners and five-course gourmet eateries, served time as a professional nanny, processed tax returns, procured food donations for the hungry, picked strawberries... the list goes on and on.
In each unique environment, I learned something new, developed my skill sets and sharpened my professional street smarts. But more importantly, each experience was one step closer towards discovering my passion and true ambition.
I'm one of those people who believe a job is so much more than a paycheck. Spending more hours at work in my office than at home with my family means I need to wholeheartedly believe in my professional path and the time spent away from those most important to me. To me, it's not only your right, but an absolute necessity to pursue passion in your professional endeavors. Over the years, I quickly found that the one common denominator in all of the jobs I have held has been the human factor. I passionately pursue a desire to meet a need in someone else. Whether that need is not so glamorous (i.e. "I need a crate of plywood" or "I'll take the $2 plate special") or honorable (i.e. "I haven’t eaten for 3 days" or "Please help me raise my children"), the common thread revealed itself each time I took a new position. Eventually I found myself marrying this passion to serve others with my creative side and picked up a camera professionally to capture that human element in its richest form, everyday life.
Some might be thinking that this is where my pursuit of passion hit the mark. For years, I worked as a wedding photographer, and while I loved my clients inside and out, I realized there were still a few curves and bends left to my journey towards my perfect passion. I stumbled into boudoir photography quite literally by chance a few years into my business and immediately discovered the heart home for my passion and calling. Over time, I found myself walking farther and farther away from the weddings and falling deeper and deeper in love with the art of women.
Fast forward to today, and I've finally settled into my perfect place. MODERN FEMME Photography is meeting a very real need in our community. We are helping women rediscover their own natural beauty, healing wounds and experiences that have chipped away at their self-worth and identity over the years like tiny cracks in a mirror. Boudoir photography is not stripper poles and garter straps. It's a gentle process of self-discovery, an unveiling and stripping away of life, a confrontation of the trueness of self, the restoration of the spirit and the healing of the soul. As mothers, wives, sisters, friends, human beings... women are bound by society's notion of what it means to be beautiful, forever challenged to be that which doesn't exist, losing sight of what it means to be a truly empowered woman even in the mess of lengthy to-do lists and the chaos of life.
I pursue the passion of beauty, the passion of validation, trust and acceptance. The celebration that is you, just as you are. Whether we're working with abuse victims who struggle to reclaim their bodies as their own, or welcome mothers who have long since put aside their visions of youth as they confront their changing bodies, sleepless nights and endless diapers, or embrace the newly divorced to rebuild value, esteem and self-worth as they move forward from a season of hurt... I passionately pursue healing, hope and love. I am so much more than a photographer these days. I am a trusted friend, a listening ear, an affirming spirit, a gentle challenger, a guiding force.
To hear words like:
"I have been released from social comparison, because I know that I am special in my own way and no one can take that from me. I feel like the loveliest version of myself. I don't have to be anything but myself. I am simply me, and I am so beautiful. Thank you for making me feel beautiful this morning."
"I have struggled all of my life with issues of insecurity and self-contempt. I did not believe for myself that I was beautiful. Seeing my images was like seeing myself through the eyes of art and beauty in a way that no one else could possibly tell me, I had to see it for myself. For the first time in my entire life, I saw my beauty. What we did in one afternoon of shooting, I have never been able to receive from years and years of prayer and counsel. I am so deeply grateful. I will never forget it."
Taking the leap to become a full-time boudoir photographer was scary. It meant walking away from the financially secure, well-established wedding market to aggressively build a new vision and understanding in a corner of the artistic world that has long battled being misunderstood and generalized. Stepping out to redefine beauty and educate women about the importance of self-acceptance and celebration was a lofty ambition. Learning to say no to the weddings was scary! But what scared me more was the possibility of not pursuing that which I was most passionate about.
I truly believe that each client who steps through our doors was brought there for a special purpose. Far beyond the income generated or the growth of our small business endeavor, we've moved beyond competing in the marketplace and focus thoroughly on the passion for those clients who were truly meant to be partnered with us because of a higher calling. The epitome of pursuing your passion professionally is when you get paid to do something that you love so much that you would do it whether or not it meant money in your hand. Knowing that I am able to play a small part in helping a woman look at herself in the mirror and say "I am beautiful." That is more meaningful to me than any paycheck. I continue to pursue my passion to serve each and every day. Every woman that walks through our door is a new opportunity to encourage and affirm. I am truly blessed to serve them and so grateful I took a chance and ran after my passion instead of playing it safe. I realize now that any hesitation on my part would have meant women who continued to feel inadequate, worthless and unloved. Pursuing my passion opened the door to blessing others. And that is truly the loftiest goal that we should all aim for professionally. To bring joy, value, service and love to others.
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Images: Modern Femme/Katy Blevins