“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, ‘I love my body’. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, ‘I am so proud of my body.’ So I make sure to say it to Mia because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.” – Kate Winslet
I promise I will get around to this photo session, but first I want to share some personal thoughts with you. That quote by Kate Winslet resonates with me because when I was a child and on into early adulthood, I too, never heard any women in my life express love, pride or even mild acceptance of their bodies. In fact, if a woman exhibited what appeared to be pride in her body, or if she put a noticeable amount of effort into her appearance, she was shamed for being “vain”. Women were also shamed if they did not keep their bodies in perfect shape or if they “did not age well”. It was pretty much a lose-lose-lose mindset that resulted in unhealthy thoughts and eating habits.
Women are powerful, amazing and brave. Generally speaking, we are excellent multi-taskers. And while some women can’t or choose not to for a wide variety of reasons, most of us grow humans inside our bodies and then produce milk to feed those little humans from our very own breasts. That is a pretty significant superpower if I do say so myself. But we still manage to criticize the woman’s body in every way possible. Too fat, too skinny, too muscular, too sexual, too gross… I can’t talk about women and Positive Body Image without also discussing the concept of Free The Nipple because I don’t think we, as a culture, can truly embrace one without the other. In this article about Why Nudity Isn’t Inherently Sexual, the author explains: “sexuality is active, while nudity is passive.” — “Nudity or semi-nudity, in and of itself, is not inherently sexual. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be.” A woman doesn’t have to be an exhibitionist to crave the freedom to go topless without being concerned about the judgment and confines of societal standards. I seriously have so much more to say about this topic, but I think I will save that long-winded soapbox for a later date. I will say this though: I may only be one insignificant person on this enormous planet, but I will devote my life and career to promoting and encouraging healthy body acceptance and the neutralization of women’s bodies. I can only hope that if nothing else, I can at least make a difference in my own children’s lives.
Boudoir sessions are generally thought of as fabulous hair, excessive amounts of makeup, sexy lingerie and lots and lots of photoshop — which a lot of people LOVE — but that is not what I want to shoot. It doesn’t fit me. I call this session “Natural State” because I feel that better describes the nature of the session. This session is ‘clothing-optional’, putting the focus on one’s natural beauty and
is can be a sexy photo session.
In May 2016, in order to give my new-to-Michigan photography business a little boost, I ran contests for four different FREE photo sessions — 1. A Dancer Session. 2. A Portrait Session. 3. A Couples/Best Friends Session. and 4. A Natural State Session — all of which were to take place over the course of the Summer.
Adrienne was the winner of the Free Natural State session! She is a mother of two boys; a full-time Yoga instructor; and Entrepreneur. She is a beautiful human, inside and out, and has bravely allowed me to share these photos of her.
There is an absolute vulnerability in nudity. There is also unrestricted freedom.
EDITED 07/26/2017: Although I don’t believe passive nudity should be censored, I have chosen to remove the nude photos from this post in order to cater to a broader audience.