Boudoir Photography with a Purpose
Body positive boudoir photography was my prime focus back when I operated my studio in Brooklyn. Upon my relaunch in Texas back in 2017, I needed to connect with models who appreciated the importance of this type of work.
Also, I needed to connect with models who’d understand how I‘d use such images to promote wellness and body positivity while recovering.
Alicia of Austin – The Sunflower
When I first met Alicia, she was recovering from an eating disorder that was so severe, at one point, she almost lost her fight. In addition she also fought the feelings that would come from not having a high sense of esteem for herself or understanding just how powerful it is to know her sense of worth.
Treatment for Eating Disorder
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, engaging in acts that validates and empowers is also considered part of the therapeutic approach. It all leads to self acceptance that affirms you are fine just the way you are.
I am honored Alicia chose me to help her on her journey to wellness and embracing body positivity.
She chose me because she trusted my vision which sees each and everyone as a sunflower as described by Allen Ginsberg in his poem, The Sunflower Sutra.
You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!
Which is to say that the sunflower was never something constructed out of parts and functioned as a utility or machine.
The sunflower, despite being described in the poem as being covered in grime, was still a beautiful sunflower.
So too are human beings and I see beauty in everyone.
Now to get Alicia to see that for herself.
Body Positivity through Empowerment
The idea for our first session was to have her touch on her own power. Without going into personal details many of her challenges stemmed from the loss of control over of her life. There was always some controlling person that made her feel she’d have no say in the matter of her life.
So, we decided we were going to flip that around and have fun at the same time. She wanted to dress and be photographed as if she’d been out all night and didn’t care. It was her choice and that as an adult woman she was in charge of her life. If she wanted to get home in the morning it was her choice.
We met on Congress Avenue just before sunrise.
Here are select photographs of that session
The First Step in Taking Control
We’d taken our shots and moved over to Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles art installation at the Waller Creek Conservancy. I’d thought about what she’d shared with during our session and I decided I’d like for her to stand at the center of the installation in a manner as if she was asserting her dominance.
That way she could touch on the strength comes from doing so in the shadows of something that already loomed large on that spot.
She told me that moment did something for her. For months afterwards that feeling she touched helped her in her progress in her recovery. She’d felt powerful. Like a superhero.
I’d worked with Alicia several times since our first session and we always talked about doing the “big one” – the session where she’d confront and then conquer her illness.
She would share her idea and I always loved how empowering it would be to execute and also how playful it could all turn out.
Months later, she decided she was ready and we found ourselves at the Heart of Texas motel in Austin.
But first, she needed to build up to the moment, to face her fears and to fight against herself.
Confronting Her Fear
The first half of our boudoir photo shoot was devoted to that. Here are select images from the first half of our session.
The second half of our session involved Cheetos and a cupcake.
First the preparation.
A quick stop at Walmart before the session led to this.
Alicia and I had spent months planning this out – from idea to execution. I was so happy to see this young woman laugh at what had been, in years past, a significant challenge to her well being; her relationship to food.
We ran out of Cheetos so I improvised in photoshop. Check out selected shots.
Alicia has become a trusted member of my team. In addition to being a model she’s also an amazing makeup artist.
She has since become someone who I regard as a trusted friend.
I am so proud of her.
In the hopes our work helps other women who may be battling as she once did Alicia gave me permission to share her story.
I hope it helps.
For more information on how to obtain resources and help in dealing with eating disorders, I’ve linked this post to the National Eating Disorders Association. The primary goal would be to first seek medical attention, then place yourself in the therapeutic process.
I will be here should you chose to incorporate my vision in your journey.