Many ask why I do boudoir? I love the artistic angle and it fits with my wedding videography side of my business. But I didn’t really realize at the start how much of an impact it would make to those who did a session. I have had sessions that centered around breast cancer, emotional abuse and self-preservation. But never did I realize that what I would do is save a life.
Session that would set the stage
In June 2020, we had just came out of the first COVID-19 quarantines, and I wanted to give my business a jump start, so I put out a model call to get some clients and sessions in the books. One of these “models” reached out to me wanting to volunteer.
The day of the session came and I remember it was fun, because she had brought her mom with her. Immediately, I felt comfortable and really liked this duo. The client had an awesome personality about her, and her mom was just spunky. It is always fun when a mom or friend comes in for support. Her mom had this naive humor about the whole session and this led to some fun on the spot bluntness throughout the whole session, we had so much fun with it. A lot of laughs and fun “turtle” talk (an expression that my client came up with when I asked to elongate the neck).
When the images were edited on my end, I had her come in for a reveal session and she loved her images. She had said she was obsessing over them. Which I love hearing those statements. So she received a few of them as digitals, and went on.
“My depression comes from a dark and heavy place. At times I wonder if this is how it would always be. There has been moments I’m facing my worst, and then there are moments I feel okay. Summer of 2020 I was at my darkest. I think we all had been feeling some type of diminished light. My marriage had been on the rocks for three years. I felt as though I had failed in my life. I would look at myself in the mirror and be completely disgusted by the person staring back at me. My rolls, my double chin, my cellulite and scars. Ending my life was at the top of my list. I couldn’t live like this anymore. I’d spend hours thinking about how to commit suicide, where to do it, and what my final letter would say. My first time shooting boudoir was with Jeff Carpenter, July 2020. I remember debating canceling it, because I was not worthy of looking and feeling beautiful. This experience changed me though. Once I saw the person in the photos I was in awe. Jeff had helped bring my light back. I stopped looking at my stomach, and stretch marks as flaws… each piece of me was unique.“
The Second Session
Fast forward two months, she booked her second session for my “Twilight at the Chateau” event in September 2020. These sessions took place at an AirBNB in Bay City. It was so much fun. And it came time for her to come in and this time instead of her mom, she brought her husband. He seemed really quiet, but open to what was going on. I, honestly, get nervous when the husband comes with my clients. I never know if they are supportive of a “guy” taking their wife’s photos. But we went with it. I got him involved with holding lights and helping me. Again, we had so much fun and she loved her images again.
But with this session, she got an album with the session, and I created it and ordered with her approval.
“I was so motivated by the amount of confidence this shoot gave me, that I scheduled a second one in September. This time, I brought my husband. I was a nervous wreck having him there. This was the person who told me he wasn’t attracted to me anymore… this was the person I talked about divorce with. Instead, it turned my marriage around… I continued to gain my confidence, I began working on me and my husband, I enrolled in school, and I love the person I am becoming.“
I had a revelation about this woman, and I remember it was November 2020, when she came in to pick up her album. And she looked through it and loved it. But it was what she stated afterwards that would change my life. She proceeded to tell me that what I did for her, saved her life. She told me that day that before her first session, she had thought of committing suicide. I heard this and the shock of what I heard brought so many emotions. I never thought that this had to potential of saving a life. I knew it was powerful enough to change how someone saw themselves.
“Life isn’t meant to be easy, I still struggle every single day. I still have a darkness that surrounds me, but I am a work in progress. Each day is a new beginning, each day holds new path we can choose. I am not my depression, I am not my anxiety. I am me, I am beautiful, I am worthy, and I am loved.“
To this day, we are friends, and we chat every once in a while. And she is doing well. But I always think about this impact, and it gives my life and business a purpose.
If you are going through a mental illness, depression, emotional abuse. Reach out to someone and get help. I am not a therapist, but sometimes I feel like it.