When I began doing boudoir and dudoir photography about 5 years ago, it was really special. I was always aware that what I did when I was shooting in this genre meant something to the people I worked with, in a different way than when I was shooting weddings, new babies, and families. All good professional photography is meaningful and personal. (Even if you’re shooting corporate gigs, you’re still working with people and for people, so it’s personal.) But the genre of boudoir has captured my heart, and while over the years my love of photography in general has waxed and waned, as it does for anyone working in a field for a long time, I’ve always felt that boudoir was special, and that the work I did with people really mattered.
When Dez Melenka from CTV News Edmonton’s On Your Street contacted me for a serious story she wanted to run on dudoir and male body image, it made my day, and it made my day again when she said we were for sure going ahead with it. I’m so pleased to be able to bring more of a spotlight to the area of body image issues for both women and men, and to talk specifically about the higher pressures that men are under these days. From the term “metrosexual” to Channing Tatum’s lady-pleaser movies to Buzzfeed’s recent video where the Try Guys work with a style consultant, there’s a definite undercurrent of society telling men as well as women that their appearance is just not good enough. In a GQ study, 75% of men surveyed said that compared to 10 years ago, men today are under more pressure to care about their appearance.
Ben, one of the organizers of Edmonton’s chapter of the men’s group, The Remarkable Man project, decided to give dudoir a go and get outside his comfort zone. He told me that while one of the reasons he’s doing this is to give his wife some nice sexy photos, there was another reason: “I believe in what you’re doing here, and I wanted to support you.” While many of my clients say things that give me the warm fuzzies, that hit home in a deeper way. It’s amazing to have someone believe in you, isn’t it!
I have to say that while I have had challenges over the years, shooting a dudoir session while being filmed is up there with the best of them. Sometimes photographers talk about being “on the other side of the lens” but this was both sides simultaneously, and that doesn’t happen often! It did feel a bit like an artistic collaboration, though, so that was a neat aspect of the experience.
My friend Tammy who runs The Photographer Studio, which is shared studio space in two studios for photographers where I do a lot of my work in Edmonton was able to accomodate us coming in last minute for the session the next morning.
Ben is a bright and eloquent man, who shared honestly about the things he likes and hates about his body, and things he’s always felt self-conscious about. It’s refreshing, every time I have a session, that people find it easy to be so real with me. Ben said I was very friendly and warm and he felt comfortable with me, which I strive for every session – whether I’m working with a man or a woman. He also said that like all the other men I’ve worked with, he’d have been more nervous working with a male photographer – interestingly, from what I’ve heard, both genders typically prefer the female eye.
Here’s some of the eye candy we created together!