Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Purple Dress and Why Do I Want to Take Nude Portraits of Women

There is was... the most beautiful purple ball gown with sparkles I've ever seen. I paid $30 and took it home to my studio, hoping that one day I'd find the Cinderella who would actually fit into this tiny garment. Last summer, I photographed my friend Alena in this beautiful dress and I was amazed at how beautiful she looked. That bone structure is killer and just wearing the dress seemed to bring out a new side to her personality.

As much as I love beautiful dresses and all the wonderful things they do for the female figure (and confidence), I think that sometimes clothes get in the way of us actually seeing the woman inside them. We love dressing up but when the camera joins the party, dressing up seems to turn into a fashion photo shoot — women cross their fingers and hope they'll at least resemble the women in magazines, in the fancy clothes, in the broken doll poses. Frankly, I'm sick of the fashion. Our world has gone a bit overboard with how much importance we place on clothing.

Clothes say so much about who we are and what we like. That said, I also like that without clothes we are all on an equal playing field. I like the idea that when you see a photo of a naked woman, you can't make the same judgements about her that you could if she were wearing clothes. You don't know if she's preppy or grungy or hipster or retro. She's just naked. All you can look at is her face and the shape of her body and the texture of her skin. It's extremely vulnerable and I love that.

Most women aren't comfortable being seen naked, let alone being photographed that way.  I'm in that camp too. The idea of having my nude portrait taken makes me feel so shy and embarrassed. I think this is probably because I don't like how I look when I see myself naked in the mirror. I know I'm not alone with this. I also know that being photographed nude is a great way to overcome this fear and take one step closer to embracing your own body however it looks. So maybe one day soon I'll challenge myself to this experience.

What I can do right now though is offer my photography skills to other women who are ready to be photographed nude. I want to take photos that show a woman looking her most beautiful without the distraction of clothing. Photos that can't be dated by clothing. Photos that aren't all about the awesome dress. I want to take photos that are so simple and focused on a woman's body, her face and how she feels about herself. I want my photos to be honest. I want them to embrace the reality of how women look and what makes women beautiful (and the answer to that questions is not clothing).

Having said all of that, I do think that these photos of Alena in this purple dress are an incredible example of clothing at its best. Both Alena and the dress look gorgeous and Iw on't lie — I'm so proud of these photos. I feel like they may be my best work. Thank you beautiful purple dress for adding a little sparkle to this shoot. (So maybe sometimes I'll use clothing haha)