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Discovering Me. A Boudoir Experience

Sometimes my clients become my friends…more often than not we keep in touch, but some people you just have that extra special bond with. Maisie was one of those people. We started as colleagues as we both shoot weddings for Clark + Walker Studio.  I remember before I met her, our friend told me not to corrupt her lol…what he didn’t realize is that this Maisie has been there all along, she just never had permission before to be herself free of judgement.  I could spend hours trying to explain how under that sweet facade is this incredibly strong and very intelligent woman who is sort of using that coy sweetness as a shield, a wall of sorts…I saw it in her from the day I met her at that Turning Stone wedding. Be it fate or just scheduling leaving us no other options, Maisie and I kept getting assigned on weddings together, especially weddings that require alot of travel.  Well when you are stuck in a car with someone for 8 hours in a day, you sort of start to find those commonalities, you talk about everything from the job, to life to sex…you just talk.  One of the things I obviously talked, and always do talk alot about, is what I believe that the boudoir experience can do for my clients…to no surprise of mine, Maisie listened to me…she took the leap and she booked me for a shoot of her own.  At this point, we were still more colleagues than friends…but it was during her shoot, as she not only unpeeled layers of clothing but layers of her walls that we really had the chance to bond.

I think I will let Maisie take it from here…after our 2nd shoot together, I asked her if she wanted to share what the boudoir experience did for her…

“I wasn’t an adventurous person. I wasn’t a confident person. I wasn’t my own person. I was exactly who everyone else wanted me to be for a majority of my life. I hit a few very low points before my first session- which, in hindsight, was probably the main reason for me to reach out to Lindsay; I needed that feeling of doing something out of my comfort zone to wake me up and peel away the layers that had built up to disguise myself. I almost backed out the night before the session and I am so glad I didn’t. Lindsay made the shoot so comfortable for me, it was such a fun experience. Seeing myself through Lindsay’s lens made me tear up and realize that I could be my own person, I could be confident, I could be sexy if I wanted or I could just be a homebody- other people’s opinion of me didn’t matter if I didn’t want them to. My second session with Lindsay was reinforcement. My “badass” look completely contrasted my typical “girl next door” appearance that my peers know me by. It showed the confidence I am learning to have and I am so thankful to be comfortable with who I am in this moment.”

Seeing myself through Lindsay’s lens made me tear up and realize that I could be my own person, I could be confident, I could be sexy if I wanted…

It has been a pretty introspective experience putting this blog together, seeing the friendship, the photography and the woman evolve right before my eyes…I started this entry with our first shoot together and ended it with our most recent shoot in NYC.

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….Shoot 2: Confidence in NYC…..

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Hair and Makeup for Shoot 1 by Cassandra McKenna
Hair and Makeup for shoot 2 by Erin Marie Artistry

The City That Never Sleeps

Where do I even begin? I mean, this is Agnes, THE Agnes, the Agnes that I talk about all the time. This session is where our epic friendship first began.  Agnes is another incredible Boudoir photographer, my boudie sister if you will.  We are both members of the esteemed Association of International Boudoir Photographers which is where we connected for the first time.  I had been planning a shoot in the city and wanted to test out some new lights so I asked Agnes if she wanted to come be my model for the night.

It is always terrifying as a photographer to photograph another photographer, especially one who’s work and skill you admire as much as I admire Agnes’s work.  When she showed up, I am pretty sure she could tell I was nervous out of my mind because she right away went into the mode of calming me down and ensuring me she would love whatever I did, and that the reason she was there is so I could work through testing out new skills anyway.

Well, I have to say, her energy did calm me right down, and taking away all of that pressure really allowed me to focus on learning and expanding my skills. But not only that, we totally clicked and vibed and I instantly saw a future bestie in her. I could look at her and instantly see behind her sweet goofy outside was this baddddddddass female on the inside that I simply could not ignore.  It was her inner badass that made me fall in love with her.

Her take no shit, but cause no problems attitude is one that is right in line with my own thinking.

 I cannot even put into words how much I love this girl!

We have such a bond over the city that never sleeps too.  Funny enough Agnes lives 2 blocks away from where I lived on the upper west side for all of those years and we never met!  We totally bonded over Thai Market and giant slices of pizza on Broadway, and of course our obsession with boudoir, so It absolutely made sense that her shoot featured the city too.  When you live in New York you are basically entering into a relationship with the city, be it a good one or a bad one, you cannot live there without being completely infected by its energy. It remains a part of you no matter how many years you live away from it, and now, she will always have this little reminder of the total FIC (Female In Control) she is when it comes to her relationship with New York.

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I love you all the gifs Agnes!

A Year Of Self-Acceptance

I wrote a little bit about this on my facebook this morning, but the end of the year is always a very reflective time for me. Yes I fully blame it on the commercialization of New Years Eve and the concept of New Years Resolutions…but in this case I am glad for the yearly reminder to be introspective. I find it super important to take this time every year and look back on both my growth and the areas where I still want to grow as a person.  I have realized that 2015 was a huge tipping point for me. It was the year that I finally decided to listen to myself, to take my own advice and to give myself permission to surround myself with love and cast negativity and negative people aside.

It is a hard choice sometimes, realizing that people or things or thoughts that you had once found comfort in, might be the exact things that are stunting your personal growth. It is the minute that you give yourself permission to put yourself on the list of things that matter. It is when you really start to notice the things, thoughts, people, in your life that are toxic, that Self Love can really start to happen.  This was hard for me this year, very, very hard. I have always been a people pleaser, the girl who will make fun of herself in a room full of people just because she is too uncomfortable in her own skin to just “be”, so she resorts to self-deprecating humor to break the silence in a room. I never thought of cracking jokes about myself as a bad thing, until I started to wake up in the morning and really believe those things about myself.

In 2015 I learned it is not ok to put myself down. It is not ok to let others put me down. Joking or not, I have to accept the responsibility, that every time I make a fat joke, the beautiful woman I am believes a little bit less that she is beautiful. I have to accept that sometimes when I look in the mirror it is going to be a battle of forcing myself to face that woman, to stare her in the eyes, and tell her that it is all ok, and that she is beautiful and to believe it.  It is hard work. It is such ridiculously hard work to love yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  You don’t just wake up one day and believe in yourself. No, loving yourself takes hard work, it takes constant communication with your heart and spirit, it takes learning to quiet the negative voices in your head, and learning to tune out the negative voices around you. It is hard work to decide when a relationship in your life does not serve you or make you happy. It is hard work to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you deserve happiness.

Today’s #LRPBoudieBeauty is a beautiful woman, with an amazing family, who deserves to know she is beautiful, and I am proud that today, I was able to show her that she is.

It is hard fucking work ladies. Let me repeat myself. It is hard fucking work to accept yourself…and it is even harder work to love yourself.

But there is no work in the world that is more important.

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Yes. That is me. Yes, I am allowed to talk positively about myself.

 I think the pillow say’s it all. “Talk is Cheap”. So here I am facing the camera, and doing just a little bit more than talking today. They may not be the most technically perfect Self-Portraits ever, but they are me, they are beautiful and I am proud to share this side of myself with you.

My goals for 2016 are to share more of myself, to look in the mirror more often and remind myself that I am worth it, to keep the toxic people and thoughts at bay, to cut back on the self deprecating humor, and to share my voice and philosophies with as many women as I can next year.

What are your Self-Love New Years Resolutions for 2016?