I'm going to apologize in advance because this post is going to be long.
It has taken me quite some time to figure out exactly what inspires me and what my "style" is when it comes to photography. Admittedly, this was easier to answer in regards to my boudoir work. When I was in college, earning my art degree, I was very focused on one style of photography: black and white nudes. It is funny how things have come full circle for me in that regard. In college, I would photograph my friends on black and white film, often using moody lighting (i.e., a bare 60 watt lightbulb).
After college, I ventured out into the world of photojournalism, which I loved. Not necessarily because I enjoyed photographing political meetings or car accidents, but because I was out in the community, talking to and getting to know people. I loved hearing their stories and part of their lives, even if it was only for a few short minutes. Photojournalism sort of lead me to portrait work. Stay with me here. I began photographing children and families, and eventually weddings. All before I even considered boudoir photography. Strange, huh? Anyway, I had in my mind that boudoir was something tacky and/or trashy and I was an artist, so that genre didn't appeal to me at all. Until one day, when I saw some tasteful boudoir images online. At that point, I realized that boudoir could be whatever I wanted it to be. Not some stereotype I had in my mind up until that point. So, I decided to try my hand at boudoir, telling myself that if I didn't like it, I didn't have to continue.
Well, of course, I absolutely fell in LOVE with boudoir photography. Not just the artistic freedom it gave me (which was lacking in most of my portrait work), but with my clients. With women who were doing something for themselves. Who value themselves. Or at the very least wanted to value themselves. I loved that my clients walked away feeling empowered and truly beautiful. I loved that they wrote me afterwards, thanking me for their experience. I loved that they sent their friends to me, not just to have some photos taken, but to also feel empowered. I'm telling you... that feeling is so amazing that you want your friends to feel it too. Sort of like being in love.
So, fast forward a little. These days, I'm doing a lot of work on b&w film again. Sometimes nudes, sometimes partially nude. Often with moody lighting. So, this is where the full circle thing comes in. I sort of had to get out there and experience the world and other kinds of photography, just to confirm that I was doing exactly what I was meant to do 20 freaking years ago! Go figure.
Are you wondering why I'm rambling about all of this in a seemingly unrelated blog post? Well, there is indeed a reason. You see, last fall when I was planning a trip to La Grande (where I attended college) for a boudoir event, I decided to also put together a styled bridal shoot. In the process, I found River on a modeling website. I contacted her about the bridal shoot and as it turns out, SHE is currently an art student focusing on photography, at my alma mater. Not only that, but after communicating back and forth for a bit about the bridal shoot (which she rocked, by the way, wearing my mother-in-law's wedding dress... click here to view that post), she decided to also book a boudoir session with me. Obviously, as seen by the images below, she rocked that as well. Anyway, it was so wonderful to not only work with another photographer, but to be able to look at her and sort of see myself, oh so many years ago. I'm happy to say that we have kept in touch and I consider her a good friend now. Funny how that works out.