Total vulnerability

I believe in allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I believe that we as people who want to grow, to learn, to live, we have choose vulnerability. Being closed off is as good as being dead. Not living our truth is as good as not living at all. Who you are, where you’ve been and how it’s shaped you is your gift to this world.

I believe that boudoir is powerful because of vulnerability. But we can be vulnerable in other ways.

I have a confession. I have spent most of the last year hiding a part of my truth. A part that I have been ashamed to admit. A part that hurts my heart in many ways.

As those who follow me regularly know, I got divorced last year. What you don’t know is why.

The last few years of my marriage were very difficult. My husband had grown to resent me, and to resent decisions that we had made together. And he took it out on me. He took it out on me verbally. He accused me of things that weren’t true, he called me names, he made me feel as though I was worthless. And he even used that word once: worthless.

Words matter. What you say to people matters. That word, worthless, mattered a lot.

Do I hold some of the blame for the end of my marriage? Absolutely. Did I make mistakes? You bet I did. Did I deserve that word? Absolutely not. No one does.

I chose to leave, to end it. I chose to be strong for my kids. I chose to stand up for myself and not be treated that way anymore. It was truly terrifying because I had spent 20 years of my life with that man. That’s a pretty big change.

Is he a bad guy? No. Do I resent him? No. But he wasn’t the husband I want or need, and I clearly wasn’t the wife he wanted.

It’s hard for me to admit that I put up with those words for as long as I did. Several years was WAY too long. It’s hard for me to admit that I chose to be weak for so long.

So what helped me change?

Actually it was you. It was my supporters, my clients, and the many strong and amazing women that I’ve surrounded myself with. I found my strength in you. In your vulnerability, your truth, your power.

Vulnerability. It changes everything. It empowers.

https://sparkstalk.com/vulnerable-jennifer-bartlett-phelps-headliner-sparks-february-2017/

Fear, vulnerability, and letting go

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I don’t photograph nature very often, but I do spend a lot of time outdoors, and I take a lot of inspriation from being outside. When I’m photographing, I prefer to be in my studio with studio lighting, because that is where I have the most control, and therefor, where I feel most at ease. Despite that control, I also feel extremely vulnerable there, and I’d like to tell you about that.

I know that walking through my door for a session takes a ton of courage on my client’s part. But you are not the only one who feels vulnerable. You are not the only one exposing yourself. And you definitely are not the only one who feels fear.

I have been photographing women long enough to know exactly what it takes to get good images of you, but that doesn’t stop me from being terrified with each new face that walks through my door. You see, I feel just as vulnerable as you do. I take my job very seriously, and I want you to leave feeling amazing about yourself, and feeling beautiful and empowered. If I screw up, that doesn’t happen. The thing I fear most in my job is letting you down.

The tree you see pictured resides in my backyard. It’s a magnolia tree. Every spring it blooms these huge, gorgeous pink blossoms, and it fills the air with a downright heavenly smell. The blooms last for only about 2 weeks, and then it sheds those petals into a beautiful carpet of pale pink on the ground. It’s the perfect metaphor for every single photo session I do in my studio.

That tree comes out of every winter with bare branches. A mere shadow of it’s former self. Soon, tiny buds begin to form. The blossoms open slowly at first, unsure if they will become something beautiful, or simply shrivel and fall short. Soon, they embrace their circumstances, and open into something magnificent, only to find that they finally have to let go, and fall to the earth below.

You see, I have to leave my fear at the door in order to embrace your session. I have to let go of my vulnerability, and find confidence in myself and in what I know, and I have to put as much of myself into you, as you put into me. Together, with trust in each other and a mutual understanding, we can create something magnificent.

 

Why boudoir is a feminist act

I absolutely consider myself a feminist.  I believe we are all equal.  We all deserve to be treated the same, paid the same, and have the same benefits.  That being said, men and women are different creatures with different needs, wants and desires.  Women are often treated as though our needs and desires are bad or shameful.  That double standard (sex is good for men, but bad for women) is so pervasive in our world that it colors how we perceive everything.

 

Many have questioned me about boudoir.  I have been told I am objectifying women, and holding women back by making them sexual objects.  That simply isn’t true.

 

Objectification happens when a person is looked at or treated like an object by someone else.  Objectification is done by one person to another with out their consent.

 

Boudoir is an experience.

 

It’s about claiming your own sexuality, and choosing to showcase it in the manner you deem fit.  It’s about embracing an aspect of your true self, and allowing that one aspect to be free for a time.  It’s about femininity, and the things that make us women.  Most women have breasts.  Women have hips and thighs, and other body parts.  Embracing, loving and showcasing your own body parts is empowering, not objectifying. Women are soft, vulnerable, beautiful, elegant, shy, coy, daring, brave, sexual, loving, kind, provocative…

 

We are many things.

 

Boudoir isn’t just about what we look like, but also about feeling, emotion, texture, mystery, confidence…

 

It’s about everything that goes into making us who and what we are.

 

Boudoir is a feminist act because we are claiming our own bodies and our own souls.  We are CHOOSING how we are seen, and how we see ourselves.  We are making a choice to be vulnerable in a positive way. We are choosing to be ourselves and embrace everything about us that makes us women.

 

Boudoir is an act of bravery.