The Edge of a Gentleman’s Duel
A good friend of ours recently did a boudoir photo session with us and we had the pleasure of unveiling the photos and DVD slideshow of the shoot to her and her husband together. I love getting a “fly on the wall” view of clients’ initial, unfiltered reactions to their finished photographs.
Boudoir sessions are particularly interesting because they can be, well, quite intimate if that is the direction the client wants to travel. It’s one thing to review our work with the lady who spent three hours in varying degrees of dress (and undress) with us, doing everything we can to create photos that will put beads of sweat on her man’s brow and a nice, fluttery feeling in his throat.
It’s quite another thing to review our work with that man.
Now, I have to admit to a cultural bias here. I’m a Southern boy, and this background (and the fact that my wife and I always shoot boudoir together) not only makes me fall all over myself to be as courteous and proper as I can during the shoot itself, but it puts me a little on edge when I meet the gentleman the lady had been doing all that winking and flirting and undressing for in the first place. I can easily imagine, and would completely sympathize with, a Southern guy like me seeing those photos of his wife or girlfriend and reacting with something like, “How dare you, suh, vilate prapriety in such a mannah. I challenge y’all to a duel.” And even though two guys going at it might give Jill some great action photos for our portfolio, sword cuts and bullet wounds cut severely into my motorcycle riding time so I prefer to avoid them. So I’m always a little tense when the boyfriend or fiancee or husband gets a first look. (PC Disclaimer: I’m sure Yankees and Midwesterners and even people from California can have a sense of propriety as strict as any Southerner, so don’t be offended. I refer to Southerners specifically here because that’s what I am and is therefore the mindset I can relate to based on experience and not just theory).
Our friend’s shoot was a “dangerous” one. She came to it with a no-holds-barred approach and her photographs leave no doubt that she had thoroughly revealed herself to the camera (some of the “tamer” ones are shown with this post). I was therefore extremely relieved when her husband did not react to the photos by quickly reviewing the Marquess of Queensbury rules of boxing. Instead, he watched a slideshow of his wife posed to music of the 1940’s and simply said, “wow.” And he followed it up by pointing out to his wife how the photographs had captured the very things he had always loved about her, from the soft curve of her face to the high arc of her self-confidence. The photos, he said, were respectful, tasteful, artistic and, above all, true.
I was beside myself. Jill, our friend and I had created something special. We had preserved a glimpse of things appropriately kept private, but sometimes kept unnecessarily in the dark. A little light (and photography is all about light) can reveal the real and important parts of us that life sometimes pushes into the shadows.
A little light. To Jill and me it’s a rather sacred thing. Our friend and her husband trusted us to shine it. And I still have all my teeth.