Each year since I began doing boudoir photography, I host mini-boudoir sessions in honor of Valentine’s Day in Israel. What I love about my work and empowering women becomes magnified when the experience extends to a group of ten. The energy of the day is always uplifting and nothing short of powerful. To see how women from all around the country and different backgrounds support each other in their celebration of their femininity is very special. In addition, I love how the mini-sessions have transformed Valentine’s Day into a way to not only show love and appreciation for the people in our lives, but to shine light on the love we have for ourselves.
This was Lia’s second boudoir session with me, after a couple years of immense growth and change in her life. When she decided to sign up for the Valentine’s Day sessions, I remember her saying, “I really want to feel like I’m present and connecting in these photos - something to have forever to showcase the kind of journey of the last 2 years.” I had every desire to give that to her, but I have to be honest, it was a lot of pressure for a 1/2 hour mini-session. During her consultation we spoke more in depth about what she was looking for, and when the day came, the session was exactly how Lia had envisioned it; present, connecting, meaningful and trusting. Her trust and ability to truly let go was what made this session so unbelievable, and it made me fall in love with Lia, her story and her beauty all over again.
Here are some of Lia’s thoughts and feelings about her experience, “I wanted to do this session for a few reasons. First of all, I am a single mom, and I don’t see my friends often. So on a really practical level, I realize that I have very few photos of myself that aren’t selfies or blurry shots that one of my kids took. I really like having photographs of the different stages of my life. Now that I’m divorced and my kids aren’t babies anymore, I really treasure the photos I have of myself and them during my marriage. I don’t think I appreciated photography on this level before my divorce. But something about seeing how drastically life can change, reminded me how meaningful photographs can be. They allow us to freeze time and take a piece of that reality, that will surely change, and save it forever.”
“I wanted something physical to mark what feels like… a rebirth. Two years ago I did a boudoir shoot and it was weeks after my divorce and when I was really in the thick of the loss. I had literally just lost about 40 pounds. I was really confused and feeling really out of control. My last session marked a stage too - a stage that was beautiful and sad in its own right - it was an awakening. I’m glad I did it and that I have those photos. But it’s been such a full and intense two and half years, and I feel like I have lived an entire lifetime. So to get to do another shoot, that gives me these markers of these chapters in my life, is really meaningful.“
“A lot of people want to do a boudoir shoot after they lose weight or when they feel like their body looks its best. My body has been through a lot since the last shoot. I continued to lose weight, to the point that my size zero jeans were loose, and my friends and family told me I looked sick. I also had a septoplasty surgery for a lifetime sinus migraine problem and decided to get a nose job at the same time. It was very “unlike me” to change my body like that. But I think it was part of my desire to start over somehow. It was that part of me that was determined to do what I wanted and move forward with my own freedom and independence. All of these huge physical changes happened when I was hitting my rock bottom emotionally. Thankfully, I found my way up.
At first for my kids, and then for my long forgotten self, I started making better decisions and climbed my out of the deep hole I had dug for myself. I started practicing yoga, got off of psychiatric drugs that had unfortunately started to do more harm than good for me, made some huge life changes, and began to reclaim my life. Between then and now, I have gained back weight. But I feel stronger and healthier and happier in my body than I have ever felt. It’s not perfect. There are days when I feel fat or ugly or not good enough. I don’t know if that will ever go away entirely. But that part of my relationship with my body has faded. In its place I have begun to create a deep love and appreciation for my body. I am so grateful for what my body has done for me, for how it has been there for me through these thirty one years, faithfully strong and wise and soft and beautiful. It has housed my three babies, nursed them, and it is the same body that left a dead marriage and demanded a happier life. I wanted to photograph this miraculous body of mine.”
“With its stretch marks, with its softness, with its droops and valleys and curves. I want to treasure this body and not hide any of its’ beautiful story.”
Makeup by Makeup by Shosh