Boudoir photography helping women to shed clothes, gain confidence
LAURIE BRAND, CONTRIBUTOR
Writer and comedian, Heather Witherden walked into Teri Hofford’s photography studio with a bag full of lingerie, a little bit of confidence and a hope for self-discovery.
“I needed to tell a story, even just to myself, of my acceptance and self-love for my body and its capacity for emotional and physical pleasure through boudoir,” said Witherden.
“I’m not really shy,” she adds. “I’ve shown my nearly nude body at 250 lbs on stage and in photos before, but boudoir was going to be a bit of a different story.”
Witherden said she had to show all the fears she doesn’t express to anyone else during the session with Hofford.
Since 2014, Hofford has conquered women’s fears one photograph at a time. The photographer started doing boudoir in September 2014. She sent out a casting call on Facebook, asking women to show up for a five-minute photo shoot where they could wear as much or as little clothing as they liked.
Hofford said she wanted to share the diversity of women’s beauty, and not just the standard often seen in magazines.
More than 75 women showed up for the photo shoot, and many of them told Hofford how much the photos boosted their confidence.
“I came to the realization that my body was magnificent regardless of size,” said Hofford. “I want them to know what it means to be that fearless.”
Witherden posed on the white sheets of the bed and followed Hofford’s directions.
Though Witherden felt comfortable with Hofford, she worried her face or body looked strange.
“I don’t want to look old. I don’t want to look this fat. I don’t think this is a good angle for my face,” said Witherden. “All those insecurities did come to a head the first time I saw the images.”
Witherden said she loved seeing the unedited images. She knew that anyone who looked at the photo would see a beautiful woman, even though she could still see all of the things she was insecure about, which in perspective didn’t really matter.
“Truth is, I felt like a phenomenal specimen of a woman — a woman brave enough to see herself as she wanted to see herself,” said Witherden.
This is the reaction that Hofford hopes to evoke in her clients — that they are more than just a body.
“They empower me as much as I empower them,” said Hofford.
A sentiment not lost on Witherden.
“My ass is world class, no lie.”