Sometimes you need a break to clear your head. To reconnect with yourself, get your compass set on your true north, get the voices out of your head and listen to the still, small voice that is your authentic creativity.
This summer I took a step back. I put pause on, well, pretty much everything except wedding photography (because the show must go on). I had some really refreshing time to assess what I wanted, to give my creativity breathing space, to nourish myself.
I started going on creative outings, just me and my camera. I decided to shoot whatever I was drawn most to. I knew that I was influenced by other creators, and I wanted to reconnect with what I, at my core, was drawn to, inspired by. I also reflected on what I was drawn to and inspired by as a kid. Not surprisingly, I was instantly led to nature. As a kid I was always in the woods. I was in love with nature. I was a die hard tree-hugger. When I first started fashion blogging I was shooting all my outfit photos in the woods, or out in nature somewhere. Since moving to an urban area I've tried shifting my aesthetic to be more city-friendly. I do enjoy doing more urban inspired photography, but it's definitely more out of necessity than anything else. If I had my way, I'd be in nature 100% of the time.
It was time to make a shift. I wanted my photography business, my blog, and my work to reflect this authenticity. I found a new passion that merged two things I adore. Women and nature.
In January I started doing boudoir photo shoots. I really loved how they made both me and the women I shot feel powerful and confident. It's empowering to feel sexy and gorgeous. But there was something about it that didn't sit totally right with me. Doing bedroom-lingerie-Victoria's-Secret type boudoir felt...off. There was an aspect about it to me that felt intended for the male gaze. I knew that that wasn't always the case. Sometimes a gal just wants to put on some sexy lingerie and look hot for her own damn pleasure. I'm so for that. But at the same time, there was something about those types of boudoir shoots that didn't feel authentic for me, as a photographer and a woman. I wanted to be about something different. I wanted to create something different
In June and July I was hot and heavy into Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes Ph.D's "Women Who Run With the Wolves" (a book I recommend every single one of you read immediately. Or read again if you've already done so). I was feeling the Wild Woman vibes like whoa. Every word was like, YES. And I knew I wanted to make images that tapped into THAT aspect of womanhood. This wild, natural, powerful aspect of women's nature. No airbrushing, no liquify-tooling away "imperfections." Being powerfully sensual, feminine, and beautiful. I wanted to photograph that. I wanted to give women those images. I wanted to be a part of that experience with women. And so Wildbride was born.
The name Wildbride came from the idea of women who were married to nothing but their wild woman nature. She belongs to no one. No one owns her but herself. She is betrothed to the wild within her. She's made vows to the wild woman in her soul alone, to her creativity, to her mental and spiritual health.
So, quietly over the past few months, that's what I've been doing. Finding ladies who are like, "Yeah, all that? I'm about it. Let's do this" and then going out into the wild, stripping down, letting it all hang out, and making magic happen. And it's making me come alive. I'm so excited about Wildbride. I've been doing Wildbride shoots the past few months, but now I'm officially pushing it out of the nest and letting it spread its wings. I can't wait to connect with more women, bring more diversity in body types and ethnicities into these shoots, and even create Wildbride images with women beyond the borders of the US. Everything about Wildbride resonates with my soul.
Women are incredible, strong, wild, sensual, powerful creatures. There is a part of a woman's soul that is married to the wilderness in a way that escapes explanation. We are so much more than how the media portrays us. Our bodies are so much more than meant for the male gaze to consume, they are sacred. We are Wildbrides and there are parts of us that will remain untamed until our last breath. Sometimes we squirrel it away because it's not proper. Sometimes we only let it out when we are alone. Sometimes we find a group of women who let us tear down the walls and get wild.
After the Jump there are a few more images that are NSFW, and you can always head to my portfolio to see more as well :) Also: photo credit on the top image of me to Bailey, the lovely green haired goddess in the photo above. The water was pretty cold so I got in all the way for some solidarity with her and she took some Wildbride shots of me!