Empowering Women Through Imagery.

Emily, my newest team member, started using this phrase and I noticed women really responded to it. It did not matter if it was nudes, boudoir, lingerie, romantic, formal, or casual. We did notice the bolder the images the larger the empowerment. Emily has an amazing story about how her images, her experience, empowered her and changed her life; but I will let her tell you that story later this month.

We have always known that combined with the experience of creating them, powerful images that reveal the subject’s true self are empowering. Many of our clients have told us the whole combination has been life altering for them. I have a vision of my purpose taped to my monitor, it reads “I create an experiential environment that enlarges the boldness of a woman’s soul.”. It reminds me that the experience of a session is just as important as creating an amazing reflection of who my client is.

Empowerment is an interesting outcome, not everyone comes in expecting or looking for that. Once they go through the session it is like a jewel uncovered. It is not something I do alone. From Fran and Emily making initial contact, to Jan setting the comfort stage with makeup and hair, and finishing with the amazing images they all produce from my photo-art.

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Photography and women’s empowerment is not new, it’s actually very very old. It was first noticed a year after Fox Talbot ushered in the modern photographic era, 1841. A friend from down the road was a doctor running a woman’s insane asylum. He began using photography to improve the mental health of his patients. It was so successful that a whole arm of photography grew called Photo-therapy.

We have refined the experience with that in mind, even though with most clients it’s not their top purpose for coming. Why it is an empowering experience is a bit different for each woman. For some it’s finally seeing themselves as their lovers do, for others it’s their choices, they get to express themselves with no one influencing them.

The bolder they become, the more empowering the experience becomes. Now bolder is a relative term, for some just stepping in front of a camera is huge. Others going into lingerie, semi-nude or fully nude is their emboldening move. Interestingly most of our clients do make the leap to full nude, which surprise most of them.

While it’s not required, it is what I am known internationally for. That is, our clients tell us, something that gives them great confidence to make the leap.

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The bold or empowered shift happens at different stages in their experience. On reflection, women tell us the first barrier is the moment after the planning session ends with them committing to a session date. It happens again when they leave their comfort zone in the studio session and do something they can’t believe they are doing.

When they select their bolder images it seems to solidify the whole experience, the mind goes “Hey, we really did this, we are really comfortable being bold!”. Sometimes it takes a little time to get comfortable with the bolder shots. Miranda, a tiny, very conservative client initially gasped when she saw her bold nudes come up on the 8ft screen, shaking her head no. Yet when she had finished her selection, she was comfortable enough with her skin to bring them back, all but two found their way back into her album.

So it’s not really the photographs themselves that creates the empowerment, it’s the full experience that does. The images become the anchor and reminder of the empowering transformation.

It has become a right of passage experience, the transformation they tell us, is like turning a page to a new chapter. So many new possibilities become open.

As Emily starts her story, empowering women through imagery, that is the core of it.

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Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.