Women in England are different
They would not want nudes done.
I met Kate on the way to the awards banquet for the SWPP International Photography Convention in England. She made her statement after learning that I create nude portraits. She explained that nearly all the women of England could use it but none would do a nude session out of fear and insecurity. She explained the climate between the sexes made it insurmountable. She believed it was even more unlikely idea for those not in a relationship.
I was puzzled because my experience photographing English women in my travels to the British Isles was at odds with that. But she was sure. To prove it she asked the first three women we encounter as we entered the banquet hall. The answers surprised one of us.
The first woman was someone that she knew. The woman laughed telling us she had already done it; loved it; her husband loved it; would do it again with barely an excuse. Kate was taken aback. Checking to see if she had been pressured, nervous or scared before she started, Kate’s queries were met with chuckles. The woman’s eyes sparkled, as she replied no to each question.
The next woman was a photographer’s girlfriend. She knew who I was, so her response was that if the session was with me, she would do it in a minute. Her boyfriend, the photographer joked he would ask to take notes about lighting setups. She smacked him, so I guess she thought that was not the right comment. But they both laughed so it ended well.
The last woman, was a stranger to us both. She could have been some photographer’s daughter or employee. Her name was Samantha and she did not have a partner in life at the moment. She said she thought it would be scary, but she smiled, a few bottles of wine might get her over that. She said she would do it, but for herself, to feel bolder, maybe to prove something to herself.
I remember one of the speakers, Victoria, had declared the same thing during her presentation. She was an honest woman, fearless and transparent. She was showing the eager faces in the presentation room her first horrible financial mistakes. Nothing from her journey to this point of her success was off limits or hidden. She was asking random people what their photography interest was along with what they thought was the product that clients came to them for. She tagged me.
I explained that while I do nude portraits, it was the experience, the transformation to become bolder, to see themselves differently. She squealed then turned to the audience. He is right she said, I did it for just those reasons. It started with terror and self doubt about the idea, but it was thrilling, a huge confidence builder. I was watching her as she said that, reflecting on what she had taken on and achieved. I would not have thought she needed any more confidence.
I don’t think it’s actually the getting nude that is scary; I think it hides what is the real fear. What will we look like, what will we reveal when there are no barriers, no shields. There is the hope that they picked their photographer well, that he or she will live up to the hope, the trust to deliver the experience, the transformation they need right at that moment.
For most women, I believe, it’s time. It’s time for the experience they need, often whether they even know it or not.