03.16.17

CAMERA-AWARE OR VULNERABILITY?

I’m having a full-circle moment today as I’ve been meditating on vulnerability. It’s something I’ve always struggled with. Not because I don’t think I can be vulnerable. But because I feel like I ALWAYS AM. When it comes to love, I find myself with zero grey areas. Either I feel that my walls are comfortably up or I could be destroyed at any moment for how far I’ve let myself get into the middle of the ocean. My heart doesn’t live in the middle-ground.

But when it comes to my work as a Boudoir photographer, the same truth applies. And I’ve noticed it in a lot of images I’ve seen (from wherever/whomever). Why do I resonate with some images and not with others? Why is some work just… BETTER? Well….

There’s a reason the world fell in love with Marilyn Monroe in a different way than they fell in love with women like Jayne Mansfield. Vulnerability.

There’s a BIG difference between camera-aware and photographer-engaged.

I loved Marilyn from a very early age but it wasn’t until I decided to do my high school history term paper on the her and her influence that I realized exactly how tragic her childhood was and how that was visible in every aspect of her becoming a star. Of course she was beautiful. Of course she was wildly intelligent. But the most integral part of her stardom was her openness.

Her childhood left her with a gaping wound. She was so innocent, so abused, so taken advantage of… but she remained open because she had no choice. She just wanted to be loved. Her vulnerability was born from so much pain, so much brokenness that no one should have to suffer. And then she turned it into a beautiful way to connect to humanity.

That kind of intense vulnerability is what is so clearly seen in nearly every photograph of her. The possibility of approval… the possibility of being good enough… the possibility of love were things she was desperate for, understandably so. And so when we see a photograph of her, we’re not seeing a woman doing a job. We’re seeing a woman, trying to be loved. Her spirit showed up. Fully. Openly. With hope. With desire. With a kind of rawness, that easily overcame a brutal hair-bleaching & styling routine and thick makeup. Her soul was right there. Almost palpable.

So when I see portraits, especially of boudoir, I can’t help but notice the feeling. It’s different. Yes, the subject is inherently vulnerable in the situation, but they’re not vulnerable to the photographer/camera. They’re afraid. Some part of them holds back. They’re VERY aware of the camera. And it’s so easy to see. Even if the ‘pose’ is somewhat relaxed, you can truly feel how aware they are of the camera and how the wall they hold doesn’t allow them to be truly engaged. And then the viewer… however subtly they sense it, can feel the blankness. There’s a cold feeling in a subject that is ‘camera aware’. The subject may be holding our breath and we may briefly respond in kind. They may have tense shoulders or stiff hands and we may, just for a second, tense our own bodies. If nothing else, there is a difference in the energy. We may appreciate the photo, some of us who aren’t ready for the deep feelings of vulnerability may even GUSH over the photo. But if you really look, if you really try to FEEL it, the difference is, their soul isn’t inviting us in.

There are millions of ‘pretty’ pictures out there… maybe ‘sexy’ even. But the only true beauty comes from being vulnerable. And THAT only comes once in a lifetime from someone like Marilyn, OR from a photographer being able to touch that part of your soul. Entice it. Seduce it. Pull it forward…. enough to make your body & energy believe it is safe. Enough to where you are no longer in a ‘pose’, but you are fully present. Enough to where you no longer feel you’re being photographed, but being SEEN.

This is my mission.

The Art of Being Seen.

CAMERA-AWARE OR VULNERABILITY?

02.08.17

THE COURAGE OF OPENING

Advance, retreat. Advance, retreat. I’ve never fenced but I’ve heard that’s how it goes. For me, on my journey to discover and embrace my true self, I’ve found this to be true. Even on ‘normal’ days. I may come across an article on sexuality or business or love or health… and I will feel the instinct to contract. Step away. It’s too much. It’s too hard. I can’t keep being bombarded with new information about the things I love to learn about, talk about and teach about. And so I want to run away. And maybe I do. But then, I come back. I decide to open again. Just like I’ve done with my heart several times in the past 18 months. I show up, I grow, I soften & expand… and I get crushed or broken or confused… and ultimately I grieve. And then my heart asks me to do it again. And again. And again.

Clearly, I am training for the Gold in Olympic Soul Fencing. And I’m SO proud of that. As someone who already holds a heavyweight title in ‘Being Hard on Herself’ (don’t believe me? Ask literally anyone who knows me), it’s a monumental feat. My sensitive little spirit just wants to run & hide. Pretty much ALWAYS. My heart pounds, my eyes blur, my brain turns to mush… and I’m expected to take on this new information or to open this piece of me… and it can feel like there’s NO way. I can’t do it. I can’t open any more. I can’t expand any further. It hurts. I’m terrified. I’m DONE. But I’m not. I just need that moment. However long it lasts. A moment to say ‘no’. A moment to come back to myself. A moment to tell myself I am ENOUGH. Just as I am. Even if I don’t learn this new thing or meet this new person.

That is TOUGH. And I fail. A lot. And usually when I attempt it, my body & brain will scream at me that that’s bullshit. That I am decidedly NOT enough and I clearly need to learn this new thing or meet this new person and WTF is wrong with me, anyway? But once that kind of violent opposition to my ‘enoughness’ subsides… I just have to grin. There is calm. I know I will find my way to the path that is perfect for me and at the perfect time. As long as I keep deciding to stay open. Daily. Sometimes hourly. Sometimes every minute. I decide. To say no to the panic & the urge to run… and to admit I still want to grow & find more ways to be happy & fulfilled.

Oftentimes, our fear of expanding into joy is so much greater than our fear of staying in the shadow. We have to fight to be in the unfamiliar place. We have to acknowledge our fear and then keep going.

01.19.17

DARKER IS BETTER

follow me to the bedroom…

turn off the lights…

take a breath….

bare our souls…

There is MUCH much much more to say on the subject of ‘dark’ and I’m sort of freaking out in anticipation of it being ready… but I can say this… this is a look that fulfills me on a really deep level and it’s amazing to take my clients to this deep, dark, delicious, sexy place.

These images are from a single ‘Scene’ of the Independent Shoot (just $299 for a limited time).

I can’t wait to have you as my muse. Click HERE to book your Boudoir Shoot now. (more about The Independent Shoot HERE)

DARKER IS BETTER
DARKER IS BETTER
DARKER IS BETTER
DARKER IS BETTER

01.18.17

THE INDEPENDENT

Introducing the BRAND NEW SHOOT… The Independent!

This is a shoot that will be my signature style of Boudoir, and also be totally accessible.
$299-$399 FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! Prices will go up! (choose one scene or two scenes).
All Concepts, Styling, Direction & Photography done by me*.
All out of Martinez, CA (or small, flat travel fees for other locations in the SF Bay Area).

The Independent shoot is the celebration of my transformation. I’ve had a wild 2 years. I have been broken open. I have discovered myself in ways I didn’t know were possible. I AM The Independent. And I want to help you discover & empower your sexy self.

Ready to play with me, gorgeous?

Take a peek at my latest Independent Shoot (2 Scenes), then click HERE to book yours


*Independent Shoot is shot on Digital & Styled fully by Danielle

08.23.16

TO STAY OR TO GO…

Loves, as many of you know, the past 18 months has seen my life upturned. I’ve gotten smacked in the face (and on the ass) with LESSON after LESSON after LESSON. It has been a full plate of uncertainty, fear, pain and loss.

But it was also unbelievable bliss, excitement, freedom and growth.

There’s always that question. Whether it’s with a spouse, a career, a location, a crazy idea or a tie to our past… there’s always that question. ‘Do I risk everything for the simple act of feeling more MYSELF?’ Maybe, if you’re lucky, you won’t be risking everything. But even if that’s the case, it usually FEELS like we’re standing on a cliff & wondering why the HELL would we jump when we could just stay here… at least we’re SAFE, right?

And from that moment, we begin our dance with Safety & Excitement. Because, let’s be real, most of us because of our current society have much more of one than the other (at least that is our perception).

When it came time for me to end my marriage (though it was a mutual decision), it was as if the drum beat of ‘Excitement’ was so loud in my ears that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. My true nature had been carelessly buried so long ago that when I finally was able to touch her & talk to her… she WOULDN’T SHUT UP. She was like ‘OH HOLY HELL, YES! I have finally made it to your consciousness and I am NOT letting go! We’re going to DO this now, so GET ON BOARD.’ My friends are so sweet to tell me how brave I was to start a brand new life… but I can’t really take all the credit. No matter how much I cried, how much I just pulled up my covers and tried to pretend it was all a bad dream… that my best friend of 12 years was still going to be with me & that I had SECURITY… My Wild Woman had a hold on me and she wasn’t letting go for shit. So I took a deep breath, and jumped with her.

Whatever you are contemplating in your life, there is no way to begin it unless you feel SO deeply and SO strongly the value of being true to yourself. However big or small, there’s a voice in you that knows exactly what it wants to do. All you have to know is that if you do not take that leap… will you be doing/being what is true to your inner Wild self?

Beginning this November, I will be helping you uncover the Wild Self, in glorious, juicy detail, and sending you on a journey of Discovery and truth. I choose to JUMP once again!

A Brand Shoot image of the gorgeous Shauna Karine – Soul Doula (new site & so much magical goodness from her coming soon!) And as you may have noticed, my Brand Shoot site is now gone (Poof! Yay!) to make way for a totally sexy & harmonious integration with my current website. Re-Launch coming VERY soon!!!