#FearlesslyFemFridays-St Louis Boudoir-GlamMarr Studios-Spilling the tea pt 1.

Part one of a 2 (or maybe 3) part blog.

Today I am spilling all the tea. 

I pride myself on being open honest and real and in this post I want to talk about how my perception of beauty has changed from when I first started my business back in 2005 as Vintage Imagery. At the time I was looking for someone to take sexy photos of myself, to help ME embrace and love my body. I suffered from body dysphoria. I suffered from anxiety. I was going through a rough patch in my marriage to my ex husband. I needed an outlet, a boost to my self esteem but sadly, I was living in Great Falls, Montana and NO ONE took the type of photos that I wanted.

So naturally I wanted to fill that hole in the market.

I had a fairly good understanding of photography, film at the time, and had worked a few years at a company that did family photos. I thought to myself, “If this is something I want, there must be other women out there like me”. So with that, I purchased my first digital camera and started to practice on my friends.

I had so much fun…but there was a problem.

My perception of “beautiful” and “sexy” was so far off that it wasn’t even funny. I had idolized the pinups of the 1940s and 1950s. I don’t mean ACTUAL human pinups, I mean the cartoon representations of women. I loved pinup artist like Elvgren. 

These images were of women with impossibly tiny waists, curvy hips and legs that were so long that they were literally unobtainable.

Even the models for these paintings didn’t look like their cartoon counterparts.

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Copyright Gil Elvgren
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http://www.thepinupfiles.com/elvgren1.html
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Copyright Gil Elvgren http://www.thepinupfiles.com/elvgren1.html

Lets just say I had a VERY skewed idea of what women “should” look like.

When I opened my first studio in 2006, reproducing the look of the painted pinups of the 1950s was my jam. My thought was that knowing how retouched and photoshopped todays models are in magazines that it would make women feel better if THEY were also retouched and photoshopped so they could see that they were no different from those models.

Ass backwards I know. 

Over the course of time I worked with hundreds of women of all shapes, sizes and ages. I wanted to transform them into living works of art, into a cartoon version of themselves, in the hopes that it would help them boost their self confidence.

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And it did!

But there was something that just felt off to me. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but as the years went on I started to understand what that feeling was.

I was going against my own beliefs.

Here I had all these absolutely beautiful women, perfect the way they were, and I was changing how they looked through editing. Sometimes only a little, sometimes a lot. It was my style, it was what I was known for, it is what got me clients.

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and I was scared to change.

Could women REALLY embrace themselves, “flaws” and all?

Lets get something straight. I was providing the best experience and photos that I could at the time, and they were still gorgeous photos, they just weren’t what I really wanted to do anymore. My clients were already beautiful. I didn’t need to change them!

It was around this time that I finally started conquering a lot of my own body issues and coming to terms with how I looked and accepting my body for what it was. I was finally feeling beautiful. A huge reason that happened is because of all the amazing women I had photographed. Seeing so many shapes, sizes, stretchmarks, scars, folds, wrinkles and yet they all were so stunningly beautiful.

Hundreds of clients and I never once met a women that looked like a cartoon pinup.

They were all beautiful in their own way, the way they were, which allowed for me to finally see that I was too and I wanted to show them just that…

Flaws and all. 

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To say it was an eye opening experience would be an understatement. That was the shift that I needed to fuel my business to the place that I wanted it to be. A place were ALL bodies were photographed and retouched as little as possible. A place were I could show my clients that they are beautiful without all that jazz, just as they were.

I almost shut my studio doors in 2012. I felt so far removed from what I WANTED to provide to clients and what I was providing that it felt dirty. If I could see how beautiful they were WHY did I need to change anything about them?!

I ended up taking a much needed break and took time to think about what I wanted to do moving forward. I ended up finding the perfect house to move my studio into (which is what I ended up doing) and I only took a handful of clients a month, working on improving my skills and living up to the potential that I knew I had.

I finally felt ALIVE. I was doing what I wanted and I didn’t lose any clients as I had feared. Instead, just the opposite happen. Why? Because I was living my TRUTH. I wasn’t promoting something I didn’t believe in.

I was practicing what I preached and it felt amazing!

Fast forward to 2018. The year I FINALLY got to really showcase unretouched, REAL bodies. Clients actually gave me permission. Not only that, they were excited to show their raw images to other women. They embraced their stretchmarks, scars, folds, wrinkles…all the things we are told should be covered up.

Guess what? Normalizing airbrushed and overly photoshop images in magazines and online is NOT ok. As women, we look at these fake images and judge our own bodies against them, even though most of us know that not even the models or celebrities look like that in real life.

Our own visions of ourselves can become so skewed. Read here on why you don’t look how you think you do.

So I’m here to start the revolution I wanted to so many years ago. To showcase real, raw, beautiful female bodies of all shapes and sizes. There is no wrong way to have a body!

Here is an example of the same client. Photoshoot from around 2011 vs this year. The first retouched and the two from 2018 unretouched (minus color/exposure adjustments but no retouching to the clients body or skin).

All beautiful images in their own way with different vibes but you can FEEL the raw, realness of the images from this year…

The images that embrace my message.

You are enough, You are worthy, You are beautiful.

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Here is a special gallery of clients that have given me permission to share their unretouched images. The only adjustments that are made are color correction to the entire image and small exposure adjustments.

Enjoy all the beautiful bodies you see.

All bodies are good bodies. All of these women are beautiful in their own, real way.

Part 2 coming soon. Continue down the rabbit hole with me when i’ll share unretouched images of myself showcasing all of my beautiful, imperfect flaws ❤

Ready to book your own session and see yourself in a whole new way? Visit us at Glammarr.com

Also see more unretouched images weekly on our instagram