Beautiful You (Fine Art Intimate Portraits)

Sixteen years or so ago, I was asked by a friend of a friend to take nude pictures of her. I could use the excuse that I was a photo newbie (I didn’t really understand lighting, and couldn’t figure out flattering angles to shoot) but the fact is, I sucked at it. It took many more years to not only feel comfortable with the subject matter, but to also have the vision, as I find most “boudoir” images I see online rather tacky. I was fascinated with the lines of the buildings I was photographing and had somehow made the connection with body shapes, yet the idea for me to explore fine art nudes or boudoir happened after taking pregnancy pictures of a friend of mine in natural light. I had done a few of those sessions before, but this European-implant just bared it all at once. It soon became a game of light and shadow, lines and curves, and it felt like a true celebration of a woman’s body in all its glory (my friend being a renowned musician, I can’t show you her pictures, but here are a couple of beautiful mamas-to-be).




Then it dawned on me: why wait to be pregnant to celebrate the human form? Why not embrace it with all its shapes?

So last October, I set to take the plunge, and found the best model I could dream of to carry out the task. All I had to concentrate on was how to combine the light and the lines… and I was hooked.

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However, it took me taking pictures of not-necessarily-so-perfect bodies to truly appreciate the gift: the liberation of being naked in front of a stranger (me!) and feeling okay about it (the extent of nudity is up to the model but I have to admit, I love the use of fabric!); the self-confidence that arises from seeing the pictures, along with the realization that comes for the model that she’s beautiful, regardless of her weight or her age.
It can definitely be testing at times, but it’s the challenges that make the job so gratifying. They force me to be creative, and taught me to incorporate the form to its environment since the pictures are taken on location (at the model’s place, which is why all the sessions are so different from each-other.)

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Early in March I did a house visit for a more mature woman, and when she shared with me that she would like to take the pictures outside, I quickly replied that it probably would be too cold. Honestly, though, I just didn’t think I could pull off that kind of photography outdoor, especially considering the model was not so young anymore. Then we stepped outside her cottage and I looked around: the place was magical! On the day of the shoot, we ended up “working” for over two hours without taking one image indoor (It was a pretty warm day after all…)
I love all those pictures, but the most gratifying part for me was when this lovely lady shared how much the experience had fed her spirit.


I have immensely enjoyed all the sessions I have done to date, from meeting all these exquisite women, or getting to know them better, to exploring a new, compelling photography path. I can’t really explain the experience, though I will say that there is nothing sexy about the actual picture taking, great mutual respect, lots of giggles, moments of awe, and surprisingly hard physical work on the model’s part (how many times have I now heard of an arm, or a leg hurting the next day!)

Thank you to all of you who have trusted me with such intimate portraits. You are so beautiful!

I stepped unwillingly into a world I wish didn’t exist…

For the past several years, I have been posting pictures on Facebook of bald, beautiful children, and except for those of you who know me personally, or for the few hints I’ve thrown here and there, you don’t have any reason to know why I have been so involved with childhood cancer, and more precisely with the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO).
Three years ago (almost to the date) my oldest daughter Sara, then 11, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A big, unknown and scary door was suddenly open, but we were lucky: she lost her hair without much trauma, responded fairly well to the treatment, and most of all, she is now cancer free.


Not all the kids are as blessed. Most have treatments that last for months, if not years, and even though there has been great progress made and the survival rate is pretty high, not all the kids make it. Additionally, the short and long term side effects from the treatments can be brutal (We don’t know for sure what’s in for our daughter…)
The thing is, I stepped unwillingly into a world I wish didn’t exist, but where I now choose to stay to help as much as possible (mostly with my camera in hands). The local chapter of ACCO (of the Inland Northwest – ACCOIN), was of great assistance to my family while Sara was in treatment, giving her gifts and helping us with the financial and emotional burdens (and now includes some of my dearest friends). ACCOIN throws parties for the kids, in and out of treatment, twice a year, and the first one my family attended in December, 2010 was life changing. It was beautiful and very moving. Then I did what I do best: I took pictures. Sierra, Gregory, Morgan, Gabby, and so, so many others who have all been such precious teachers to me through their courage, their wisdom and their strength (their parents are pretty awesome, too…).
Then came Marleigh. Marleigh’s mom was approached by ACCOIN a few months ago and asked if she would be interested in having her daughter be the featured child in a book that will be published nation-wide by ACCO (It is destined to help small children newly diagnosed with cancer: through pictures and words, they get an idea of what’s to come, and the familiarity lessens the fear). At that time, Marleigh was in remission, a good news sadly short-lived. We still managed to do the pictures for the book (this four-year-old, beautiful girl was truly amazing through all of it!) and Marleigh is now in Seattle, waiting to start a new chemo on June 8th, and scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant on June 14th (you can follow her progress on Facebook).


I will never understand why kids get cancer, why they have to suffer so much, but I have come to embrace the idea that when they do, they touch and bring people together in a truly unique and amazing way. Mary Anne, Patty, Ruth, Amber, Liz, Becca and Marleigh, thank you for being in my life.

ps: Childhood cancer awareness is still pretty low. Research always needs more funding, not just to find a cure, but to also make the side effects from chemo and radiation more humane; in addition, parents and siblings need all the support and the love they can get (to that end, here is the link to an article I read not long ago, that has some very good advice: Dana Farber).
If you want to help, ACCO and ACCOIN are a very good start (just follow the links).



All the marketing tutorials I watch or read tell me I need to be consistent with my blog posts… I tried in the past, and failed miserably. So I won’t promise anything. Maybe once a week, or once a month (that might be a little more realistic!) or more often if I have something I can’t wait to share. I’ll talk mostly about photography and will give you a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes; It may be a high school senior, a beautiful home, an intimate portrait, or a child fighting for his/her life. I may want to share thoughts from events that happen in my life, too, or reactions I get from reading someone else’s blog. This might also be a good venue for me to answer questions you may have, so don’t be shy.

Regardless, welcome into my world!