Here at Boudoir Collective, we tend to shy away from traditional as we're naturally attracted to the disruptive. Ironically, what we consider 'innovative' and 'groundbreaking' in comparison to what has always existed in boudoir, has now become an expected aesthetic in the fine art world. Jess Petrie's perspective blurs those lines, meshing two worlds for a combination that's equal parts elegant and classic. A photographers job is to bring to life their clients unique personality, and this session achieved just that, proving that style should always complement the wearer.
What is your approach to boudoir photography?
My approach to boudoir photography is that of an artist. I studied fine art paining and drawing back when I was at art college, and regularly attended life-drawing classes. I learnt how to see the human body as an art-form; how the light falls onto the body and how shapes are formed by the light and the shade. I now use the same principles in my boudoir work, but this time using my camera. My clients actually tell me that they feel more comfortable and confident about me taking their pictures knowing I have been drawing and painting naked strangers for over 17 years. As a woman I can recognise the vulnerability in my subjects and I approach these types of shoots with great understanding, respect and sensitivity. Vulnerability is real and it’s authentic, it helps to tell a story, a story of intimacy, longing and desire – each session is a beautiful untold love story. Each of my boudoir sessions are completely different to the next, all are individually tailored and bespoke to each client, it’s what makes each shoot special and unique, and it’s very important. I work in depth with each of my clients; getting to know them and what they are wanting to achieve, this all comes into practice on the shoot, it’s what knits everything together, it’s what helps to create trust.
What advice would you give someone considering a boudoir session? If you are waiting to lose those few pounds don’t, don’t put it off as the opportunity may not always be there. A professional photographer will know how to pose you to flatter your individual body type and make you feel comfortable. Celebrate who you are through beautiful imagery, now is as good of a time than any. I always work closely with my clients before their session, we create a mood board together and make their shoot personal to them, I encourage them to treat themselves to beautiful delicate lingerie, carefully choosing neutral but complimenting colours and pretty fabrics, fresh flowers always work well too. I ask them to think about how they want to look in their boudoir photos and what do they visualize in the picture, I always encourage my clients to have a strong input in their shoot, after all it’s about them, and it’s fun; making them part of the planning and process is important as it encourages them, gets them prepared and raring to go. It also makes it specific to them, this way they are not trying to imitate or be somebody else, it’s really self-empowering and quite special.
What do you consider the difference between boudoir and fine art boudoir? I feel that fine art boudoir is very much like a fine art painting; delicate, romantic, using muted tones and colours, with images that have emotion and feeling to them. A fine art boudoir session is more about the woman feeling empowered and beautiful, where as ‘general’ boudoir can offer the use of harsh artificial light, bold bright colour schemes and quite a play-boyish theme, and the image is tailed more for the person who is looking at it than the woman who is in the photograph.