My name is Michele Johns. I am a boudoir photographer with a long history of negative body image beliefs and body shaming from close family members. I also survived an eating disorder. (I'll save that story for another time.)
I wouldn't say I was hiding behind my camera. But I would say that I was HEALING behind my camera.
You may have heard me say that I heal a little with each client I work with. It's true. I hated on my body. I hated my thighs. I hated my arms. I hated my stomach.
Each client would share with me what she didn't love about her body.... to my surprise... EVERY woman disliked SOMETHING. It blew me away. Even a client who I would have thought was so confident and wouldn't dislike anything about her body... did. There was always something.
Knowing that there was always something a woman would say she disliked about her body made me feel normal.
I have a 10 year old daughter. She shared with me one night that she didn't like her freckles. I love her freckles! It was THEN that it hit me hard! How did I miss this for my daughter? I never said ANYTHING about her freckles!
I was so busy hating on my body that I was missing an opportunity to help her love on hers.
It was that night that I shared with my daughter what I had learned.... that every woman finds something about her body that she dislikes. I found a random photo on Pinterest of a freckled woman and asked my daughter, what would you say to this woman if she told you she didn't like her freckles? My daughter answered, "That would be so sad! I think she is beautiful because of them." I replied through tears, "And so are you." It was a moment where we both sat in silence, taking in the gravity of that aha.
I had NEVER considered that for myself. What if what I didn't like about myself actually made me beautiful? Woah.
I had to be open to the idea that the very things I hated about my body could be lovable? Turns out my husband loves my muscular thighs. He loves my arms that lead to my shoulders...my soft tummy that grew our babies. I can't even begin to share how freeing this all was... and it started from something so simple... knowing I wasn't the only one struggling to love my body.
So, I share this with you in the hopes that if you are struggling to love all of you... know that you aren't alone. We are all struggling, some of us more than others. Turns out, this is WHY I shoot boudoir, I just didn't know it. I am driven to help women see themselves the way their loved ones see them.
A boudoir experience is a way to accept and even embrace your body. To feel beautiful and BELIEVE it... and to have photographs to revisit and remind yourself. It turns out that this is why I believe boudoir photography, no matter what is being worn, is a FEELING. A boudoir shoot creates an opportunity and safe space to look and feel beautiful (no Photoshop needed! More on posing another day.)
Whether a boudoir shoot is something you have considered for yourself or not, there are probably things you don't love about your body. But I promise you, it makes you who you are. You are loved. And it's time to love you too.
Michele Johns is an award winning, professional boudoir photographer located in Castle Rock, Colorado, serving clients from all over the world.
Photo of Michele Johns, taken by her 10 year old daughter.