Vulnerability is the birthplace of love – Why I shoot boudoir

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. ” Brené Brown

Where I began

I’ve been a visual artist as long as I can remember – Drawing, painting, sculpting. Regardless of the medium, my subject matter has remained consistent. People – portraits – body scapes. So it’s no surprise then that when I decided to focus on photography as my medium that it wasn’t landscapes – it was portraits.

I often wish I had started down this path 20 years ago. Imagine how much further along in my career I could be! But I know I was not ready then – even then, I think I knew on some level, that I wasn’t. I had to live a life, have the experiences and challenges I did, in order to get here. And, here, is a pretty good place to be – even if at times a less challenging path would have been nice. It’s formed me. Created the foundation on which I now build. It’s strong, resilient and weathered. (er full of character!)

Vancouver boudoir photographer
vulnerability is the birthplace of love

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love

What shaped me and where it lead me

In 2011 I left a toxic relationship. It damn near broke me. It’s been a slow climb out of that abyss but I’m on the other side of it now and all the better for it.This book opened my eyes to consciously confront what I had been experiencing and helped me to break the cycle.

I was emboldened with this new found confidence to help other women see and value their worth and to give them back a sense of ownership and control over their own bodies, choices and lives. Listening to women share their stories with me helped solidify for me that boudoir was helping me to achieve all that and then some!

intimate lifestyle photography boudoir
vulnerability is the birthplace of love

The photographs I captured, the art we created, it wasn’t “just a nude photo” You have to look beyond the surface, dig deeper, what was the intention behind the image?! It most definitely was not curated for the male gaze. In the famous words of Dita Von Teese “It’s not about seducing men, it’s about embracing womanhood”

As the years went on and I slowly healed and moved onto a much happier time in my life I found that the intention behind my work was also evolving. Once my confidence fully returned I was able to slowly become more vulnerable in many facets of my life.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” 
Brené Brown

Constantly growing and evolving

There was a time that I viewed vulnerability as a weakness. However, I now know that being vulnerable is a brave and courageous act!  I used to think asking women to get naked in front of my lens was a big ask. That is, until I started asking them to become vulnerable on an emotional level. It’s not easy! It’s not always pretty but it’s liberating and rewarding. 

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love

I love to listen to each and every story that brings a subject before me. Where they came from, how they got here, where they want to go, their dreams! All of it. Not everyone shares their deepest secrets and I would never ask you to. I am not a counselor, I am not a therapist, I am not here to mend you or help you work through any struggles that may have brought you to me for a session. What I do strive to be is a safe place where you can explore these feelings and create a visual documentary of sorts. The art we create should speak to and of you. You don’t need to share with me in words your story – just show me. Take that journey in your mind and heart and together we will make art.

Jessica Rae

vulnerability is the birthplace of love

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” ― Brené Brown

Check out more of my work here

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