Morgantown

350 Sets Of Stories // WV Boudoir Photographer

I have made boudoir photos for over 350 people.

350 bodies.

350 souls.

350 histories.


As you can imagine, the boudoir experience is a very revealing one. Not just skin, of course. It's a brand new experience for most, and new experiences tend to strip us down to our most vulnerable bones. We are childlike in these moments, hearts open to the newness, minds slightly hesitant of it. 

With every client I book, I am taken aback by the trust my clients place in me from the very start. Before I have written or spoken a word to them, they reveal a little bit about why they want to do a session. Some of them haven't felt beautiful in years. Some are on a wellness journey. Others have stories of abuse, medical issues, bad relationships, suppressive childhoods, struggles with motherhood. 350 unique stories to tell. 

I worked hard to curate the booking process so that my clients can get to know me, and hopefully trust me very early on. I want them to feel welcome, safe, and eventually excited for the experience they're about to have. 9 times out of 10, during the first phone call I can hear the nervousness in their voices fall away. Their language goes from, "I'm nervous," to "I'm excited" in just around 20 minutes. It's really beautiful, and I am honored and flattered every time it happens. 

Every so often I will receive an additional text or email after that first phone call. Having established a relationship, my clients seem to feel urged to share more with me after we speak. This is when I hear the real reasons they want to do a session. 

It's never just about looking and feeling sexy. 

It's about finding yourself again.

It's about healing.

It's about reclaiming something that was taken from you.

It's about celebration.

It's about acceptance.

It's about reconnecting with a part of yourself you thought might be gone.

It's about feeling desired.

It's about a new perspective.

It's about believing you are enough, dare I say, as you are.

I will never take for granted the honor it is to be invited on these journeys. 

To those of you who have shared your story with me, thank you. You fill my heart with love and purpose when you do.


What is your story? What is behind your boudoir session? What would this experience mean to you?

 

To West Virginia, With Love, From Paris | WV Boudoir Photographer

This is where everything changed. At sunset, on a rooftop bar in Paris, the first night of our honeymoon. We were the only people in the place drinking whiskey; everyone else held drinks that matched the sky that night--an aperitif called the Aperol spritz. It sounded more like a dance than a drink. Later in the week, I developed quite an affinity for the bright orange libation. 

We were surprised at how quickly we felt homesick in Paris. As a first time international traveler, I hadn't anticipated the loneliness that came with not speaking the language by which you're surrounded. 

This loneliness prompted the choice of whiskey which prompted the conversation which changed everything.


A few blogs back I spoke about our decision to have a year of fun in a bigger city. Specific plans were put on hold to focus on the wedding, but other than that, we were full speed ahead to make the move this fall. We were excited to see where Ricky could go professionally, if I could successfully move my business to a larger city, and to meet new people we hoped would remain lifelong friends. 

Then we saw a group of jovial people on our hotel rooftop in Paris. They seemed to be celebrating something. The gregarious gentleman in the straw fedora had command of the crowd, perhaps he accomplished something. Or maybe this was a welcome home party. He moved through his crew with confidence and ease, readily doling out hugs, laughs and kisses. 

"They look like they're having a good time," I said, a bit wistfully.

"I bet people look at us with our friends at home like we're looking at them," Ricky observed.

We both got quiet for a bit, taking in the sun setting over our home for a week. We could see Sacre Coeur and got our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower from where we sat. The heft of the moment brought tears to my eyes.

"What if we didn't move?" I pierced our silence with my broken voice.

"I'm not sure that's a decision we should make on the first night of our honeymoon on a rooftop in Paris," my continually left-brained husband tightened the reins on the conversation.

Then he added, "I wonder if we're so determined to leave because we're afraid to stay, because we think we're supposed to leave."

We got quiet again. A burst of collective laughter drew my attention to the group of celebrating friends. 

"I love our life in Morgantown. I kind of want to watch it grow, see what it can become, see what WE can build there," I touched Ricky's knee as I presented my case.

"I love it, too." Ricky swings from being a man of too many words to a man of too few, but I let it slide this time. We had a honeymoon to enjoy.


We didn't talk much more about the move while we were in Paris. In fact, we didn't talk much more about it at all until we were having dinner out weeks later at one of our favorite restaurants in Morgantown. 

"We should probably make a decision," one of us, I can't remember who, said. 

I cut to the chase and said, "We aren't moving, are we?" 

"No, I don't believe we are," Ricky simply concurred. 


And that was that. Our decision to stay. It took looking at our beautiful life in West Virginia from a rooftop in Paris to realize we already have everything we're searching for.

When she moved to West Virginia, a friend's mother told her, "bloom where you're planted, darling."

That's what we're doing. Ricky and I have big, beautiful dreams for ourselves, our family and our state, and we want to make them real HERE, where we are proud to say we were born and raised. We have skills and talents that we think West Virginia deserves to have here. We love our home state, and want to be small part of its bright future. 

Happy West Virginia Day! We are so happy to be--and remain--West Virginians.