LIMERICK ladies are throwing off their inhibitions thanks to a local photography studio offering couture boudoir photos.
Boudoir Darlings is an off-shoot of Morning Star Photography in Ballyneety. It is an idea that proprietor, Shauna Kennedy, has had for years but it is only recently that she has had the confidence to go for it.
Depending on the person they can go completely nude in the session - whatever they feel comfortable with. Shauna says that in today’s world countless women view their bodies with criticism and disdain.
“Instead of celebrating their femininity, women go into battle with their bodies to achieve the perfect ideal. Media and cultural pressures encourage women to strive for an image that few could ever achieve. There is a denial of biological diversity and as a result, many women feel embarrassed and uncomfortable in their bodies
“We encourage women to embrace their sexuality and sensuality regardless of size or weight,” said Shauna.
Every newsagent has a stand full of magazines focussing on fashion or celebrity.
“Women buy magazines no matter what age group and wish to be the people they see. They constantly see beautiful images in the fashion magazines that are not the reality. A lot of it is a lie. That isn’t what they look like in real life - photoshop heaven!
“Boudoir Darlings provides high fashion couture shots with a natural feel and slight airbrushing. It’s all about the clever lighting and posing to suit your body shape that will ultimately bring out the inner goddess in us all.
“We offer to Irish women the chance to be a model for a day,” said Shauna.
The seeds of the idea were sown when Shauna photographed Limerick model Alice Carroll in Adare Manor in 2012.
“I didn’t have the confidence to start it then. It has been a gradual thing and in the last few months I‘ve really gone into it. I think there is a niche for it - the high quality stuff not the tacky crap,” said Shauna.
Already she has had a number of Boudoir Darlings sessions with clients and women she has invited.
“There has been a really positive feedback. It is not for everybody but what is? A lot of them would do it as a present for a boyfriend or husband. People come and do it for themselves as well.”
Shauna studied fashion design so can style the shoots according to the person’s tastes. How far they want to take the undressing is up to them.
“They can go completely nude. What I do is I meet the person a couple of weeks before to discover her style and provide a shoot to meet her personal needs. You come up with a style that suits them.
“If they’re not comfortable that is going to come across in the photographs. They start off in lingerie and if they like they can go fully nude,” said Shauna, who stresses that Boudoir Darlings is for women of all ages.
One lady who has had the Boudoir Darlings experience is Anne Coughlan from Patrickswell.
“She called me up and asked me would I be interested in doing it. I knew her since school. If I hadn’t known her I would have said no but Shauna said there was no pressure. I said I would give it a go,” said Anne.
With a Marilyn Monroe theme decided upon she set off for the private studio down a country road in Ballyneety.
“I will be honest, I was nervous. I’ve never modelled, never did anything like that before. That’s why it could appeal to everyday people, you don’t have to be a model.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but Shauna directs you and makes you feel very comfortable. You feel amazing while you are doing it and then you when you get the pictures you have them for the rest of your life. They are something to be treasured later on in life. You can pull them out and show them to your grandchildren,” said Anne.
“It would definitely bring you out of yourself. I can’t speak highly enough about the whole thing - I would do it again tomorrow!” she smiled.
Anne was brave enough to pose fully nude.
“I hadn’t intended on doing it but that will tell you how good you actually feel at the time. What tempted me in that direction was I have a tattoo from my toes, up the side of my leg, all up my back to my neck. The only way you would get one full picture of that would be to strip off.
“She won’t push you, some people would go that bit further than others,” said Anne.
“I am delighted to have it. You could put in your bedroom and that is something I will always have,” she concludes.
Shauna said the exact same thing.
“It is something lovely, it is art on your wall. You probably wouldn’t put it in your sitting room but it would be nice to have it in your bedroom,” said Shauna. To find out more log onto www.boudoirdarlings.ie