Body Positive Photography » Velvet Thyme

Body Positive Photography

A body positive collaboration

Alexandra, who bravely scaled a few rocks to help create this shot!

On my first meeting with Alexandra from Alexandra Lingerie we realised we both embraced the body positive movement. Alexandra and I work to represent body diversity, so we decided we should collaborate! The next step was finding a team of amazing, like minded, ladies to work with us. I had already worked with the delightful Jessie on similar topics (Plus size bodies in art: A Boudoir collaboration) and she was interested to be involved, as was Alexia who is doing some amazing work to ‘normalise normal bodies’. Alexandra was also happy to model in the shoot, so we had our fabulous trio. Plus the amazing skills of Video Art to film the day. 

Boudoir at the beach

Port Norlunga is one of my favourite Adelaide beaches, with a wide variety of rock formations. The perfect colour way to reflect Alexandra’s beautiful light toned lingerie.  Despite starting with 101 ideas for the shoot, I thought the best one was to focus on a minimalist look – where the rocks, sand, lingerie and the skin tones would seamlessly blend together. Everyone was on board with this approach and excited to see what we might achieve. On the day it was a warm, blustery and overcast. Despite hoping for a little more sunshine, we decided to persevere and make the most of the cloudy weather. 

I love creating a rough schedule and ours made the most of our time across a variety of different locations. Everyone was enthusiastically on hand when they weren’t modelling or changing and helped by; holding reflectors, carrying gear, water, holding up change screens, or just a offering a stabilising hand. 

An awesome team!

Our schedule for the day
Alexia
Jessie
Alexandra

Photoshoots should be fun

Photo shoots should be fun and this one was a blast – both literally and figuratively! Wild wind means wild hair, and I think these pics perfectly represent the day.  We had all decided on a natural look to keep with the minimal aesthetic and the wind certainly kept the hair very much as nature intended. We did have a few calmer moments, particularly around the rocks, where there was more shelter, but the ocean had a strong, blustery, warm wind. There was a lot of yelling over the wind and many fits of laughter, but we all worked together to create some beautiful captures.

Be Yourself

Personality is the ultimate ingredient to create great photographs and these ladies have this in spades. They were absolutely fearless and brimming with ideas. What you don’t see behind Jessie’s gorgeous smiling shot, on the jetty below, was all the hands behind her ready to stabilise her. Although we were all worrying for nothing, because she has an exceptional sense of balance and demonstrated her other worldly skills frequently during the shoot (despite my horrified looks!).

Loving on your body takes work

Body positivity, or neutrality, takes significant work. Often unlearning a lifetime of programming around what parts of our body ‘should’ be considered negatively. We are still surrounded with mostly narrow representation of bodies in mainstream media. Most women grow up with at least some sense that they don’t fit the ‘ideal’ be it in body size, ethnicity, gender or features that are ‘too small’ or ‘too big’ etc. As a younger woman, I was acutely aware of how I understood I ‘should’ look. Described to me by countless mainstream magazines, film and TV.  I see those perspectives often reflected through other women, in their beliefs about their bodies. This is why I think it’s incredibly important to normalise diversity in representations of our bodies. 

Positivity through photography

I am personally trying to unlearn all that body negativity from my own lifetime and work towards being body positive. This is why I think it’s a really beneficial conversation to have with photography clients. Everyone is at a different stage in their body journey, so even if I have the privilege of just starting this conversation, I feel like it’s a positive step. I’ve been really heartened by how supportive clients are of my current approach, I don’t hyper airbrush skin, most certainly do not ‘slim down’, and try to avoid removing skin ‘imperfections’. Often asking people ‘why do you think there is something wrong with this part of yourself – how did you come to this opinion?’. Mostly when we drill down to find where our ideas around beauty have been formed, it’s through narrow body representation in mainstream media and perspectives from peers formed through these representations. 

I think that if we want to change perceptions, we have to normalise that diversity is beautiful – because frankly it is! I was happy to read though, that body dissatisfaction amongst some groups was on the decline. We all have a part to play in changing attitudes and in Alexandra’s lovely words embrace those who ‘lift you up and not drag you down’.

Beautiful you

I hope that this collaboration has made you think a bit about your relationship with your body. Our bodies are amazing, capable and remarkable things – let’s spend more time celebrating them and building up confidence in ourselves and others. I have many conversations with women who have been holding off on a photoshoot because they feel like they ‘should’ look a certain way. Our bodies are always in flux throughout our lives, there is no better time to celebrate your body and self. Photoshoots are about reflecting on and improving your relationship with your body.

The video below is a behind the scenes from the day. There are also more detailed interviews with all of these awesome women that you can find on Alexandra Lingeries’s You Tube channel.

And remember you are beautiful ♡