Meagan Elemans is using her weapon of choice in the fight to redefine boudoir photography by using a contemporary space to showcase a more diverse set of body types.
Elemans is a both a photographer and the chief creative officer of her photography company called me photo.
“I really like to call myself an empowerment photographer because there’s really a constricted sense when it comes to boudoir and that it’s specifically for one type of body,” said Elemans during a photo shoot on Thursday.
“We often see, in the modern boudoir industry, a really thin, able-bodied, young, conventionally attractive white woman.
“With my work, I aim to bring more visibility to marginalized bodies.”
Elemans hopes to cultivate a “healing experience” for her clients. Part of that experience involves hair and makeup, which can help boost confidence as people get to see themselves in a more uplifting light.
Elemans also says she believes everybody deserves to be documented and that there is something incredibly transformative and “enriching” about being in front of the camera and really seeing yourself for the first time.
“I like to do makeup in a way that just brings your natural features to light. It just enhances what you already have,” said Meagan Sawyer, a makeup and hair artist who works with Elemans.
“It’s all you under there and it just gives you a different perspective, it just makes you look at yourself and say: ‘This is someone I can be, this is me,'” Sawyer said.
Sawyer says hair and makeup can be a process, adding she certainly notices a significant difference in her clients once they see their reflection and are reminded of how beautiful they truly are.
Despite her love for makeup, Sawyer believes people can be mesmerizing with or without it, and that it’s simply a another tool for empowerment.
After being the subject of the photo shoot for the day, model Kylee Castleton said she felt like a goddess.
“I’m excited to see the pictures, but I’m definitely more excited about how good I feel right now in this moment, feeling really confident with just getting comfortable with putting my body out there for other people to see in all of its naturalness,” Castleton said.
“It’s been great. I definitely recommend it to any woman who just wants to feel that extra bit of self-empowerment or just needs that extra bit of self-love in their life,” she said.
Castleton says she doesn’t remember the last time she felt this confident or good. She confesses the photo shoot helped remind her of the deep inner beauty and strength she possesses.
Elemans says she doesn’t use photo-shop nor does she heavily edit in order to give her pictures a more “genuine” look.
“When they get them back it can be a little disarming to see yourself, but ultimately it’s empowering.
“I think for so many women and people in general, we spend so much time avoiding our own image, and avoiding mirrors and reflections because we’re just scared to be reflected with the reality that is our body,” Elemans stated.
She says people not only leave her photo shoot feeling strong and positive, but they also feel “seen,” which she thinks is one of the most important takeaways for her clients.
Elemans also says she eventually plans to focus her energy on facilitating workshops and speaking circuits to teach others how to reconnect with themselves again.