A serendipitous Meeting
A few years back I met a woman at a convention. She was nice–passionate about photography and a kindred spirit. I opened up to her about a future goal I had.
I said: “One day, I want to write a book about boudoir photography but from the perspective of someone who’s studied and worked in the field of psychology. People don’t seem to understand just how powerful boudoir photography can be,” I said to her. “They think it’s just a pursuit in vanity, when it’s really not.”
“Tell me more…” she said. And with those words, she’d opened a door. Before I knew it I was laying out an entire concept for a book I thought I’d write…one day. I even knew the title: Body & Soul.
I was thinking I’d get around to writing this book in maybe 10 years, but this woman had other plans.
“Here’s my card. I’m an acquisitions editor and I think you’re onto something. I would love to see a formal proposal for Body & Soul.” Wow. I had no idea. How serendipitous, I thought.
She followed up with me four more times before I finally hunkered down and went through the arduous process of writing a non-fiction book proposal. In order to achieve this I had to research the market–what book were already out there and how was what I had to say about boudoir photography different? I also had to think about who this book was for.
Of course, I knew I wanted to speak to other photographers and would-be boudoir photographers in particular–those who would understand that the boudoir experience can be and so often is so much deeper than just a glamour shoot. After all, we’re talking about body image here. A woman’s self-esteem. Her very essence and identity as a woman, at times. My experience with psychology would be invaluable in shedding some light on these issues.
But I also knew I wanted to speak to other people too. I wanted to speak to:
…therapists who specialized in body image issues, to let them know how this experience has helped so many women who suffered from negative body image…
…to women who were working hard to develop courage to do a boudoir shoot in the first place…I knew they could benefit from the many stories written firsthand by clients who had braved the experience and felt their lives had been changed for the better as a result…
…to women who thought boudoir photography only exploits women, while catering to men…this idea is quickly challenged when you read the stories of women who did this first and foremost for themselves!
I laid out a table of contents and submitted the proposal. It was unanimously accepted. When I submitted my proposal, the subtitle was: moving beyond pretty pictures to making images that matter. To me, that was the heart of the book. But publishing will be publishing and the subtitle was changed to have greater appeal to photographers. Everything else was preserved as it had been written.
Although Body & Soul has only been available for sale through Amazon.com and b&n.com since February of this year, I’ve already heard from hair salon owners, former clients, photographers, therapists and even people completely unrelated to photography! They all agree the book is powerful in achieving the main mission: it enlightens people about the serious issues that shape a woman’s body image; it demonstrates just how meaningful boudoir photography is; and it inspires us all to find beauty in everyone–no matter what shape, size, or color.
I am proud to have a book in the market that educates photographers on the power of boudoir photography. After 8 years in the field, I’ve heard so many stories: stories about prior unsuccessful boudoir experiences. Stories from women who’d worked so hard to develop the courage to prove their beauty to themselves. Stories that have inspired me to work hard to survive in this challenging and super competitive industry. Above all, I am so happy that I’ve had the opportunity to blend my Master’s degree in Psychology from Columbia University and my prior work experience as an organizational psychologist with my current livelihood as a photographer.
If you’ve wondered what it’s like being shot at my long island boudoir photography studio, take a look through the 39 stories in this book. Let these women tell you. I assure you their stories will inspire you, and perhaps even move you to engage on your own boudoir journey.
Wishing you all a wonderful spring and summer 2016!
Illuminating the Power of the Feminine(R)
Susan Eckert owns and operates Long Island’s Leading Boudoir Photography Studio and is author of Body & Soul, a meaningful approach to boudoir photography which is now available on Amazon.com and as a boudoir photography resource on Barnes & Noble