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Boudoir photography is not a modern concept nor is the evolution of its ever changing look. Throughout history there has been a desire to paint or photograph the human form. As the genre moves forward from early Renaissance painters, the works of Aurther Allen in the 1920s, to today with the modern day version of bodyscaping, there has been and will always be a fine line of the differences of how people view the boudoir art form.
Boudoir has become very well accepted in the photography community as not only an art form, but also as a way for women to feel empowered. However, a trending new form has emerged with men. I contacted a Jen Swedhin, who has carved our her new niche in Colorado to discuss more about the increase in male boudoir. Her story into this new area starts when she moved to Denver and knew she wanted to reinvent her work into something that was not being done in this way among the majority of specialists.
There are many differences she says between shooting with men and women. Posing for men in such a way to showcase the definition of the masculine form. Light sculpting is key to work with the shadows of the clients bodies. Even the IPS (in person sales) differs in the type of final product they wish to purchase. Swedhin says that typically her male cliental prefer an ala carte option because they want the control and simplicity rather than collections. The majority of her wall art tends to be anonymous or bodyscaping.
Most of the work done for post however for is very minimal, Swedhin says. She utilizes zero portraiture in her male cliental. Her post work instead is done with minimal skin clean up, healing, dodge and burn to etch out highlights.
Video of Portraits for Men - Jen Swedhin Photography
While she prefers the darker portions of her studio, natural light can still be manipulated to bring in depth of the shadows for more softer looks. She utilizes her curtains in many ways to control the lighting as seen in the image below.
The More Intimate Side
Swedhin pulled from her background in female boudoir photography in order to bring the intimate side to this niche. Utilizing environmental or emotional factors in the image such as cooking, playfulness, or even just a simple laugh during a bedroom scene, took the imagery from being about the body and moving more into the client himself that she was shooting.
While there are many technical issues that differ from shooting women versus men, Swedhin describes the reason she shoots with similarities that we are custom to producing with women. In regards to posing, while the look might differ greatly from the way one would shoot a female client, the reasoning behind it matches. Posing men is all about trying to celebrate the masculinity but yet still bring a soft intimate side while in the bedroom. As boudoir photographers, we are often working on shooting to empower women, and Swedhin is no stranger to shooting men for the same reasons. While the community of artists has embraced this form of boudoir, the male population outside of photographers has still some ways to come in terms of acceptance.
Some of my clients are hesitant to post their images on social media, or even in their home as readily as my former female clientele. This is because social pressures on men's body image is not as flexible as it is for women. While women are hearing all body types are sexy and beautiful, those standards aren't as widely accepted for men.
Carving The Niche
While there are other highly specialized photographers in the industry such as Michael Stokes, or Furious Fotog, who work mainly in the licensing and commercial side, there are few who specialize in the male boudoir private setting. There is not a plethora of community forums for male boudoir industry, however Swedhin is trying to change that. While Swedhin plans to branch out as well for the licensing imagery type of work, she still will remain a boudoir male specialist for those more intimate clients.