INK’D: A BLOG SERIES ON SELF EXPRESSION THROUGH TATTOOS AND BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY
TATTOOS AND BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURING Ms. L
Meet Ms. L! I first met Ms. L in a fairly different way. It was moments after she got engaged! I’d been hired by her partner, Ms. A, to secretly shoot a scavenger hunt that resulted in the most wonderful proposal and engagement. I felt so lucky to be the tiniest part of it and I’m so glad these two have photos documenting such a special moment. It was so incredibly romantic. And fast-forward to the three of us being in the studio together to do my 1st ever couples boudoir photo session also featuring their amazing tattoos. We did pics of the two of them together and separate pics too.
What inspired you to get your first tattoo? How old were you?
A poem by E.E. Cummings, it reminded me of my family. I knew I wanted a tattoo, I was waiting to be inspired by something. (My sister and I got our tattoos done together). I have found that a lot of people want their first tattoo to have deep meaning, and I was one of those people.
I got my first tattoo back in 2014, it is on the inside of my left bicep. It burned, something that I didn’t expect, but the rest of the sensation feels like what is happening – several needles jabbing into your skin. Obviously, if it was too painful I would only have the one tattoo, but I have 3 and I am itching for more.
What challenges have you faced in relation to your body? Did getting tattoos help with these challenges?
I think the tattoos made me feel like I could own my body a little more. It connected me to my own skin. When I was younger it was made clear to me that I had a nice figure and that it was a thing others would comment on. I think that learning disconnected me from my body a bit. I didn’t understand the implications or the admiration. But now, I appreciate it more for its function.
Of course I notice the stretch marks, the cellulite, and how aging has changed it, and I have an ideal body in my mind to work towards; but I also have a side to me that cares more about what I put in it, how it can move, and how it feels.
Did you face judgement when you got your tattoos? If so how did you work through that?
Here and there, not much at all. But I was persuaded by some family members, with a bribe of money, to not get tattoos. Often people ask me what some of them mean, and to me some of them are just art. When my response is “because I like noodles” it stuns people a little – it seems like they don’t know what to say. It looks like they lose interest/respect, to me anyway. But you get worse comments and looks for being gay, so it doesn’t phase me.
What advice would you give someone on the fence about getting a tattoo?
Majority of my tattoos were on my mind for years before I pulled the trigger. My most recent Noodle Lady was just love at first sight. I never thought I would get a flash tattoo, but the art was so beautiful and so relevant to me that I just had to get it. I think custom tattoos can have really lovely stories behind them, but there is something magical to me about finding a random piece of art that another human created that you can find yourself in.
I don’t believe that you will regret your tattoos if you put some thought into them. It’s hard to give any concrete advice because everyone is so different. I see the beauty in not having any tattoos, in being covered in them, or having them as hidden little gems.
What were some of the fears you had about doing a boudoir/intimate portrait session? Did those change during the process, the shoot or afterwards?
I don’t feel sexy most of the time, so volunteering for a boudoir session didn’t make sense, but it was always something I wanted to experience. I also wanted to have something to look back on, or do something courageous that would open up my world just a little bit more.
My fears (which were not connected to Michele and her character in any way) were looking silly or ugly, bad angles, looking awkward, judgement or weird comments from the photographer, feeling like the photographer was just doing a job and didn’t care about my experience, and looking cheesy or raunchy.
I was nervous up until the first few photos were taken. Right off the bat Michele wanted to talk to me about my fears, my expectations, and beliefs around my own body. It was comforting knowing that we would be on the same page even before the camera was out. She was interested in knowing what my fears were, normalized them and helped me to overcome some of them. She was clear. She did not hesitate to encourage a different pose, angle or expression, and I would have felt uncomfortable without the guidance.
The thought of another boudoir session with another photographer causes those fears to pop back up, but I would do another session with Michele in a heartbeat, no hesitation. Her work is as amazing as she is. If you are on the fence about having a session done, I’ve solved it for you, DO IT!
Oh gosh, Ms. L, thank you! You are stunning, inside and out! Thank you so much for trusting in me and for sharing about your tattoo journey. I’m thrilled that doing this session ended up being a wonderful experience for you.
I also learned that together Ms. L and Ms. A host a podcast called ‘My Brain on Random’ and they even did a session about their boudoir experience. It made me laugh and cry (happy tears!) and you can have a listen to it here: https://spoti.fi/34uFwXw
If you’re considering a boudoir session or capturing your own ink through photos, I’d love to work with you. Please contact me for a complimentary consultation.
Photos shared with permission.
Michele Mateus is a Vancouver Boudoir & Portrait Photographer located in Coquitlam, BC.