Fair warning, I'm not a great writer...
Hi, i'm Keely of Bruja Betty Pin Up. If you've read my About Me section than you know a little bit of who I am and my philosophy around this special niche of photography.
Around 2010, I was just stepping into the pin up world as it began to really take on a new life in the modern world. Prior to that year, I had piddled around in more traditional photography, starting as early as 16 years old. As of writing this, I am currently 33 years old which means I've had a camera in my hand for more than half of my life. However, as gargantuan of a time that may feel, I feel like I didn't really step into my own until 2010 when I did a pin up/action shoot at Femme Fatale Fitness with my now sister in law who was the new owner at the time.
There's a great many reasons why pin up became my calling- theatre kid from a theatre household, loved old Hollywood films, super into Erte (not pin up, but adjacent), and lover of old things- but the thing that really resonated with me was the inclusivity, particularly for women of different sizes. Despite my mother's best efforts, I grew up with poor body image like most women and girls. I wasn't really considered plus size until I hit 22 years old and my hormonal issues took hold, but I still didn't like my body. Pin up magazines were the first time I saw women who looked like me or bigger than me presented as confident, gorgeous, sexy creatures that were celebrated! I just thought it was the best thing in the world, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Flash forward 11 years, and I get to spread that feeling of acceptance to my clients every year. There are some things that I've learned though.
1. One photoshoot isn't going to magically change your life. It's a constant battle to fight that dark voice in your head that's telling you you're not good enough, or the constant influence of images in media showing you an ideal body or face. A photoshoot is a stepping stone on the journey of self-love and acceptance.
2. The key to a successful shoot is to cut yourself some slack. The goal is to capture YOU and your vessel as it is now so that it can be accepted and celebrated. I like to remind people that I am not a magician or a plastic surgeon. If we spend the day doing hair and makeup, putting on something gorgeous, and setting you up on a backdrop or set, and you still feel like you hate how you look wen the final image comes, please ask yourself why you are being so critical of yourself. Why don't you deserve kindness?
3. This becomes addictive! Many of my clients turn this into a hobby, because while it is not the cure all, it definitely helps maintain body acceptance.
4. Going full nude is the key! What do you do when you're already putting yourself in a vulnerable state to gain some of your power and self-worth back? Get butt naked. I promise you, you will never feel more powerful and in control of yourself than when you no longer have the safety net of clothing holding you back. It's just you, and you is awesome. Plus it's so easy to style!
I have so much more I could talk about, but to keep this brief and wrap it up nice- consider giving yourself the gift of self love, acceptance, kindness, and exploration this year.