Although most boudoir photographs are taken for husbands or lovers, photographer, Ricardo André, says the real reason women come to him for photo shoots is because they want to have an experience in which they can feel beautiful and pampered and sensual. I did a boudoir photo shoot because I was curious.
Ricardo’s Harlem studio boasts a wardrobe of sexy dresses, lingerie, shoes and accessories. After Ricardo’s assistant kitted me out and gave me champagne, Ricardo started taking photographs of me wearing a dress in the hallway. He told me to think about a character in the novel I’m working on. This was somewhat problematic because my character has a higher capacity for champagne than I do.
After the hallway shots, we moved on to lingerie photographs on the bed. One of Ricardo’s standards is the lying on one’s back with heels on the wall shot. By this time, my character had drunk too much champagne, so the shoot officially ended here.
I returned to Ricardo’s studio to shoot a video about the experience, and this brought up an interesting question. My eyes were only visible in one of the photographs. When I showed them to a female friend, she said, “It’s like he’s removed your soul. If the eyes are the window to the soul, why would you take them out?”
“Why don’t you put eyes in most of your pictures?” I asked Ricardo.
“If you’re looking at me,” Ricardo said, “you’re acting. You’re thinking about how I’m seeing you. But if you’re in yourself, you’re feeling the moment, and you’re expressing that through your body. I can see what a woman is thinking through the way she moves and the way she places herself.”
Someone once said, “The eyes say what the mouth cannot.” But the body has a different language, perhaps just as apt to reveal secrets—or as easy to misunderstand—as words.