Defining an Art
It seems appropriate that the first post on the new blog be about defining what boudoir is. I think that defining it is important because words and meanings matter. There is a common definition that is fairly strict and, I believe, inadequate. I don’t adhere to it because is concentrates more on the setting that the woman.
The word does originate from French. Its popular usage began around 1730 and took a more playful meaning of a room where one would go to sulk. It does seem that there is also a link to the word “bedaine”, referring to the belly-button or stomach area. The word boudoir seems to relate both to the face and stomach areas. However, also became known as a place to express oneself. At no time in the research does the word boudoir seem to mean “bedroom” to the French. It appears that is an incorrect English adaptation. Even etymological English dictionaries suggest that it was referring to a small and elegant room into the 19th century.
There are two possible incarnations of the word, both center on the woman expressing herself, a definition based in emotion. It seems to, at least in the traditional French language, to have very little to do with it being a specific room of specific design.
When considering how all of this relates to photography, I came up with what I feel is a more workable and helpful definition for what boudoir photography actually is and its goals.
My personal definition of boudoir photography is “Imagery that shows the beautiful, sexy, sensual side of a woman and the emotions she feels from the confidence knowing she is a beautiful, sexy, and sensual being”. To me, this is paramount for my clients to see in themselves.