The Story of Lolo's Boudoir...
Like most marvelous things in life, it began with a few innocent ideas.
Lolo's Boudoir started by a series of coincidences. In my early 30s, I became fascinated with the power of the light in visual storytelling and bought an old Nikon F2 to explore black and white photography. My husband's birthday was coming up and I wanted to surprise him with a book of sexy photos. Inspired by my mother-in-law's ornate home, I'd just transformed our bedroom into a lush boudoir, complete with heaven bed, cranberry red walls and a candelabra, and on a spontaneous note, I asked a friend to photograph me there.
At first I felt like a deer in headlights, awkward and shy, but a boa of black frivolous feathers around my neck egged on my inner superstar – soon I was sexy, sassy, silly and silky. As dormant facets of my womanliness came to life, the initial intent of making my guy remember the woman he fell in love with lost interest, because, I was fast falling in love with myself.
The next day I returned the favor and photographed my friend. We laughed and had so much fun, agreeing that this was such a liberating experience, something every woman should give to herself. The seed to Lolo's was sown.
I began photographing friends and friends of friends. In 2004 I officially opened Lolo’s Boudoir in Sausalito. Apparently, I wasn't the only woman in need of her own space to explore and embrace her body, sexuality, creative expression and power. Since, hundreds of women of all ages, shapes and walks of life have found their way to Lolo’s Boudoir. And they keep coming.
Some come to heal low self-esteem, body issues and sexual trauma, others to celebrate themselves or have a new adventure. Most come with a deep longing to be seen by loving, non-judgemental eyes.
Over the years my job has become a lot less about photographing and more about teasing out the woman within; less about composing perfect images and more about offering a safe space for women to drop her postures and express themselves on their own terms.
The camera help us move past the awkward vulnerable moments of pretense and doubt, and delve deeper into our relationship to our bodies, beauty, sexuality and ever-evolving womanhood. In our photo play, we seek personal and meaningful expression. It's a collaborative process that let each woman find strength in rediscovering herself – fantasizing, feeling awkward, exploring what is sensual, sexy to her, what feels real, what doesn’t.
Together, we navigate the tender terrain with play, humor and honest conversations, and let the experience awaken us to our own skin and re-imagine ourselves.
I've created the book Unveiled to share this intimate photographic journey, and as soon as I can get it in print, I really hope it will inspire you and all the women in your life.
In case you wonder...
The name and concept of Lolo's Boudoir was inspired by my alter ego Miss Lolo, the archetype of a liberated, sensual woman, Virginia Wolf's Room of Her Own and the lush French boudoirs to add a touch of sensuality and decadence.
Boudoir is often translated to 'pout' - a women's room to pout and sulk and take time out for herself. In times when the sight of a woman reclining with a book was considered sensually transgressive (oh my, what might she be feeling and experiencing inside that book and mind of hers?), the boudoir was eroticized by men, who liked to fantasize (and contain) female pleasures within a private room, in the house.
But in Lolo's Boudoir we neither pout, pose or contain our eroticism, pleasures and powers; here we reclaim it, enjoy it, explore it, on our own terms. Miss Lolo is our indomitable muse.