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I love makeup. I believe lip gloss can actually change your mood, brighten your day. Sitting in front of the mirror and getting dolled up on a Saturday night makes me feel feminine, fancy.

I remember watching my Mom put on her makeup and getting ready for date nights with my Dad when I was a small child. I longed for the day that I could be grown up and be beautiful like her. Now, the times have changed and I am teaching my daughter the ropes about being a woman. Time goes so fast.

Makeup is more than just color. It’s emotional. It’s sometimes a mask. Often it’s a crutch. As much as I longed for the privilege to wear it when I was younger, I sadly find it a chore to put it on day after day.

Somewhere along the line it changed from a treat to a chore.

When I finally realized that it was a chore for me, I gave myself permission to not wear it when I didn’t want to. I am teaching my daughter that I don’t need it and neither does she. Yeah ok maybe I DO need it. I have bad skin. Rosacea, veins, and lot of ugly stuff that I shouldn’t expose other people to I guess. The truth is though, the stuff that I “should” hide – it doesn’t define me or my beauty.

What defines me… what other people see, is not my skin. It’s my strengths and weaknesses. My emotions. My love. The million other things that make up who I am, least of which is my skin.

I am not afraid to show my skin. I am not afraid of my imperfections.

I challenged other women to try the same thing. Leave the fear at the door and come in to see me. Bare and vulnerable, to let me take their photo.

What I found was amazing. Every single woman was nervous. Every woman had self doubt. Yet after a few minutes together, every single woman was SO herself. She displayed the characteristics that make her who she is. She forgot she wasn’t wearing makeup and allowed her personality shine through.

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I went into the project without any expectations, just an open mind. Working with these amazing women confirmed to me that it’s ok if wearing makeup is a treat when I want it to be and not an obligation on any given day. It moved me. So much so that I was brave enough to step in front of the camera too.

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Shamelessly Yours,
Jen

All images shot with the Sigma 50mm Art Lens and the Westcott TD6 plus the EyeLighter

A few months ago I dreamt up a new project I call #ShamelesslyFeminine. The project is all about showcasing women, their unique definition of what feminine is, and how they live it.

It’s a story telling project. My hopes are that I will shed some light on how women are all different, special and how imperative that as a society we stop shaming them. (Don’t even get me started on women shaming each other – just disgusting.)

I believe the universe is always listening. No sooner did I come up with this project did my first woman appear. She was right in front of me. The crazy thing is, I had no idea she was there.

Sandra had booked a boudoir shoot with me but had to reschedule last minute. I didn’t know why. Then one day she wrote to me that she was ready to come in and wanted to do so ASAP.
Normally I would have a pre shoot consult before a session to learn more about a client, but Sandra assured me she was ready and so I met with her a few days later.

As Sandra was getting her hair and makeup done, I was busy getting the studio ready and answering emails. I overheard a few words from her conversation with my beauty team. Words like “Seizure”, “Cancer”, “Bald spot”, caught my attention.

I asked Sandra to tell me her story.

Turns out she had to reschedule her shoot because she was hospitalized with Brain Cancer. Heart… meet throat. Her 5 year old saved her life by calling 911 after she had a seizure. Fuck.

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Then Sandra continues to tell me that in her culture, you are shamed for having cancer. WHAT? First off – she used the word “shame” which almost made me fall off my chair. Secondly, shamed for having a disease that sure as shit you didn’t ask for?! This I cannot comprehend. Shame is a more widespread problem than I thought.

Sandra came to my studio with scars, bald spots and the largest amount of bravery I have even seen in a woman. She didn’t let her scars or hair loss stop her from feeling grateful and gorgeous.

I am grateful to have met her. I asked her if she wanted to be my first #ShamelesslyFeminine shoot. She proudly agreed.

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Sadly, I recently heard from Sandra that her cancer is back. I KNOW she can fight. She has before. I believe the universe is always listening, and if we all send her love and support, it will hear us loud and clear.

Prayers and love and warmth to you Sandra. That you for being my first #ShamelesslyFeminine Story. You are beautiful.

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xo,
Jen

  • Stacey - So brave and beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - I’d take courage over “perfection” any day.

    Sandra, your strength is profound and your courage is something I want my daughter to see in me.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - This story is incredible and this work is amazing. A gorgeous tribute, Jen. Love and light to Sandra.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Zimmerman - This is incredible & inspirational.

    What an insanely beautiful woman!! You’ve got this Sandra!ReplyCancel

  • John - Keep fighting Sandra!!! Stay strong and stay positive!!! I know it’s hard. I have relatives fighting cancer. You get though the tough times with positive thinking. Negativity only begets negativity.

    You can do it!!! ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Agnes - Sandra you will make it through with that gorgeous shining soul!!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - Sandra, you are so beautiful and brave. You are the true definition of #ShamelesslyFeminine <3 Stay strongReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Go Sandra!! Fuck cancer, and fuck the shaming of coincidences. I hope you look at these images daily and that they are strong for you.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Absolutely beautiful. Sandra, you are gorgeous and an inspiration. Keep fighting and stay strong.ReplyCancel

  • Charisse - Sandra is freakin beautiful! Keep fighting & living my sister! Cancer may steal your hair but I’m praying it doesn’t take your joy. May you and your family be blessed with the miracle of much more time together. And Jenn these images are AhMazing! I puppy dog love them! More please.ReplyCancel

  • Waneska - Love!ReplyCancel

  • stacy - Love and the Brightest light to you SandraReplyCancel

  • Sean - You have nothing to feel shamed for! You are beautiful, strong, and brave. Keep fighting and we will keep praying and sending our love support. We might be strangers but we’re all human and cancer sucks! People beat it all the time. Don’t give up hope.ReplyCancel

  • Marney - Sandra, stay positive and strong, and know that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL inside and out. Tune out the negativity, and keep fighting. Sending you love and strength!!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - What a beautiful and strong woman, Sandra! Sending my best thoughts for your continued strength and for healing! Jen, as always, I’m in awe.ReplyCancel

  • beth - amazing blog and photos of beautiful Sandra…xobReplyCancel

  • Randy - Sandra you are the epitome of beauty and strength! Never stop fighting.ReplyCancel

In my 6 short years as a boudoir photographer I have seen my fair share of lingerie. Sadly, most of it has been ill fitted, not flattering and confusing. Not to say my clients and I didn’t make it work. A little pinning here, clipping there and boom… she looks amazing.

I can’t help but wonder though, why is lingerie so confusing? Why don’t most women know about it or how it works? If I had a dollar for every time I had to attach a clients stockings to her garter because she had never done it before and didn’t know how… or a dollar for every woman that was wearing the wrong bra size. Well, I’d be on a beach in Bali right now!

The problem doesn’t end at sexy lingerie. Basics are another whole animal. Does any woman have a great every day bra? One that flatters and is comfortable? Is it too much to ask for the straps to stay up all day?

Truthfully, I realized that even I, a woman with extensive lingerie knowledge, doesn’t always have the best fitting bra or proper foundations. Sexy lingerie? It must be a blue moon in my house for me to pull that out.

Why??

I realized it’s mostly because I never enjoy the experience of shopping for it. It never feels comfortable. The sales women either don’t know what they are doing, or they are just telling you what you want to hear to make a sale. Shopping for intimates, is far from intimate.

I want to change that!

In my photography business my goal is for every women to celebrate her unique femininity, shamelessly. Well guess what, it’s going to be exactly the same in my lingerie business.

I want every woman to experience shopping for lingerie based off these three words:

Intimate
Shameless
Feminine

I told a few friends about my new venture and their first question was… “Will you be selling online?”

The answer is no. (At least not for now). My vision is a much more personal lingerie company. You come to me, or I will come to you. I will personally fit you and help you figure out exactly what looks great on you. I will teach you how to work lingerie. How to attach your stocking (and what the proper stocking to buy are!)

I will help you find basics, and hold your hand if you want to step out of your comfort zone and try on something you never would before. I will dress you for every day, a special occasion and even a boudoir shoot. I will keep your secrets, I will tell you the truth. I will be your personal lingerie consultant, stylist and concierge.

Sounds expensive and luxurious… but it’s not. I will be carrying brands that a mid priced, so it’s a small splurge but not an investment. I believe every women deserves to treat herself to something beautiful. Let me help you find the perfect something for you.

The bonus? All my photography clients get a discount on the lingerie. All my lingerie clients get a discount when they book a shoot!

How to see the lingerie? Simple… email me at jenrozenbaum@gmail.com and we will make an appt. I will be carrying the lingerie in my Long Island City studio as well as out of my home in Long Island. Out of state? Too far away? Email me anyway… we’ll make it work.

Have a sexy day!
Jen

PS… Here is one of my favorite pieces that I bought for myself personally. Oooh La La!

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A few months ago I woke up early on a Monday morning. I reached for my cell phone and as I usually do – started going through my morning ritual. I check the weather, my email, a little FB and anything else I feel I need to be informed that day. This particular morning I saw a post on FB that stopped me in my tracks. It was a video about women and photography.

I watched the video.

The video was showing a woman getting her hair and makeup done. She was getting dressed in gorgeous fantasy clothing that any woman would drool over. Then, it was time to have her portrait taken.

The portraits were gorgeous, glamorous shots. The client looked amazing. You could tell she had never felt like that in her entire life. The message of the video was clear. Come see me, let me photograph you and I will prove to you that you are beautiful. You are worthy. You are somebody.

My heart started beating with panic. The client, although gorgeous, looked NOTHING like her before. NOTHING. It was clear to me that she never felt like that before because she never looked like that before. In fact, after hair, makeup, wardrobe, good lighting and photoshop – she was practically unrecognizable.

(Insert panic here) Is that what I am doing with my clients?

Surely I want them to feel gorgeous and powerful and worthy. The whole day I kept asking myself, am I making them feel this way? Why are we taught that we are worthy when we are all made up? Why is the AFTER picture the worthy one?

What about the before picture?

You know, that photo with no makeup, no hairdo, no photoshop. What about that woman? Is SHE worthy? Is she powerful?

The guilt that I could possibly be sending this message to my clients overcame me. So much so that I took a few weeks off from shooting boudoir. I felt a pit in my stomach. Here I am spending my life thinking I am empowering women and then BOOM, in an instant I am questioning everything I do and say.

It took me a few weeks, a lot of meditation and introspection to come to terms with what I do and my message. At the end of the day – I realize there are two sides to this coin. There is the naked me, and the me that loves wearing makeup and high heels.

See, here is the beauty of women. We don’t have to wear makeup to be beautiful, but when we want to, it’s an awful lot of fun!!

I am all about NOT shaming women, and not feeling shame for who I am. I want to make it clear that I am not shaming anyone who wears makeup, who photographs women who are all decked out, or anything in between.

What I am saying loud and clear today is that the BEFORE picture is the AFTER picture. You are ALREADY worthy. You are already powerful. You don’t need to dress up in lingerie and have your photo taken to be so. You don’t need me and my beauty team. We can’t make you something you aren’t. We can have fun. We can remind you how awesome it is to dress up and be pampered. We can give you some time away from work or kids or whatever you need to escape to remember that you are a person too. We can show you proof of your power in your images.

That woman in the before picture. She IS the woman in the after picture too. The “after” woman would be nothing without the “before”. Let’s celebrate her!

As part of my #ShamelesslyFeminine movement, I have decided to photograph women without makeup on. No professional hair and no retouching. Just her, me, a few lights and my trusty camera. I will photograph what I see. I will remind them that they are perfect just. the. way. they. are.

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Nikon D3S
Sigma 50mm Art Lens
Westcott Spiderlite and Eye Lighter

This is the strong, beautiful Ms. C. She has a gorgeous face and a gorgeous heart. I have known her for many years. I wish that she could see herself the way the world sees her. She is self deprecating at times. She doesn’t have to be. I tried to remind her how powerful it is to take a compliment and to look in the mirror and love what she sees. She was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It feels overwhelming, but I know if she can make peace with it, that it won’t define her. She is still the beautiful, loving mom, wife and friend she is and always will be.

She wears makeup to play up her favorite parts and diminish the ones she doesn’t love. She wears it every day. Except for today. Today she bares her face and her soul. Today she is as gorgeous as ever.

It would be an amazing act of kindness and support if you could leave Ms. C a compliment in the comments below. What do you see that is beautiful? Let’s shower her with love.

xo,
Jen

  • Amanda - LOVE this message. And C-you are a stunner!! Look at those lips! Those eyes! Absolutely gorgeous.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn noll - What a stunner. I am especially taken with your eyes and mouth.ReplyCancel

  • Stacey - She’s beautiful!! Those lips are amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Ivy Towler - Soulful Eyes

    Wisdom | A knowing

    Kissable lips that may say something smarty pants or something kind

    xo
    IvyReplyCancel

  • Dagmara - Great message! and a beautiful photo!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie Kita - Ms. C is gorgeous (cheekbones and lips, OMG!), and so is the photograph itself! Way to go, both of you!ReplyCancel

  • Eric Sanchez - Ms. C,

    I stared at your image for 20 seconds and what I see is a carpe diem spirit! I love the strength and confidence that comes from your expression. I have never met you but I FEEL like you are adventurous and simply a beautiful person.

    Eric SanchezReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Love this post, love your message, and yes! We are worthy as the “before” shot! Gorgeous, I can’t wait to see more!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - She looks gorgeous! Her eyes are just stunning….No make-up needed to see how beautiful she is!ReplyCancel

  • Marsha Foster - Ms. C, you have the most beautiful lips! And your eyes are so deep, telling and knowing. I hope you can feel as beautiful as you look. :)ReplyCancel

  • Mandy - She is a radiant, powerful beauty that is stunningly refreshing to lay eyes on. She is gorgeous, and you, Jen, send an awesome message by designing such a project. It’s something I personally very much needed to hear.ReplyCancel

  • Agnes - WOW. What an incredibly gorgeous woman. HOLY HELL!!ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - Beautiful skin!!ReplyCancel

  • Elena Rachor - What a fantastic idea. I’m a person who loves to walk around with no make up on but sometimes felt like it is “not appropriat”. way to go.

    Ms. C. you have great lips, wonderful curves eybrows, strong eyes who tell a story.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica P - What a beautifully written post and a gorgeous photograph. Ms. C, you look strong, confident, wise, and decisive. And all of these things make you beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - love the post and the message. After all, the before is the after… after we go home and wash our face and hair… “before” is how we go to bed at night, how our families see us, and we are just as beautiful to them. Mrs C looks strong and beautiful to me, enviable lips and eyes!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Wow – I think we sometimes think that makeup is what creates our beauty – makeup is only a shiny bow on the package. Ms. C – you are STUNNING. What I love about this is I see YOU – not artfully applied shadow and out to there lashes and expertly shaded contours – what I see is the depth in your eyes and how beautifully shaped they are, I see your lovely skin, a gorgeous mouth that is both sensual and strong. In all, I see a powerful woman goddess who looks absolutely striking. Jen, fantastic idea!!! Too often, we see women who are all dolled up and would never recognize them without it. I would love to see unadorned women in photos like this more!ReplyCancel

  • Donnamaria - Strong, yet buttery shoulders; deep, engaging eyes; full, inviting lips… What’s more beautiful than beautiful? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Ms C”!ReplyCancel

  • Jules - those eyes speak such volumes….C you are simply gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • maria - beautiful woman. beautiful photo. beautiful message. thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - Flawless. Your lips are out of this world! Thank you for the inspiration to be NAKED!ReplyCancel

  • Stephen Vosloo - You are a truly beautiful, and powerful!ReplyCancel

  • Deborah - Natural beauty shines through!ReplyCancel

  • Seely - Beautiful skin!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - Those features! <3ReplyCancel

  • Alissa - Always was a beautiful woman! This picture is stunning! Embrace your beauty.ReplyCancel

  • Monica - Mrs. C, you are a natural beauty! I love your eyes and lips. Your skin is incredible, too!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - REFRESHINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!!! May your naked heart travel far and wide in the hopes woman (young and old) realize the natural beauty within themselves!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy Earley - I loved this post…and this woman is stunning. Just sitting here wishing I had that mouth, that nose…they are perfect…and the eyes…you can see the depth of her soul; there is a holy light in there…has to be.ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Ms. C –

    You are amazing. Your eyes are telling a story. Here’s to you!ReplyCancel

  • Wanda - It’s so amazing to see the real you by other people but it’s so hard to experience it on your own specialy when life has put you through many negative experiences. It’s a long process and path to walk through, it takes a lot to gain confidence and love yourself but it’s doable. Big applause for those who are coming along with me in this journey.ReplyCancel

  • Helen - She is flawlessly beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Powerful message and totally agree. Ms C – amazing lips, soulful eyes! You are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Sharie Meduri - You both inspire me beyond words! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Terra Cooper - I love this Jen! Ms C is GORGEOUS!!! I wish I was that beautiful without make up—those LIPS!!! I mean, come on! :DReplyCancel

  • Will Pollock - Ms. C (and you Jen, let’s not forget that) are an inspiration. I’m struck by Ms. C’s unbelievable complexion and overall serenity/confidence in this image — those are the first two things. I could get lost in how awesome the pic is in conjunction with the blog post. You’re inspiring MEN, too, at least this one, to see an act of vulnerability put to such extraordinary light.ReplyCancel

  • Tara - Gorgeous….inside and out!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Cate Scaglione - Ms.C, your soul is shining right through your eyes. What could be more gorgeous than that? Beautiful post Jen.ReplyCancel

When looking in the mirror and hating yourself, you are faced with two options:

1. Change everything about yourself.

Or

2. Change your mind.

So, what’s your choice?

xo,

Jen

  • Lynn Clark - A few years ago during a therapy session, my therapist started me on a daily exercise, and I had to do it every day for 30 days. Every time I looked in the mirror I had to pick one part of me, say out loud “I Love You, (insert part)” and then kiss the mirror. If I found myself grumbling about my tummy, I had to say, “I love you tummy, and I accept you as you are.”

    Within a week of conscientiously doing this exercise, I felt a HUGE shift in how I see myself. And after the 30 days were up, the deep-seated body hatred I’d carried around with me since adolescence was virtually gone. I could instantly recognize and stop those negative thoughts when then pop up.

    Change your mind is right.ReplyCancel

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