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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

  • Linda - These photos are amazing. I love that you showed so many women looking and feeling beautiful in their own skin. Bravo.ReplyCancel

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

  • Sandra - thanks for your blog Jen. I am kicking cancer’s ass.. I have absolutely no intention of backing down. I’m doing well and want to book another shoot with you!!! Since this blog I traveled to the Cayman Islands, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. I’m living my life and spending time with those who I love and dismiss the cancerReplyCancel

    • Jen Rozenbaum - Sandra – I am so happy to hear from you! My thoughts are always with you my love!ReplyCancel

  • Jean-Paul - What a great story. But it still continues to strengthen and inspire the people around her including me. The meaning in her life brings a unique and powerful voice to this world and it here’s who struggle everyday, men and woman alike .ReplyCancel

  • Shamelessly Feminine | A Sad Goodbye to Sandra - […] Last spring I met an incredible woman named Sandra. Sandra came to me for a boudoir shoot after being hospitalized with brain cancer. You can learn more about Sandra from my first blog about her, HERE. […]ReplyCancel

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! 😀ReplyCancel

  • 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

  • Patti - I have just found you through the link on Creative Live website. I love what you write and what you stand for. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And regarding Mrs. C she looks wonderful but what is more important is how she felt and I am sure you made her feel confident!ReplyCancel

  • Josh - I just had an argument about this very topic with my wife, lol. It started with her statement “we need milk on the way home, but you have to go in and get it.” I suppose I gave her a look or something, and she got upset. Come to find out it was all bc she didn’t have makeup on.ReplyCancel

  • Josh - (Cont’d) I told her I couldn’t understand why so many women do that, because they are (Ms C included) beautiful without makeup! … Then I went inside and got the milk. :-)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

  • amanda spivey - Love love your work so much.ReplyCancel

I believe every woman can celebrate her unique femininity, shamelessly. This is what I live for. It’s why I am a photographer. It’s how I live my own life. It influences how I parent my daughter.

When you come to me and shed your clothing and I photograph you, it’s part of the process of living shamlessly. I offer a safe and wonderful place that allows you to express your unique femininity without any judgements. In fact, just the opposite. With many praises. It is an experience that I have seen be life changing over and over again.

It offers you self confidence, freedom, and a retraining of your brain that you can do something daring and good things come of it. I hear from women over and over that they want to do this, they NEED this – but something is stopping them.

Well now, I am taking away at least one large excuse.

Money.

This summer I am offering 10 spots for boudoir shoots that I call “Name your own price shoots.

That’s right!! Email me what you are looking for in a shoot and what you want to pay. It’s that simple. No reasonable offer will be refused. If I can’t photograph you for what you offer, I will come back with a package that will hopefully work for both of us. (edit: After some consideration I realize that I will most certainly lose money on shoots less than $500. All offer should be $500 or above). As a reference, my standard shoots start at $999 and include a 1 hour shoot, professional makeup and 10 digital images of your choice fully edited. (You can also book standard packages as well!)

There are a few guidelines to take into consideration:

1. I am starting by offering 10 slots from now until Aug 18th. If it works out well, I will open more up in the fall – but I may not so don’t hesitate.

2. I HIGHLY recommend you have your makeup done by my staff. It’s a small added expense that lends itself to HUGE results.

3. Sessions are shot Tuesday – Thursday and bookings start at 10am

4. Yes, You can get a few girlfriends together and all come on the same day.

5. What is a reasonable offer? Well, in my mind it is one in which you are happy to pay it and I am happy to receive it. Please keep in mind I need to cover my expenses at the minimum and since I do pay my bills this way making a little money would be awesome too.

6. I offer products such as albums and prints as well as digital only packages. We accept MasterCard/Visa and Cash.

7. I promise you an awesome experience no matter what you pay.

My email is jenrozenbaum@gmail.com – want a shoot? Now’s the time!!

xo,
Jen

  • amy reinhold - Hi Jen,

    Enjoying you very much on CL! Thank you so much!
    Boy, can i tell you about being a women, being me!
    Not too long ago, i was on Anderson Cooper’s show telling him about how it was to be married to a guy who went to a federal prison for collecting illicit and disgusting photos of innocent children.
    Boy, he had me fooled for 20 something years! I dutifully marketed his business/our business. I was proud of HIM, but, i felt like dr. R’s wife, not Amy.
    Now, as a boudoir photographer in Denver, I feel more like Amy for the first time after more than 20 years!
    I now feel appreciated for the first time in what i’m doing. And, you know, now that i feel appreciated and know more about Amy and Amy’s goals, i’m more confident and appreciating my own beauty. Life goes by too quickly to miss out on thinking and living for oneself and not just doing everything for their spouses day in and day out!
    Thank you for allowing me to share this!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi O - Hello Jen!

    I myself have had the privilege of helping women connect with their inner beauty! Boudior allows the beauty us women feel on the inside, shine on the outside! I would say most if not all of my clients have these photos done purely for themselves as a reminder of the beauty within. If this interests you at all please take a look at my Calgary Boudior Photopraghy site!

    http://www.calgaryboudoirphotographer.com/

    Thanks for you time and I hope to hear from you!

    JodiReplyCancel

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