The History & Meaning of Boudoir Photography

Who’s ready for a little history lesson?! It’s a fun lesson, I promise! Let’s rewind to the 1890s to learn all about the History & Meaning of Boudoir Photography. 

What is the meaning of ‘Boudoir’ in English?

French: the language of love, romance, beauty, and croissants. It’s a beautiful language & I love it!  Boudoir is a French term that translates to “a woman’s private sitting room.” 

Back in the 18th century, being gifted your very own boudoir in your home was considered a very coveted wedding gift from a partner. The idea was the man would be allowed into these private rooms, but only by invitation.

 Some women would host their gal pals for a juicy evening of gossip and drinks in their boudoirs, so it is not just a place for clothing. Instead, they are/were furnished to the nines complete with dressers, chairs, chairs, lamps, & sometimes even a bed. 

Woman looking softly into an antique mirror with a towel on her head, applying red lipstick. Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot

What Is The History of Boudoir Photography? 

Erotic, sensual, and intimate paintings of women can be found throughout history.  As far as photographs go, the history is a little more recent. 

Eastman Kodak cameras became widely popular in the 1920s and we have talented French photographer, Albert Arthur Allen to thank for popularizing boudoir photography way back in the 1920s. 

In this era, it was illegal to have nudity in photographs! However, Allen, always the rebel for the shop, continued to snap images of women in dramatic settings with luxurious lingerie & the nude. Allen did get into trouble with the police for his work, but these charges were eventually dropped.

Brunette woman lying nude on the bed with her eyes closed. Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot

The 1930-1940s Pin-Up Era 

The pin-up era was a delight. The images celebrated curvy women in all of their glory, often wearing stockings, corsets, ties, hats, and other props. 

Who comes to mind when you think of pin-up ladies?

 It might be the stunning Marilyn Monroe, but there is another important lady we need to shout out: Betty Gable. Miss Gable was the face of the 1930-1940s pin-up girl photos that were used by the American government to actually persuade young men to enlist in the war. 

That’s not all though – Gable went on to be one of the highest-paid actresses of her time & was the first person to insure a body part, her legs, for an impressive 1 million dollars! Pretty iconic! 

Woman with curly brown hair gracefully moving her white matching lingerie set and skirt.  Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot

The 1970s

An important era in the development of boudoir photography is the 1970s. This was a time when boudoir images began to integrate into the art world, with magazines and galleries showcasing these images. Boudoir photography became a little bit less taboo because of the 70s. 

Yet, every trend has its critics – even in the 1900s! For boudoir photography, critics considered the trend glorified pornography, unable to acknowledge the artistic purpose.  

The feminist movement was popularized in the 1970s, and with it came the push to showcase the genuine woman, with all of her “flaws,” curves, and all. 

Curvy woman kneeling next to the bed in front of mirror looking sensually wearing a matching green lingerie set and heels. Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir.  Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot

Present Day & The Meaning of Boudoir Photography 

Boudoir photography has continued to transform through the years and carve its place in modern society. 

Opinions have changed. Though there still exist the party poopers who consider boudoir photography “glorified porn,” more and more people appreciate it for its artistic beauty and ability to represent and empower the modern woman.

I love how it’s a chance for women to embrace their femininity, believe in themselves, and showcase who they are. It’s not only an incredible confidence boost, but it’s a chance to be vulnerable and recognize your power. 

Fearless feminines now showcase their boudoir photographs in their personal boudoirs (or anywhere in their home, really), which is also something we help you with at Embodied Art Boudoir. From more private albums and smartphone apps to loud & proud displays of your boudoir photos on wall art!

You can get an even better sense of what a modern boudoir photoshoot at Embodied Art Boudoir is like in this blog post, this one, or this one

Are you ready to make history?! Fill in the forms below to chat about your personalized boudoir photoshoot!

And share below what you learned about the history and meaning of boudoir photography!

 

Woman with curly brown hair gracefully moving her white matching lingerie set and skirt.  Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot
Brunette woman lying nude on the bed with her eyes closed. Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot
Woman looking softly into an antique mirror with a towel on her head, applying red lipstick. Photo by Embodied Art Boudoir. Boudoir photography, boudoir photos, denver boudoir, colorado boudoir, denver boudoir photographer, pinup, pin up, pin-up, boudoir studio, boudoir session, sensual photography, fine art nude photography, fine art nudes, boudoir, boudoir history, photography history, 70s photography, 70s photoshoot

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