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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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