Letters to DOMAI
Dear DOMAII'm a nude portrait photographer in Dallas, Texas. Since I primarily work with clientele that have no experience in modeling and my services deal primarily with private customers, as opposed to publishing my work in various forms of media, I have often been asked how I came to be a nude photographer.
I've always had a camera in front of me. Since I was very young, I've been taking shots of landscape, weather, and pretty much anything that I could lay my eyes on. Photography remained a hobby of mine until I got into college and took a basics course. The course taught me a lot and started to hone my untrained talent. I realized quickly that I wasn't very good at taking portraits. Photographing people, and their dynamic was a lot more than telling them to smile and taking a quick picture. Attempting to capture them with a natural face or sincere smile was difficult. I, however, became quickly enthused with the challenge and started photographing my friends and family, giving them free "sets" in exchange for the opportunity to practice.
One Saturday morning, I was lying in bed, having just awoken. My girlfriend at the time, Kristi, had just gotten out of the shower and was looking at herself in the mirror. Amusedly, I watched her slump her shoulders forward, stick out her stomach, turn sideways and frown at what she saw. She turned to me and said, "Jim, I'm not very sexy."
I laughed and told her that she wasn't when she did that and that if she would stand up straight, like she normally did, she was the most beautiful woman in the world. I then got up, walked over to her, and looked at her in the mirror. I described all the wonderful things about her body, her perfectly proportioned large breasts, her tummy, and her beautiful hips. She turned towards me and told me, with much doubt, that she wished she could see herself through my eyes. I smiled and said she could, with my camera. She smiled and agreed that I ought to take pictures of her.
Not caring about background or composition, I took some pictures of her with her digital camera. They were mostly of her laying on her bed, stretching, and looking cute with the morning sun causing shadows to dance on her.
I remembered how beautiful she looked whenever we would snuggle in the morning. She would turn towards me and her breasts would lay, one atop the other, in a most delightful way. I wanted to capture that moment on "film" and attempted to pose her in the way that I remembered. Comically, she lay sideways and tried to mash her breasts together, struggling to follow my poor instructions.
We were starting to get frustrated, as I could not convey exactly what I meant, when I had an idea. I told her that we ought to take a break and just cuddle for a bit. Right as I said that, she relaxed, rolled over to me and looked up into my eyes. Perfect! That was the exact beautiful picture that I saw every morning! I whispered to her, telling her not to move. I grabbed my camera and took the picture.
Afterwards, Kristi looked through the pictures, squealing with delight and declared, with excitement, "Look Jim! I'm sexy!" I laughed loudly and told her that I had been telling her that every day! She smiled and said, "I know, but now I can see it."
I enjoyed the pictures so much that I showed them (with permission, of course) to a mutual female friend of ours. Our friend, Claire, looked over the pictures and commented on how beautiful Kristi's skin was and how lovely she looked. I agreed and, jokingly, told Claire that whenever she was ready, I would take her nude portrait as well. I fully expected to get a playful hit, but she just kept smiling and looked through the pictures again.
A couple of weeks later, after returning from the movies, Kristi and I drove Claire home. After a lapse in conversation, Claire said suddenly, "Well, I'm ready for my photo shoot." I didn't understand her at first and then, after figuring it out, was completely shocked. I hid my astonishment quickly by saying that we would talk about it later. After dropping her off, I turned to my girlfriend and asked her what she thought of it. She told me to let her consider it and, two weeks later, said, "I know you are very professional and I know you will do a good job. Have fun." Huh! My girlfriend was going to let me take nude pictures of another woman. Alright, hopefully I'll do a good job, I thought.
The day came and, after much preparation, more study, and a better camera (a digital SLR) I found myself in my room, with good natural light, and my good friend in a robe. After going through what we would do, I asked her if she was ready. She said she was. I told her to remove her robe and we would begin shooting.
Claire was a very lovely, very athletic girl. I had seen her in tight clothing before, but never nude. I had also never taken pictures of a woman with whom I was not intimate. When Claire took off her robe, I was awestruck. I quickly looked down at my camera and told myself, "Just start taking pictures. Just remember your training and start taking pictures."
I moved her over into the light and started taking pictures. When I'm nervous, as I was, I make jokes. And when many women are nervous, as Claire was since she had never had nude pictures taken, they start laughing. So there I was, making jokes with Clair laughing, and again I became awestruck as her breasts started bouncing to her laughter! I wasn't sure if I could maintain my composure, but then a wonderful thing happened. After taking several pictures and viewing Claire nude, a sense of normalcy formed. Claire relaxed and I began paying more attention to composure and lighting than to the fact that my friend was without clothes. After a pleasant and comfortable hour or so, we were finished.
I viewed, cropped, and edited (for lighting) the pictures and presented them to her. She enjoyed them very much. Kristi took a look at them and was amazed at how beautiful Claire was and at how well I had captured her. After that, I ended up taking pictures of several other female friends and had a decent portfolio. Since then it has turned into a profession.
Since I first viewed Domai, I have loved the simple take on nude photography. The women, and conveying their personalities, are what is important. My portraiture is very similar in attitude and I always learn a lot just by visiting your site. I wanted to share my story with you and thank you for what you have put together. On a side note, Claire is still a good friend of mine, and I have taken her nude portraits several times since that first time, and Kristi and I just celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary.