Why 'Morning After' Boudoir Photography is Absurd (NSFW)

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Why 'Morning After' Boudoir Photography is Absurd (NSFW)

A new “trend” seems to have rolled into the photography world. What is this trend? It’s called the “morning after” wedding photography session, and to me it's a little absurd.

So you already know my opinion on this subject, yet the rational part of my mind is still able to diverge the topic in two somewhat logical paths (even the path that I think is absurd):

1) If I were the bride and groom getting the images done, I wouldn’t care what anyone else thought because clearly I am are already vain in the first place. I obviously see the need to have photo documentation right after I’ve consummated my marriage. This is important - my ruffled and unkempt hair, smeared makeup, disheveled sheets, clothes strewn everywhere. My ass is hanging out of my scantily clad "bride" underwear. Now that is a work of art.

2) But let’s get real: Do I really need images of this? What is the point of having them? Nowadays the only reason us of this present generation take pictures of ourselves is to share online - more importantly, Facebook. Facebook is heavily, and somewhat unhealthily, ingrained in our lives- don’t deny it. It IS the ultimate scrapbook. Scrapbooking places we’ve eaten, friends we met, places we’ve gone, and epic parties that we’ve been too. We even use Facebook to validate marriage. Now all of a sudden the new trend is to document where and how many times we've had sex? I bet Mark Zuckerberg never saw that coming.

An article in Jezebel that originally discussed this topic references an image of Kate moss and her husband Jamie Hince. Despite my previous tirade, I have no problem with Kate moss doing this. I feel like the standard is completely different for celebrities, as they are in front of the lens 95% of their lives. It was probably impossible for them to keep the images to themselves in the first place because 1) they are narcissists at their finest and 2) they make money and remain in the spotlight by releasing the photos to the press.

In this video from Good Morning America, the bride states she plans to have the images framed and put up all over their room. I honestly don’t see anything wrong with doing that – your bedroom should be your sacred place for just the two of you. The room and all its decorations are just for you and your significant other. What I can’t grasp is why you would want something so sacred to be strewn all over the internet for your coworkers, perhaps boss, friends, and relatives to see. One of the couples stated they were so delighted with the results of the shoot, they posted the photos on Facebook and said they were going to show their children when they were old enough. You don’t want to see mommy and daddy gettin’ it on, why the hell do you think they want to see YOU doing that? They got the images taken because they want to show everyone how in love they were? Isn't that the reason for wedding photography in the first place?

I think some of these images can prove to be tasteful and sweet, but an image of you and your significant other lying naked all over the dining room table is way over the top. Just imagine your relatives getting a hold of this image knowing they’re about to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. I’m pretty sure they just want to eat their meal and not have to think about the two of you having sex all over the house. Sure, maybe in the image weren’t actually having sex but who is to say you haven’t before or will later down the road. I’m no prude but this should all be kept private!

 
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146 Comments

I really do not get what the fuss is about. What I can deduce from this article is that it's OK for a super model to do such a thing, but not an average person because models are already undeniably narcissistic? Flawless logic...

I understand the qualms with a couple sharing these on Facebook. To me, just like a regular boudoir session, these types of images should be kept intimate, and Facebook is anything but. Having said that, you're investing way too much into what others choose to do with themselves. Even if they choose to post them on a social networking site, which is tacky, it is still none of your business, and really, who are you to judge?

Many photographers make a living off of photography. I know, it's a total shocker, right? And, for me personally, it's my job to give my clients what they want. If this is what they want, so be it. For Heaven's sake, we aren't exactly talking porn here. It's implied intimacy. Just get over it. It's simply a boudoir session for couples.

spent a long time writing my first comment and it didnt show up? are they moderated now?

From the article: "Nowadays the only reason us of this present generation take pictures of ourselves is to hang on the mantle and most importantly, share on Facebook."

Generalize much? I'm not sure what "present generation" you're referring to, but I'm assuming you're really saying "people 20-30 or so". Of course, not really sure that matters one way or the other. 

There's a great deal of social psychology that goes into responding to your broadly incorrect, and downright silly generalization, but suffice to say that humans have always been storytellers. It's why campfire stories exist. It's why fiction books are written. It's why movies are produced. It's why the first and the current pictures were taken. We're documenting our lives in a why never possible until the last few years. We're telling stories for a vast number of reasons, not all of them narcissistic as you imply. 

I think many of the shots shown above are beautiful, impressive work. I don't think that nudity or even post-sex photography is gross. The context and the background of *when* these photos were taken is between the models and maybe, maybe the photographer. 

Personally, I think the idea of sharing such content (with future kids or on facebook, for instance) is silly and not something I'd do. But then again, I also think that the plethora of 20-something girls taking pictures with their girl friends with their faces smashed together are ridiculous too. I think that people who commission an oil painting of their family to hang above the fireplace is ridiculous.  But so what? This isn't for me to decide in either case, except where I'm part of the composition and/or part of the decision to share/post/mount. 

There are really two strains of thought this article is based on: 

1. We shouldn't be posting/sharing/hanging/mounting as much as we do today
2. Wedding night/next day photography is creepy

Both of those topics would make an interesting *individual* article, but when you combine both into one conversation, you short sheet both topics. 

I find most times the comments on FS are either super negative or super positive.  Seems like a lot of arrogance in the photographic community and I am not sure why.  Just because you have something to say does not mean you should say it.  

Eddie11's picture

So basically what this article and some of these comments are saying is to also stop shooting porn videos right?
People have money and desires and it's up to them to do whatever they want as well as it is up to you to watch these. If you don't want to, you don't have to.

What's the problem? It's all good.

This type of photography has been around forever, it's called .... PORN :-)

John Godwin's picture

This kind of work is just terrible. It's appealing to the deepest arrogance of couples who actually think their banal bedroom exploits are worth immortalising. The bust of Julius Caesar was worth immortalising. I'd even argue that Lady Gaga is worth immortalising. But you, half-naked in the shower getting man-handled by some slobbering pea-headed gargoyle? Not so much.

The colour shot is quite possibly the most nauseating photograph I've ever seen in my life. 

There's always the risk of seeming boring or prudish in disagreeing with this kind of thing, but this genre of photography is right up there with all the worst elements of our business.

Wow! I have to say this is the first time I come here and I was directed straight to this article. I haven't read a lot of other things you guys have here but I agree with most people in this thread. This is outrageous! I have done images like these and they are amazing memories. To show your children how deeply in love and infatuated you were with each other is bad?  How is that wrong? More than anything, FB like most other social networking sites, are about sharing things that mean the most to you, with those closer to you. No one was naked. The table can be cleaned ;) lol  There was nothing 'disgusting' about these images and if your boss or friends ever saw them, this would just confirm what they already know; 'you are in love and married' that's it!
Lauren, you must have a reason to go out of your box for this and I hope you can get over it bc as a photographer, for you to attack someone's art, it's just unbelievable. Respect others so they respect you in return. People are free to do as they like. I personally do not like to post many of my boudoir images bc I respect my client's privacy, but if I send them to my client and they decide to upload and share, it wont bother me a bit! Maybe you should kick it up a notch and be a bit more creative :) It's a good feeling to do something creatively amazing <3

Lauren Jonas from Fstoppers needs to die.

PGA Studio's picture

To each his own!

Hi everyone,thanks for your support and realizing this article is crap.  Please read my response to Fstoppers and other publications here.  
http://thephotobrigade.com/tag/michelle-jonne/

For those that think this work is "terrible" or "narcissistic", I would like to see what you do and not to mention...get a life!  With all the sh*t going on in the world, love is beautiful and photography is art.

Two words: SOUTH CAROLINA

To say that sexy images (whether "morning after", or non-morning-after couples boudoir, or "regular" boudoir, or fine art nudes, or Victoria's Secret catalog/Sports Illustrated Swimsuit pics/Dove Soap ads) should not be shared on the internet...Well, that automatically presumes something shameful or something that must be hidden about sex, sexuality, nudity, and the human body. Some of us don't happen to believe any of it is shameful or needs to be hidden. Some of us even feel society needs to view it all as natural, beautiful, and perfectly acceptable to be shared if those involved see fit. Don't like it? Don't look. And to make a distinction between celebrities/models and "normal" people in this context is bothersome to me as well. Regular people have just as much right to celebrate their sexuality, beauty, bodies, whatever as any star... And if the way they choose to celebrate that is to capture, view, and share it, I see nothing wrong with that.

Wow, this author is completely off the mark.

Every person who pays to be put in front of the camera is a narcissist, to some degree. If they weren't, they wouldn't care about hair, makeup, posing or hanging their portraits. The notion that ANY kind of personal portrait is "unnecessary" belies the author's utter ignorance of this industry and the people who support it.

This kind of narrow- and close-minded prudishness is what truly "needs to die". Morning After sessions celebrate love, every bit the perfect pairing for wedding photography. The two are inexorably linked. The fact that the author doesn't get that in the least points towards a lack of empathy and serious intimacy issues.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Doesn't necessarily mean it's right.

This type of photography is no different then Couples Boudoir and there is nothing wrong with it. The author needs to open her mind. Don't care what kind of degree you have nor where it came from. All I see is a "Natural Light Photographer" which tells me I don't have a physical studio or own any lights and if I did I wouldn't know how to use them.

Jerry's picture

The entire genre is for the silly, self absorbed, narcissistic, and hopelessly lost generation of adults trapped in their adolescent past.

I agree, these are not classy at all. When you do wedding photos and boudoir, I think it's important to make them as classy as possible.

Also, I think wedding photos and boudoir photos should remain separate. I didn't mean to imply that I think they should go together, because they shouldn't, in my opinion.

Michael Adkins's picture

Don't be a prude. The images above are tastefully done and show love and emotion. Not raw sex. We get that idea. But really, showing intendancy, well we show that in engagement images. But I am only judging from the ones shown above. The ones on the cutting room floor my be totally different.

HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY....

Stop watering down the meaning of NSFW. When I click on NSFW, I want NSFW, dangit!!!!

:)

:)

Undrell Maholmes's picture

Great article! Spot on!

RABBLE-RABBLE-RABBLE-RABBLE-RABBLE...
Someone is still making more money than you.

Chill out guys! I actually like the fact this article being included in the site, that's what makes the site more interesting to read. Not every piece has to be a tutorial, if you hasn't made it by now, some individual thinking and personal artistic style are probably exactly what you need, not learning how to back up photo in Lightroom. Photography is subjective, of course your client can tell you what to shoot, but you can still think what you think right? it's not always about making a living.

And Yes, It's absurd to photograph morning-after! what's next, the "last night"? LOL

You want to remember some experiences you've gone through.
The case is that they should be intimate, personal, private, so their meaning and value cannot be corrupted by people that were not involved in the experience. It is not about being prude. It is about procuring a symbol.

When, in a future, you look again at those photos, they will mean something to you, and you will recall the experience. When someone was not involved in that experience, they will only see a couple "the day after", and that's the turning point: the very meaning and value will erode: the symbol is destroyed. It is another product in the market that can go from hand to hand.

It is not the act of hiring a photographer (it is up to the couple if they want to be photographed "the day after" or not), it is the act of sharing in social media that empties the symbol. Sharing for approval? Sharing to show off? Sharing for vanity? Sharing because social media "invites" us to do so? Sharing because if we don't share we're not immersed in the trend? Is this last thing what counts as the link and not the experience in a photo?

An aspect of art is to provide a kind of knowledge/experience not accesible readily, but in a lasting way; a kind of knowledge only penetrable to those who "feel" the link. Yes, another aspect is being communal. And that's why music is communal, that's why some bands have asked people to refrain from snapshooting in concerts (aside the economical aspect, of course); that's why some kind of art cannot be understood: perspective, a symbolic form, was not understood for an oriental some centuries ago.

Art is not aesthetics just as asking us to keep the photos "the day after" private is not being prude.

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