Editor’s Note: Our Body Positive Spotlight is a way for us to showcase businesses who promote body positivity through their brand. This time we are featuring Chelsey Luren Portraits. Chelsey has been a part of our Community for over two years, and I recently met up with her after chatting on Instagram. We had a fantastic time discussing body image, eating disorder recovery, and how the media and photography industry (namely: PhotoShop) needs to change. Be sure to check out her links at the end of the interview and show her some love + support! -Lauren Bersaglio
Tell us a bit about your company:
Chelsey Luren Portraits is a photography studio specializing in women’s boudoir photography in Vancouver, Canada. When I’m asked “So what do you do?” and I tell people that I photograph women’s boudoir, people’s first reaction is to think that I just take sexy photos of girls. I admit that yes, the photos can be sensual in nature, but they’re about far more than sex appeal. Boudoir photography is primarily about self-love, self-care and self-acceptance.
Why did you decide to make your brand one that promotes body positivity?
I myself struggled for 11 years with anorexia before entering into recovery. Five years later I’m proud to say I’m fully recovered from my eating disorder.
Along my journey I discovered boudoir photography, and it helped heal me in so many ways. My background led me to make a firm commitment to help other women learn to love their bodies and move towards self acceptance.
What specifics efforts do you make to promote body positivity?
As a photographer, body image issues are highly prevalent in this industry–think models, designers, etc.–and the pressure is to look a certain way. I make a strong effort to ensure I am showcasing women of all ages, sizes, body types, and demographics in my portfolio.
As an artist and a business woman, I also made the decision to use Photoshop as minimally as possible. What does that mean? It means nobody wants to remember the blemish on their face that decided to appear the night prior; so I will remove things of that nature in post-production. But what I won’t do in my editing process is change the way a woman’s body looks.
We are all beautiful as we are right now–imperfections and all–and that needs to embraced!
At our studio, we urge women to not wait to “lose X number of pounds” or until they’re “in shape,” to do a photoshoot–do it now, and learn to love yourself as you are right now. Boudoir is about celebrating your femininity and embracing yourself with acceptance despite whatever ‘flaws’ you may have. You deserve to feel beautiful and to be celebrated!
Overall, have you found the response you’ve received from customers/audience towards your body-positive approach to be generally positive or negative?
I have yet to receive a negative response to my body-positive approach with my boudoir photography. The way I present body positivity comes from a place of understanding, self care, love, and passion for my career. I offer a place for women to feel safe and feel like they are allowed to be in a state of self-love.
Women are hungry for self care and acceptance. They are looking for something other than the self-hate that has been presented to them in media and society for their entire lives, and that’s exactly what I offer them.
Why do you think it is important for other companies and brands to promote body positivity in their products, advertising, and content?
It feels that nearly every message from society is telling us (especially women) that we are not enough of something, or that we’re too much of something else. There are so few sources that tell us, “Hey, you don’t need to change! You’re awesome as you are right now!”
I think that slowly there is a shift that is happening in our society; but more brands need to push for this to create change. Consumers are hungry for body positivity, and I’m glad to say that Chelsey Luren Portraits is all for helping to fill people up on that.
What would you say to those who argue that body-positive advertising/content “doesn’t sell”?
I’d say they’re doing it wrong. Nobody wants to buy into something that makes them feel like garbage.
Any final thoughts you’d love to share?
Don’t wait to do your boudoir session. Celebrate who you are now. Embrace yourself as you are now. You deserve to feel beautiful and deserve to feel that way now.
During Eating Disorder Awareness Month in February 2016, Chelsey Luren Portraits will be offering complimentary in-studio boudoir sessions (in Vancouver, Canada) to all women who are eating disorder survivors. Please contact us for more details and booking!
More About Chelsey Luren Portraits:
Mission: “Our mission is to make every woman we work with feel beautiful. We firmly believe that regardless of any external factors, every woman is utterly stunning and deserves to be celebrated. It is our aim to prove to you how amazing you are.”
Started: April 2015
Founder: Chelsey Luren
Company Base: Vancouver, Canada
Facebook: Chelsey Luren Portraits