Balmy, heavy frangipani scented air. A lush garden path of rainforest plants sloping along the coast. Tastes of pineapple, rum, and coconut. And sights of bright yellow, green, and orange. Gently closed eyes and smooth lips turned toward a warm, setting sun.

First of, I have to say that this has been one of the most fun shoots I have been on–ever! Of course, in Maui it’s hard to not have an amazing time with all the magnificent landscapes, sounds of birds, and intoxicating scents of flowers, but the team of Meili Autumn and Bree Rubin who did the make-up and hair styling for our beautiful model Sophie Wall were equally fun and engaging. There is just something about the island life that makes an already fun job even more exciting and these three ladies know it and live it!

Now, the concept I had created for the wardrobe and shoot itself was very uplifting and lively: a bright, colorful, and tropical look – something reminiscent of 60s Hawaiian photos and postcards sent home from paradise to loved ones.

I paired a bright yellow J. Crew Tippi sweater with a cream vintage pleated silk skirt and a vintage Judith Leiber snakeskin belt. The yellow against the lush green foliage with the pop of orange from the coral lips makes for a cheery, happy color palette. I accessorized with white Balenciaga sunglasses, a Tori Burch pearl cuff, and a vintage Hermès silk scarf in muted yellows, beiges, and whites. Despite it being a nod to the late 50s and early 60s this look does not look costume-y or contrived. You can wear it well without it looking like you are going to a themed party. And Sophie looked lovely all around like a young Elizabeth Taylor.

See the swimsuit part of this colorful, tropical shoot here with Sophie at Makena Cove, a secret beach, in a tangerine Norma Kamali suit. Or go to Magnolia Rouge to see their feature and perspective on this shoot.

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Femininity is defined as “the quality of being female.” That’s incredibly vague! As a women’s portrait photographer and a woman myself, I am fascinated by this elusive quality.

So to bring more depth to the photo stories on the blog, and in the hope to shed some light on what “quality of being female” is, I have started a series of interviews with inspiring women, special clients, and thoughtful entrepreneurs catering to women, on the topic of femininity.

Here is a short exchange I had with Joyce before I started the project.

Did you have any concerns about having intimate pictures taken? If so, how did it work out?

In my culture an intimate picture of the body is not something natural. My country of origin is a paternalist one. Women used to serve men and used to hide their body for very long. I always felt different from what the society was trying to impose on me. But exposing my body was always an issue. I felt curious about it but insecure doing so. In fact, I was simply not proud of my body.

What changed the game was finding eyes that admired me for what I am and who I am. The love that I received and I’m still receiving created confidence. And it helped revealing the women that I was and am now.

What do you think it means to be feminine?

Being feminine is the freedom of being who I am regardless of conventions and preconceptions. I’m happy to be a woman and I’m happy the world appreciates me as a woman.

Can you give an example of when you felt very feminine?

When I was wearing that gorgeous and sensual dress close to the Seine in the street of Paris. I was feeling proud in such a romantic place. I was feeling very good.

See Joyce in her portrait photos along the Seine and her Parisian Apartment boudoir photos.

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notes
  1. […] See the lingerie, indoor portion of Joyce’s boudoir shoot and her thoughts on femininity and the experience. […]