I’m not sure how I “know” my Facebook friend, fine art photographer Rudi Amedeus. I just know that I felt captivated by the black-and-white images of women I saw on his Facebook page. So, boudoir photographer stalker that I am, I asked him to send me some of his favorite shots of mature women and to tell me what it’s like working with them. Read on for his story, and photos.
I started photographing people around 2005. First as an assistant wedding photographer to support my spouse’s photography business, later as a lighting assistant to my spouse shooting model portfolios, holding a camera and shooting “from the side.” In short time I was fascinated with female beauty and more particularly the way women see themselves in, or react to, images in a variety of settings or moods.
When the relationship with my photographer/model/make-up artist spouse dissolved, my photography focus shifted to fine art photography. I would still shoot make-up, hair and beauty with professional and aspiring models. I would still shoot fashionable dresses and made-up scenes, but what really drove me was fine-art boudoir, nude and erotic photography.
It didn’t happen overnight and I remember a gradual but natural maturing process on how to work with women to translate their desire for images at their comfort level. It was a journey marked by working with exceptional women.
I grew up in Europe with four younger sisters and mom instilled in me a deep respect and appreciation for women, film noir and French/Italian/American cinema. I was one of two, and later one out of six boys in a 150-girl high school. This proved to be a powerful influence still felt today.
Respect, trust, listening, demeanor, nonjudgmental … being in touch with my feminine side and trying to convert this all to a timeless B&W image portraying the impression of the moment, the strive for beauty. Somewhere in all of this, working with women of all ages, reflecting on my own aging transformation and re-found connecting-with-women freedom, I was privy to feeling the evolution and personal growth women go through when they age with somewhat distinct turning points: 25 35, 40-something, 50 and beyond.
More so than men, women have this innate ability to portray multiple personas sequentially, often in short time. This especially emerges when women discover that their real beauty is the acceptance of who they are, where they are in life and how they express this by their “presence” and how they hold themselves.
For me as an outside-in observing, sometimes participating photographer, it is when inner and outer beauty align that “pretty” becomes undeniable stunning “beauty.” This is also where I feel women venture out and rethink sensuality, sexuality, and what it means for them.
Growing confidence, the shredding of old, the “I no longer care about societal or any other approval,” the beginning of new-found perspectives on life or simply the continuation of what was always there in a more conscious, confident sex-appealing daring way. It invariably leads the blossoming of inner beauty with the acceptance of the outer beauty.
I’ve developed lasting working relationships and deep friendships with “older” non-model women I photograph during their journey of who they are and where life’s insights take them. I found the “older” women approaching me at first because of my portfolio work and portraits, my ability to connect with the subjects. Now it is mostly a matter of word of mouth.
Often it is simply about freezing significant moments in their ongoing self-discovery, capturing the beauty “before it all goes away” to find out there’s an aspect that needs further exploration. Or it’s a simple splurge indulgence, about capturing a series of images for none other than themselves to cherish.
I enjoy capturing the evolution, being part of the process through intimate discussion of what they want to get out of this process. I find it to equally be a catch-up of where we all are in life.
Seven years into this process I have material for multiple publishing projects and I’m working towards that goal to celebrate a decade as a fine art photographer. It’s a constant evolution and I hope for many more years of opportunity to be part of so many journeys.
See more of Rudi’s work here.