I first learned about photographer Nick Holmes when I saw, and was mesmerized by, his portraits of sex educator and porn curator Elle Chase. I loved the visceral, velvety feeling of his work and I initially contacted him to see if he would like to be profiled on my blog. That led to my own photo shoot with him, the result of which you see here.
My previous two boudoir shoots were with a female photographer, so I was curious what it would be like to pose for a man. I was excited going into the shoot because Nick intuitively knew the feeling I hoped to achieve.
Unlike my previous boudoir shoots, which had featured my lingerie and outfits, I wanted this shoot to focus on my sexual essence, with the lingerie being almost irrelevant. Our goal was to tell a story, to grab the middle of a scene, to capture moments that enable the viewer to project his or her own thoughts and fantasies onto the photos.
I didn’t buy anything new for the shoot. I showed up at Nick’s doorstep with a Victoria’s Secret bag stuffed with old lingerie and two pairs of $20 Frederick’s of Hollywood come-fuck-me shoes. My friend, L.A.-based stylist Sue Ann Jewers, had coiffed my hair so that it would fall in my face and keep me partially hidden.
I had seen Nick’s self-portraits so I knew he was beautiful. Still, I teetered a bit when he opened the door and his dreamy good looks smacked me in the face like a blast of warm, balmy air.
I started chattering to offset my nerves. He could not have been more gracious. He set his Spotify station to indie rock, and poured me a whiskey and ginger ale strong enough to relax me, yet weak enough to keep me from getting hammered, while I changed into my black top and pencil skirt.
I’d told Nick beforehand that I wanted him to shoot me actually shimmying out of my outfits. But when he said to me, after maybe fifteen minutes of snapping my picture, “it’s time to get out of those clothes,” I felt suddenly vulnerable, despite being the shameless exhibitionist that I am.
Getting naked in front of a female photographer is a little like walking around in a ladies locker room. Getting naked in front of a male photographer — and one with a palpable sexual presence — is another experience altogether.
Nick’s gaze was penetrating, but professional. So in one swift hold-my-nose-and-jump move, I pulled my top over my head and spent the next few hours running my hands over my progressively less-clothed body.
Some photographers take on the role of observer, but Nick was right in there with me, a part of the scene. It was impossible not to be aware of the fact that we were a man and a semi-nude, slightly liquored-up woman, alone in a room. What unfolded was a creative collaboration that evoked the qualities of great sex: desire, fantasy, spontaneity, playfulness, and seduction.
My hands naturally found their way to my hips, and inside the elastic of my underwear.
After awhile, he told me to turn around. There was no implied “if you want to” in his directive. It was a command, the same command I hear in my most cherished erotic experiences. I’d felt more comfortable than I’d imagined standing topless in front of him. But turning to face the wall, and to step into a submissive position, required a kind of trust that I’d only reserved for lovers.
I don’t remember how long the shoot lasted. It was over when I essentially collapsed on the floor. We hung out and talked for awhile. I may, or may not, have had a little more liquor. Then I put on my clothes, kissed him on the cheek, and walked out the door.
It was a surreal experience, sharing such an intimate, charged few hours with a man who was essentially a stranger. But hundreds of photos later, it was clear that he captured the core of my sexuality, and the woman that I have grown to be.