Dear Cate -- You Are Gorgeous

"I have spent a decade feeling invisible."

Meet Cate. Cate is a fellow boudoir photographer from Red Bank, New Jersey and one that is highly respected in our little little corner of the photography industry. Cate had never had her own boudoir session. EVER. Cate had been saying for years that she was saving herself for me and I reminded her of that when we were to both be in New Orleans at the same time.

This is what Cate had to say.

"I've always been sort of a shy person. This is not something that is obvious to most people. In fact, most people laugh when I tell them I have a shy side. I love a good party, I will dance my butt off, and I will do literally anything for a laugh. 

But there is another side… the side I rarely reveal to people. It is a quiet, vulnerable side. that struggles with getting attention or focusing on myself. I never really saw myself as beautiful, but rather smart, funny or creative. That aura was reflected in all the photos of me ever taken. There's the funny, the goofy, the awkward, the behind the scenes -- but I had never really seen a beautiful one."

"It's very hypocritical of me as a photographer, because these are the exact things I try to help my clients overcome. But there I was, doing it myself."

I knew the time came that I needed to do this, not just for my own self, but for my clients too. I had something to prove. I would be fearless. I would be vulnerable. I would let people see the side I so often hide. It would be a means to break free from these emotional limits I set on myself. 

I knew I didn't want to be photographed "sexy" or in a "sexual" way. Instead, I wanted someone who could draw out emotion and do portraits that are intimate, revealing and show who I am beneath the veneer of humor and lightheartedness."

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I cannot tell you how excited I was that Cate asked me to shoot her inaugural boudoir session. Excited, nervous, thrilled, a little anxious. When the day came we had to overcome a 2 hour late start, fading light and minimal space but somehow we pulled it off - together.

The invisible thing - I get that. Like me, Cate is a working mother of three, a wife, a cook, a maid, chauffeur, coach, nurse, professional juggler, etc. etc. ad nauseam. We get into this groove of putting the needs of others first so much that we begin to disappear. I get it. You probably do too.

I'm glad that Cate was able to put her trust in me and I like to think that Cate has been changed by the experience - I know I see a little more swagger.

Petra Herrmann