I recently discovered the most wonderful business just a short walk from where I live. It’s called Shameless and their name connects to their mission, which is what first caught my attention when I read about them. Tell me if you aren’t utterly captivated after reading this:
“In a world full of fantasy images of models and movie stars, Shameless is working to create a space for women to feel safe, beautiful, and empowered. The tools of makeup, lighting, and photography can create images that are part fantasy, part reality. It is a powerful thing to enter the realm of fantasy, and to know that you can do so whenever you choose. No model or movie star owns the realm of fantasy — we all do. In some small way, we hope that our business can help women to feel more empowered and embodied — and to see femininity as a space of play and possibility rather than shame.
We’re in this to prove that YOU can be a bombshell, no matter what shape, size, age, color, or ability. We’re here to help every step of the way — from wardrobe to makeup to hairstyling to pose & expression coaching — so that you can see your own beauty more clearly.” (Words from their website, bold emphasis my own.)
I went to look at their photos on their site and was BLOWN AWAY. They were doing exactly what they set out to do over and over again, shot after shot. Yes!!! What a celebration of the female form! I had to meet the women who made this happen. They capture a woman’s beauty; they make her a star; and, then, they present proof in photo after photo, so that she is sure to see it too.
Sophie Swinelle, founder and photographer of Shameless NY and SF, opened the first Shameless studio in NY in 2009 and two quick years later expanded to SF. Corey Lynn is the principal photographer for the SF studio.
They showed me how they make women beautiful and I showed them my methods with personal colors. Sophie is on the left, and Carey, on the right.
Both are women with poise and grace, and completely approachable, too (perfect for those who want to do this but who are also camera shy). Their studio is neatly organized with clothes (vintage and vintage inspired recreations), jewelry and props on one side. Clothes are pinned to fit: shoes they have in all sizes.
Finished Mini Palettes incorporating hair, eye, blush and lipstick type colors:
Perhaps even more fabulous than the clothes to choose from at the start and the photos to see at the end, is the depth of the process. When a new client calls (or a repeat client calls back), the Shameless staff work with the client to come up with an idea to execute. Sophie asks women about secret dreams because, after all, this is part make believe! Why not make it all real, briefly, and then photograph it to cherish for ever? She gives, as an example, someone who always wanted to sing but stage fright kept her back. They’ll get her a vintage microphone and shine a spotlight on her! The shoot they were just about to do when I was there involved a science lab theme and they’ve even done Outer Space. They can magic anything up!
Go like them on Facebook, here. They post photos frequently and have awesome competitions, like writing a love letter to your body – to win a photo shoot (as well as increasing your own self appreciation!). And check out their galleries (Classic Pin up, Old Hollywood and Retro Boudoir) on their site, here.
With studios on both coasts and packages starting at $495, they are very reasonably priced and accessible. So, I hope that some of you will continue your ‘studies’ (shall we say) in looking great and go get your beautiful selves photographed by these whizzes. Maybe you’ll even share the photographic results? No worries, if not. It’s for you to find and KNOW your beauty. I just wanted to show you another path – one that commemorates your beauty in the most fantastic way.
Their NY photographer, who I did not meet is Maxine Neinow. And, if you want to see/read more, this is a great interview with Sophie, here.