“A New Penny”
Hi there. My name is Penny and yesterday I embarked on an adventure of a life time with Maureen, proprietor and photographer extraordinaire of Intimate Portraits The Art of Maureen Benoit. Before I go on I must tell you that having my “Intimate Portrait” done was something I wanted to do AFTER I lost the 30 pounds that has magically appeared on my not so young anymore body. Ok maybe not magically appeared, more like, age and lack of exercise over the past few years were the culprit. Oh yeah and the occasional food indulgences.
Anyway, Maureen persuaded me not to wait. Sooooo, I said OK with a HUGE degree of trepidation. This was so NOT what I wanted to do feeling the way I did, short, fat, and old. Not much I can do about short and old, but I definitely could do something about the FAT part and yet here I was plumb out of time. Stepping out of my comfort zone not to mention my predetermined time frame, ‘I would do a session with Maureen in one year, after I lost the weight and felt good about my body,’ was something I needed to quickly come to terms with. I consoled myself that Maureen would perform her photographic magic and photoshop artistry, especially on that awful bruise on my leg that occurred when a car hood fell on my leg a few days ago. Don’t ask. I also told myself that women not only go to Maureen for her magic in photography but also to help them feel beautiful, sensual, and realize their personal power as a woman.
Ok, Ok, Maureen sent me to the most amazing lingerie store, Naughty But Nice Lingerie in Santa Clarita. The first step in the process of Maureen’s magic. The proprietress, Sharon was this fantastic dynamo of a woman who totally took charge of dressing me. She pulled out combinations of lingerie, costumes, and shoes from her inventory and dressed me, tugging, pulling, and adjusting until she was satisfied with each “look”. I’ve got to tell you I have never shopped for lingerie beyond buying bras and panties. This was a whole new experience. After my initial uncomfortableness of looking at my “body” in the full length mirrors within the spacious attractive dressing room I began to relax and have fun. It was especially interesting when she strapped me into 6” platform heels and had me stand up. I am a Converse sneaker woman myself, so you can just imagine.
I was at Naughty But Nice for several hours with Sharon thoughtfully assessing the effect of each outfit, complete with hose and shoes. By the end of the fitting session three distinct “looks” had been decided upon and I headed home with bags and boxes. On the way home I realized that I may be short, fat, and old, but I could still be sexy. I felt like I had undergone an amazing transformation in my opinion of myself that was not just intellectual, but touched my spirit as well. I’ll let you know how the photography session goes in Part 2.
Feel Beautiful - Feel Empowered ...
“ A Shiny New Penny”
By Penny Randall
As the big day approached I had no idea how wonderful it was to pamper myself with a manicure, pedicure, hair color and new style. I awoke on the “shoot day” with feelings of dread. I delayed getting out of bed for as long as I could for today was the day I would go out on a limb and expose myself in all my glory.
The process of being pampered at the studio with hair, makeup and body makeup was comforting and it eased my mind. By the time we started photographing I felt relaxed and comfortable with my “look”.
Very quickly I realized that the more I relaxed the easier it was to pose, in fact most times I was told to “freeze. “Wow this isn’t so hard. I just have to relax and I will land in a good pose.” Who Knew?? We had fun as the photographer taught me how to pose for the camera and relax so my expression was natural.
A few days later the time finally arrived, the grand “unveiling”. I had been anxiously both anticipating and dreading what I was about to see. I jumped involuntarily when I first saw myself. I could not believe what I saw. I was aweso me. Awesome!
I had a completely different picture of myself in my head. And yet here I was in all my splendor and glory, looking “Oh soooo good. These intimate portraits shed light on a new perception of myself. I was able to see myself from a different angle yet it was me.
I close my eyes now and I see a new Penny. Maureen had captured my essence and all of a sudden my self-image, you know the one you carry around in your head, was altered, waaayyyy better! I saw myself as a voluptuous, sensuous, with dreamy eyes.
On a personal and professional level I truly believe that “getting naked” for Maureen freed up a lot of energy in my life. Doors of opportu nity have subsequently opened allowing me to finally move forward in directions that I desired. For I now see myself and carry myself with more confidence and a whole new perception of a New Penny.