This is the story of a woman who changed her mind halfway through. Twice.
For the first half of my college career I pursued a bachelors in psychology. I passionately studied how images in the media affect body image. I completed research project after research project with solid results that indeed, women (and men) are affected by what they see in advertisements. Two and a half years later, the universe was pushing me towards photography. Hard. I unapologetically became the typical change-your-major-sort-of-dropout, packed up, and moved to Seattle to go to the Art Institute; delving head first into what I saw as a chance for a new identity.
I needed it.
Soon after graduating, I got a surprising and amazing job offer from a commercial photography studio to be their lead lifestyle and fashion photographer. I enthusiastically accepted the job but less than a year in, all I had found was unhappiness and resentment. I truly felt lost. I thought to myself over and over again, “How can I not love this?
This is supposed to be the dream…”
The problem was that it went against everything I had and still believed in. In fact, I was now the creator of the media that I so fiercely detested. When I was younger, I can remember looking in the mirror, seeing an overweight face looking back and thinking “You are beautiful. I love this body. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I think I’m amazing just the way I am.” I could feel and see my beauty everyday. At this point in my story, I was deep into a poisonous career, no longer thinking such positive thoughts about my body.
Something had to change.
Just a few months earlier, I had done my first boudoir shoot on a whim for a friend of a friend. It was absolute magic, I felt my soul light up with excitement. I loved working with women who weren’t used to being in front of the camera. I loved the styling and planning. I loved the mix of fashion and portraiture. I loved how creative I could get in the editing and the photography. And I loved her reaction to the photos. I absolutely loved EVERYTHING. I remember having a fleeting thought after the shoot, “Maybe this is what I should do.” I ignored it, but not for long. It planted a nagging feeling that wouldn’t be satisfied until I eventually left my studio job and pursued a career in photography that lined up with both my passion and personal beliefs.
Now I stand at the middle of Dana Kae Boudoir.
I look back at all the awful jobs, stressful long nights, worry and doubt, and see that all of it – ALL OF IT – was somehow instrumental in ending up where I am today. I am not only a photographer, I am here to be an advocate for women’s beauty, to help women heal and to change lives.With all that I have, Dana Kae