The History of Boudoir Photography

Still considered taboo in some societies, boudoir photography has made great progress since the beginning. Today, most countries accept it to honor women.

But the journey was not a bed of roses. It takes us back to the 1890s.

In this blog, we will learn about the history of Boudoir Photography. Our research will enlighten how the genre progressed and why it is needed to appreciate this art.

The Beginning

In the 1890s, the cornerstone of Boudoir Photography was laid in France. They called them Lewd or Obscene photos. Later in the 1920s, the concept became more popular with the public.

An American photographer Albert Arthur Allen played a vital role in popularizing nude and risqué pictures in the US.

In the 1940s, Boudoir was accepted by the majority. The pin-ups and curvy models were used as propaganda to engage men in the military who were the elephant in the room.

Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren are the two big names that hooked the interest of the masses. Later, they became the sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s.

The whole process took boudoir photography to escalated levels by making it empower women.

Feminists were also in the limelight. In the 1970s, they utilized boudoir photography to switch the perception of women’s portraits.

A decade later, the glamming boudoir images became enticing to the general public. It is no longer an object for the male gaze. Today, it has turned into a symbol of self-empowerment.

Boudoir Photography

Word “Boudoir” – The Etymology

The word boudoir comes from the rich French language. It was initially “bouder”, which means to sulk or pout. It refers to a private saloon, dressing room, or bedroom of a woman, where she can be independent with her thoughts and body.

It also indicates a place where women can change their clothes, make themselves feel comfortable, put on makeup, or style their hair in an isolated environment. These are the core element of boudoir photography. Especially the one which states the isolation of women from all kinds of eyes. It is their spot of happiness, independence, and making sultry poses.

The Timeline of Boudoir Photography

Let’s discuss in detail the timeline of Boudoir photography.

The Controversial Start – 1890s

The beginning of Boudoir Photography dates back to 1890. The first Boudoir Photographer album got published in France. Initially, people found it highly pornographic and nobody was ready to accept it in the first place. But France did not stop. It kept selling the boudoir postcards secretly across shops throughout the capital.

As the circulation failed to meet the demand, the erotic postcards turned into collector’s items. These postcards had nude ladies with sexy poses. Most of them were in groups.

The Public Emergence – 1920s

Back in the 1920s, boudoir photography gained a public face. Everyone was aware of it but many people still found it a disgrace. At that time, only hired models were involved in the act of taking sexy pictures. General women refrained from doing the course.

After the end of World War I in the 1920s, the boudoir clothing style witnessed a freewheeling and wild culture of the decade. There was a new concept of taking pictures in luxurious hotels and other compelling settings. Photographers made the most of this change. Silk, pearls, and lace gained great popularity in this era of boudoir photographer.

When we talk about photographers, we cannot forget to discuss Albert Arthur Allen. This name was the highlight of that period. He was the most controversial boudoir photographer. Albert worked best with the women who had fuller figures. He sold prints of enticing pictures and was also known for sending boudoir photos through interstate mail.

Boudoir Photography

The Advertising Evolution – 1930 to 1940

Even after the end of the Prohibition Era in 1933 and the start of World War II, Boudoir Photography was going on in full swing. The US Government encouraged the idea and used it as propaganda to encourage youth to fight for their country.

It will not be wrong to say that the military exploited the sexual standards and beauty of the era. However, not everything went in vain. The appeal and styles that were discovered in this period paved the way for contemporary boudoir photography.

  • The military used pin-up girls in posters with slogans like “come home to your girl a hero” or “she’s worth fighting for”. These advertising concepts gained popularity with the name of “sex sells”.
  • The women with hourglass figures wore revealing clothes to show their provocative side.
  • The most iconic pin-up girl around the start of WW II was Betty Grable. She had pictures highlighting her long legs that encouraged young men to join the war.

Later on, Feminists played a vital role in the period from 1950 to 1980. It vocalized the importance of Boudoir Photography. Today, it’s all in front of our eyes how far this genre has come. Women gain the lost confidence with this photography and celebrate their bodies.

We hope you enjoyed reading the history of Boudoir Photography. Now book one session of boudoir photographer and see what’s so special about it.