New boudoir studio offers gift option for bridesWritten by Paige Shermis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wives have a traditional list for what to give their husbands each year for their anniversary — paper for the first, wood for the fifth, silk for the 12th, and so on.
But, what does a bride give her new husband as a wedding gift? And what if a wife is bored by the anniversary gifting protocol?
That’s where Artography419 comes in.
Artography419 is a boudoir photography studio located in Northwest Ohio and run by Michael Nemeth and Christina Bish.
Nemeth, a longtime commercial photographer, creates the images, and Bish, a former model, acts as a stylist and manager.
Boudoir photography is a genre of sensual or sexually suggestive photography. However, Nemeth said, the eroticism of the photograph often has little to do with what the subject is wearing.
“Sexy can be anything. It can be a white T-shirt, it can be a lacy bra. Beauty is inside the person,” Nemeth said.
For Nemeth, the jump from business and other commercial photography to boudoir photography was natural.
“To me, [boudoir] doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch. I take pictures, whether they’re pictures of businessmen or boudoir pictures, and the same energy goes into it,” he said.
Nemeth, a Bowling Green native, began shooting photographs for the Sentinel-Tribune as a teen. He received a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from Bowling Green State University and then moved to New York City (“the Mount Everest of photography”) to shoot commercially.
After his son started school, Nemeth and his family moved back to the Toledo area, but he continued to work for his contacts in New York. Nemeth shot the cover for the February issue of Popular Mechanics.
“My hairstylist recommended that I try to do boudoir photography. We were trying to think of ways that I could do something local. I didn’t want to do weddings … [and] I didn’t want to shoot babies. In a normal person’s lifetime, they’re going to get their picture taken professionally three times: when they’re a senior in high school, when they have a wedding and when the wife forces the husband to get their pictures taken for their 25th anniversary. Boudoir is another opportunity for people to get their pictures taken,” Nemeth said.
After his hairstylist connected Nemeth with Bish, who has a degree from BGSU in apparel merchandising, their business plan took off.
Artography419 has no permanent studio. Instead, Nemeth and Bish shoot on location at various bed and breakfasts in the area.
Although Nemeth is a male photographer working with female subjects (for those wondering: No, his wife doesn’t mind), Bish said Nemeth’s talent and personality make shoots relaxed and fun.
“I’ve never felt so comfortable and so alive as when I worked with him as a subject,” Bish said. “Photographers are always going to tell you, you get four photos or 10 and they give you 50 to choose from. I think he gave me 500 to look at. I think I narrowed it to 499. … I really loved them and I really liked the experience. There’s a lot that he does and there’s a lot that he offers that other photographers don’t.”
Before each shoot, clients meet with Nemeth and Bish, often in a coffee shop, for a model meeting.
Typical clients of Artography419 are engaged women, married women who want to give presents to their husbands, or women who want to capture the way they look in their youth.
“When we actually get to talk about the process, it’s that model meeting that sets us apart from anybody else. You get to find out what you like, what you don’t like and you get to be friends with them,” Bish said.
During the meeting, they discuss the client’s preferences and then go through the shoot day’s schedule so there will be no surprises. At the model meeting, Bish guides the client as to what they should wear and they discuss different hairstyles and makeup looks, whether it’s dramatic or natural. After the model meeting, each client is instructed to do their homework: they must look through GQ and Victoria’s Secret advertisements and shoots to see what they like.
Different packages are available at Artography419. The most expensive packages include a personal shopping spree with Bish at Victoria’s Secret. The least expensive package is much more compressed, buying the client a couple of hours of photography.
“It’s work, but it’s fun work. It’s not awkward. Everyone’s nervous at first. By the time they leave, they’re rocking it. They’ve discovered how to pose for the camera. … By the end of the shoot they are a completely different person, really. It’s amazing how much their confidence rises,” Bish said.
Overall, Nemeth said, the rising popularity of boudoir photography is not a surprise.
“This whole overall trend fits into a larger visual trend, I think, even with weddings and infant photography. Since the Internet and technology, people are so much more image savvy and they expect things at a higher level. They look at pictures in the magazines and want their pictures to be like that,” Nemeth said.
Nemeth stresses that the boudoir photographs are not meant to be lewd or racy.
“We are not really taking sexy pictures; we are taking portraits. We are trying to be evocative, not provocative. It’s not shooting people undressed, it’s really about attitude. Sexy is an attitude,” Nemeth said.
For more information, visit www.arto graphy419.com.