San Antonio, Texas-based boudoir photographer Victoria Caroline Haltom saw a Facebook post go viral recently after she shared an email she received from a husband who was disappointed after seeing retouched photos of his wife.
About a year ago, when the 25-year-old photographer was just starting her photography business, Victoria Caroline Boudoir, she was approached by a lady in her mid-40s who wanted to book a boudoir shoot.
“I thought she looked like a goddess, but as most women do, she had a request,” says Haltom. “She came to me, looked me straight in the eyes, and said ‘I want you to Photoshop all of my cellulite, all of my angry red stretch marks, all of my fat, and all of my wrinkles… just make it go away. I want to feel gorgeous just once.”
So, Haltom did what was asked. She spent an hour and a half shooting portraits of the woman in various poses, and then she took those photos and retouched them to remove all the visible imperfections that the woman wanted gone. The woman then gave an album with the photos as a Christmas gift to her husband.
Three days later, Haltom received this email from the woman’s husband:
I am [name removed]’s husband, [name removed]. I am writing to you because I recently received an album containing images you took of my wife. I don’t want you to think that I am in any way upset with you… but I have some food for thought that I would like to pass on to you.
I have been with my wife since we were 18 years old, and we have two beautiful children together. We have had many ups and downs over the years, and I think… well, actually I KNOW that my wife did these pictures for me to “spice things up”. She sometimes complains that I must not find her attractive, that she wouldn’t blame me if I ever found someone younger.
When I opened the album that she gave to me, my heart sank. These pictures… while they are beautiful and you are clearly a very talented photographer… they are not my wife. You made every one of her “flaws” disappear…and while I’m sure this is exactly what she asked you to do, it took away everything that makes up our life.
When you took away her stretch marks, you took away the documentation of my children. When you took away her wrinkles, you took away over two decades of our laughter, and our worries. When you took away her cellulite, you took away her love of baking and all the goodies we have eaten over the years.
I am not telling you all of this to make you feel horrible, you’re just doing your job and I get that. I am actually writing you to thank you. Seeing these images made me realize that I honestly do not tell my wife enough how much I LOVE her and adore her just as she is. She hears it so seldom, that she actually thought these photoshopped images are what I wanted and needed her to look like.
I have to do better, and for the rest of my days I am going to celebrate her in all her imperfectness. Thanks for the reminder.
“Ladies, I can photoshop just about anything, but I encourage you to think twice about how much ‘altering’ we do,” writes Haltom. “Our loved ones cherish and adore us just as we are.”
Image credits: Header photograph by Karolina Grabowska/kaboompics