A few months ago, I had the pleasure of working with Michael Rousseau during a holiday photo shoot with Forever 21. In addition to being an absolute pleasure to work with, Michael is using his incredible photographic talent to help empower and enlighten women on embracing their natural beauty. Through his projects Socks and a Smile, Michael has created a platform where women, in these images, are celebrating and strengthening themselves while encouraging other women to do the same. In the age of the Internet, we are constantly inundated with images of these “picture perfect” celebrities and models that we think we have to aspire to in order to be regarded as “beautiful.” But the magic of Socks and a Smile is that Michael wants you to discover your inherent beauty, which is something that every woman has. By elevating the traditional idea of boudoir photography, Michael Rousseau is liberating women to help their personality shine through and capturing their glow on camera for the world to see. I sat down with Michael to learn more about his inspiration for launching this project.
How did you first become interested in photography?
My mom had a Minolta SLR camera that I used to play with when I was five or six. I remember always wanting to load the film, put the flash on and take pictures with it. At the time I think I was curious about how it all worked.
What type of photography do you like to take?
I love shooting people. Most of my work consists of weddings, portraits and boudoir sessions. Everyone is so different; everyone has different stories to share. I’m big a people person, so meeting new people talking and shooting them really makes me happy.
What type of camera do you use?
I’m a Canon shooter, I currently shoot with 2 5D Mark II cameras attached to my Holdfast camera strap.
What was your inspiration behind the Socks and a Smile Project?
Socks and a Smile is an opportunity for every women to have their story documented in a fun/sexy way. Seeing that magazines such as Maxim, will only put models or celebrities in their magazine, I figured why not offer that opportunity to everyone.
How does Socks and a Smile differ from a typical boudoir shoots? What is your favourite part about doing these boudoir shoots?
Most boudoir photography takes place in the clients’ bedroom while they wear lingerie. I wanted to capture the client’s personality as much as possible. Shooting all over their home and using their casual clothes gives you a peep into their style and personality. The best part of these shoots is showing the client the images we’re making as we’re making them. Everyone is always so surprised. It’s not everyday you get to pose and have a professional photographer in your home.
How are you helping women discover their own unique beauty through your photography?
From an artistic stand point we’re there to show you how beautiful/sexy you can be. We’re not just taking images, we’re documenting how confident you are. Which is the most important thing. Being comfortable in your own skin and self love.
Can you define what real beauty means to you?
Not to sound cheesy or redundant but confidence is the sexiest thing anyone can wear. It shows through from images and spirit.
If you could leave women with one lasting thought about embracing their real beauty through photography, what would it be?
Give yourself a gift, try a boudoir shoot. 25 years from now you’re going to wish you did it. These photos are an investment, as times goes on they become much more important.
What’s next for Michael Rousseau?
Along with shooting boudoir, I’m currently booking weddings for this year and next year, which I’m really excited about! I’ll be working with a few corporate business’ and mentoring other photographers. This year is going to be a blast.
All images were taken by Michael Rousseau.