Y’all, what longtime APW wedding photographer (more on that below!) Linda Abbott Photography is offering through her new Woman Alive sessions is pure magic—like goosebumps-and-tears magic. Much more than just portrait sessions, Woman Alive sessions are like mini-retreats to put down your phone, reconnect with your body, explore, and play. Los Angeles–based Linda is the kind of intuitive guide that will show you your most important teacher is your own self and your personal evolution is something that’s important and powerful AF. And rather than being molded into poses that society considers “flattering,” you’ll get in touch with your truest self and basically embody your Core Desired Feelings (a photo is worth a thousand post-its, right?) to create photos that act as literal touchstones of the person you want to be—and already are.
But really, I should be letting Linda tell you about her mission for Woman Alive sessions, because when we spoke over the phone, I was actually tearing up, something that does not usually happen when I get to chatting with a photographer:
What might come to mind when people first glance at my images for Woman Alive is boudoir, but in many ways, this is a completely different animal. What I think differentiates it is my own presence and my intention for the session: 1) That there is nothing about you that needs to fixed or improved, and 2) We make room for all of ourselves here and we leave binary definitions of how to be and how to look along with any debilitating cultural ideas of perfectionism behind—along with our phones.
We have an entire culture telling women we have to look a certain way, be a certain way, be less feminine, be more feminine, be perfect, act perfect, push through, ignore any messages from our bodies, and while all of this is happening, telling us to make sure we never take time for ourselves to play or rest. I think we’re all getting real tired of those old stories.
I’m interested in challenging anything that keeps us limited and disempowered and this is my way to contribute as an artist and as a woman on her own journey of full self-expression. I’ve always—ever since I was little—had very strong intuition and an ability to hold a clear vision of what’s true and beautiful in people so that they can see it for themselves. Woman Alive is where I can gift that to my clients. Where I can offer all of my gifts as an artist and an intuitive guide and a woman to support other women in feeling fully seen and fully expressed.
It’s an embodied exploration of the senses. I’m a guide and a witness for women during the experience, and I help them create, express, and celebrate aspects of themselves that might not always be seen or welcomed in their daily lives. The sessions help women expand and reveal what they thought was true about themselves and we do that in the context of play and art.
It’s powerful (as fuck). And mostly it’s so much fun.
And I mean, can you imagine if this image (<– NSFW warning) was what you could return to on bad days? What could remind you what an actual woman-who-runs-with-wolves you are? I am verklempt just thinking about it, and totally awed by all the amazing, strong, sensual women in Linda’s portfolio.
Here was APW contributor Eve Sturges’s (pictured above) experience:
I have been struggling with my “adult woman mom body” ever since my second pregnancy almost three years ago. I could read all the articles, say all the mantras, criticize Hollywood and the patriarchy all I wanted, but I was still disappointed when clothes didn’t fit anymore, and I was embarrassed by photographs that caught me in unflattering angles (which was, like, 100 percent of them).
We had chosen Linda to be our wedding photographer because her art is uniquely divine; she has a cinematic eye that catches moments not often captured on film, and she uses natural light to create a warm tone that breathes life into each frame. We also chose Linda because she is the nicest, most enthusiastic, romantic, energetic, authentic person we met during our search. The day of the wedding, I was comfortable with Linda in a way I have rarely experienced in front of a camera. And the pictures show it.
This time around, I didn’t want boudoir photos for my husband, although I hoped he would appreciate them. I wanted them for myself—to feel comfortable as a new kind of woman for a day… and have Linda validate it with her camera so I could feel that way again and again whenever I wanted. I am not a sexy lingerie person, or a selfie person, let alone a photo shoot in my underwear person. But we had so much fun. Linda was exactly who she has always been: honest, adventurous, patient, and kind. She isn’t afraid, so I wasn’t afraid. We laughed a lot.
Unsurprisingly, the photos from that day are more than I could have hoped for. She captured me feeling comfortable and confident with my adult woman mom body, proud of the pieces that really make me who I am: unafraid, ready to try new things and laugh through the process, beautiful enough exactly as I am.
But what each person gets out of Woman Alive is completely unique to them, because this is not some one-size-fits-all just show up in a cute outfit and we’ll take some portraits session. It’s tailored to each woman, starting with an hour-long coaching call with Linda to connect with you, learn about where you’re going and where you’ve been, and what you’d like to get out of this session together. (I got a behind-the-scenes taste when we chatted, and the tricks up Linda’s sleeve are incredibly powerful.) It also includes travel to the right location for you to escape the world (and your phone) for an entire half day of photography with Linda, and is bookended by another call to reveal the images for the first time and look at them together. As Linda told me, “So much can come up for my clients before the session and a lot comes up when they see the images of themselves too, so I want to be sure they aren’t alone in this process.”
But no matter how intense all that might sound, when Linda’s clients talk about their experience, it tends to be focused on freedom, feeling amazing, and fun:
A little background about me—I’m incredibly uncomfortable being in front of the camera. Linda was described to me as a “trauma-informed” photographer (that you just want to hug) from a woman who teaches how to heal from trauma so I was excited and curious. Linda took me to a really beautiful natural spot that made me forget the everyday survival, and helped me get out of my head and into the present. I had an amazing time. If you want to feel relaxed, cared about, really good about yourself, and confident, do this. Linda lived up to the hype and then some. —D
To be honest, I made fun of my friends who had already signed up to do the sessions because I just thought nude photos in nature? What? And I had never resonated with regular boudoir or thought of myself as someone who would do that. But then I met Linda, and I heard her talk about it, and I was just blown away. Everything you she made so much sense to me. I wanted to feel. I wanted to connect to my body again. I wanted to get in touch with the raw and strong parts of me. I wanted to feel grounded. I wanted every part of me to connect with nature. And that was what this experience offered me. This session was very healing and empowering. And what I love most is that it felt authentic to me. —R
And if you’re thinking that what would make the whole thing seem even more fun would be to do it with your bridesmaids/sisters/besties (uh, does a cabin in the woods with lots of whiskey and bonding and incredibly empowering portrait sessions sound like the ultimate girls weekend to anyone else?), Linda is offering a first Woman Alive group session only for APW readers, for a minimum of three women and a maximum of five. If the Woman Alive experience resonates with you in any way—click here for more info, and reach out to Linda for all the details on pricing and what’s included in the experience.
And if you’re thinking that what you need more right now is a really amazing wedding photographer, well don’t let me stop you from contacting Linda about that instead. Her work is truly amazing, and she’s the kind of wedding teammate that is way more than just a photographer.
Whether you’re considering working with Linda on a Woman Alive session or your wedding, think of it this way: If you’re a little bit woo and you adore how your reiki person, or your coach, or your favorite tarot reader just gets it? How you don’t have to spend time explaining or justifying or instructing, because bang, they just know what you’re dealing with? Now imagine what it would be like for your photographer to have that same kind of empathic magic. For the person documenting you in your most intimate moments to be someone who can offer that kind of intuitive support. That’s Linda.
LINDA ABBOTT PHOTOGRAPHY HAS 6 WOMAN ALIVE SESSIONS AVAILABLE THIS SPRING/SUMMER—PLUS GROUP SESSIONS FOR APW READERS ONLY!
CLICK HERE TO GET IN TOUCH.