Bendon is our classic house brand that creates modern, reliable and innovative lingerie that enables women to feel naturally beautiful, confident, and comfortable in their everyday life.
The campaign for Bendon’s newest collection ‘Conscious Unity’took a no-frills direction by capturing the natural beauty of today’s women in a beautifully lit studio setting wearing their supportive and comfortable Bendon lingerie.
Fashion photographer Renee Bevan has an eye for capturing the essence of the naturally beautiful feminine form. Renee’s photographs make you feel calm and strong at the same time, a similar feeling to the way Bendon’s classic yet contemporary designs can make you feel. We think of Renee’s photographs as pieces of art that ignite feelings of empowerment, which is why she was the perfect photographer for this campaign.
We had a chat with Renee about empowerment, fashion photography, and women.
In photography seen in advertising around the world less than 15% is shot by a woman. When it comes to shooting photographs that are aimed to make women feel empowered how important do you feel it is to have women photographers on the job?
I think if a brand is talking about empowerment it is important that empowerment also happens behind the lens and at all stages of the process. You can’t talk about empowering women as a brand position without walking the walk and also giving women opportunities.
In your eyes, what does the modern woman encompass? Who is she?
Women are such a wonderful, resilient, wild, and varied bunch and that’s the beauty of it. I think all women are modern women just by being exactly who they are.
It is one of my favourite shoot experiences. The opportunity to collaborate with those incredible women was really special and everyone contributed so much to that shoot. It also wouldn’t have been possible without an amazing agency called WeSpeak who really pushed and supported true diversity in fashion in the US before it was popular. Something that stayed with me was one of the models telling us that you have to tell yourself in the mirror you are gorgeous everyday. Every. Day. We are fighting against so much imagery telling us the opposite that feeling good in your body is a daily practice.
Why is photographing women important to you?
I don’t think our current definitions of beauty are anywhere near wide enough. I hear so many stories when I photograph women about all the things they have learnt to hate about their bodies - the scars that kept them alive or birthed their children, about how they are too old to have long hair or the wrong size or shape to wear this or that. I love allowing people to see a different version of that.
What differences are there between photographing women and men?
I feel more of a connection to shooting women but I’m really interested in seeing more images of men shot in a way that shows them with more vulnerability. In fact, I’d love to shoot some.
What differences are there between photographing women in apparel versus lingerie? How do you have to adapt when shooting lingerie?
Shooting apparel is an image of the clothing as much - or more than - it is of the person. The choices of movement and angles are more focused on how the clothing will look best. Lingerie is all about the person and the nuances and gestures of the body which has a lovely freedom to it that I really enjoy.
The “Male Gaze” is a term that describes the practice in which media and advertising are filtered through the lens of men, and as a result, media and advertising can depict women from the viewpoints of male desire. How important is the presence of a “Female Gaze” when shooting women in lingerie?
I love what Laura Mulvey did by highlighting the male gaze and it’s so helpful to read about and understand the ways that we tend to view our bodies from that perspective and the effect that can have. I also think it’s important to have all the ‘gazes’ behind the lens. As a CIS white woman, I know my ‘female gaze’ is just one of many and the more gazes we are able to see the world from, the more we can broaden our ideas of beauty and the way we see ourselves and each other.
What was the stand-out image from the Bendon campaign for you?