We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Angel W. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
It is truly my belief that everyone has to follow their own path when creating their business or their art. You dont have to start under someone else or follow what those who have been around for a bit tell you to do. I spent the first few years of my development avoiding other photographers and their work for fear that I wouldn’t allow myself the opportunity to figure out who I was as an artist. We subconsciously pick up other’s style when we study or admire them and I just couldn’t let that happen. It wasn’t until recently that I allowed that wall to come down and now I can say that I truly admire other boudoir photographers and photographers in general without it come from a place of wanting to be like them, but from a place of peerage and knowing that my work is equally as good! I can now learn from them in different ways to develop my style as opposed to picking up their style!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Boudoir photography is a funny thing because on the surface its women and femmes posing in lingerie but if you dig just a little bit deeper its one of the fastest and honest ways for a woman to own herself, her body, and to find love for who she is in the moment that the portrait is snapped. With this in mind, I take my job very seriously because I know I was put on this Earth to uplift women, it’s my calling, but also I try not to take myself too seriously. It is just photography after all, Im changing lives but it’s certainly not life or death. When my clients come to me, they tend to be nervous and unsure of themselves but when they leave they walk out as their own personal version of Beyonce! The change that happens in under two hours is wild and they haven’t even seen their finished portraits yet! I joke that the session day is the self love vaccine and when they get their portraits and share them with anyone, that’s the booster!
I am a photographer but what I do is teach women, and anyone who will listen, that you can strive for improvements to better yourself but you must also learn to love yourself as you are now, so you can appreciate who you are going to become in the future!
I am an artist through and through, I was a theatre kid turned actor turned writer/director turned photographer! I was a Film Studies major at North Carolina State University before I dropped out at 26 to focus on my business. Film and film critique will always be my first love but without the film eye I was born with, I wouldn’t have the photography eye that I have developed into this business! Photography for me really is just a screenshot of a film that we will never get to watch. It’s all story telling! For me, its been about following your gut, making mistakes, and owning what makes you happy and fulfilled. If I had followed the path most taken, I wouldn’t be where I am at today and I have to believe I wouldn’t be answering what my heart has called me to do!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In my city there are a few spots you have to hit for good food, good vibes, and good drinks! We have some of the best tacos in NC and they come from a food truck that sets up shop at a gas station so If you are ever in Raleigh, you have to have Gym Tacos! Really, Raleigh reps a ton of local restaurants and amazing food is a stones throw away but my current favorite sit down spot is The Rockford! KillJoy, Anchor Bar, and Whiskey Kitchen for drinks! North Carolina Museum of Art for and the connected park for leisure! or CAM for culture!
In Atlanta: The Nook for those Totchos and Lips for some amazing Drag Queen entertainment! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have had so many amazing people who support me in so many ways! My mom was the one who told me I could do whatever I wanted to with this life, no matter how out of the box those ideas were, setting off this imaginative mind. I am lucky to have a plethora of friends who shout my name and my work from the rooftops to whoever will listen! And some seriously amazing clients who continue to trust me with their sessions and all the emotions that go along with doing a boudoir session! I do however need to give a giant shoutout to my best friend and unofficial business manager, Jen Black! She herself is not an artist and is very much so the left brain to my right brain, when I’m creating a new project, she’s creating the spreadsheet that goes along with it, but she has been the most supportive person in my life this last decade and after going through so much together she has always made sure I kept pushing! She cosigns my existence as a business, business owner, and boss, especially when I suffered most from imposter syndrome! If I have an idea or I want to take my business to the next level, she talks through the development and numbers side with me! Outside of all that, she’s seen me at lowest valleys and cried with me and she’s seen me at my highest peaks and celebrated with me! I would have Nine19 without her, but not the way it is today and I cannot thank her enough!
Green Headshot: John Kornegay Photography All other portraits are the property of Kimberly Angel W. Nine19 Photography