At her wake there'll be flowers and, of course, friends. Lots of friends.
And prominently placed at the head of the room, on a table or neatly hung on a wall, Liz Dean wants her boudoir photo.
“I was so surprised the pictures were good,” the Squamish mother says of her sassy photo shoot. “They're celebrating where I am [in life].”
Dean grew up in Revelstoke, the only girl on a street full of boys. She climbed trees, joined in pickup games of street soccer or baseball and scolded the boys that called her a “girl.”
Dean still dishes out her sporty spirit — during the fall, Dean is found between the posts at the North Shore Thirty Somethings Women's Soccer League. But over the past two years, Dean has undergone a transition. Having lost 75 pounds, she thought it was time to try new things.
Last summer, she got dirty in the hardcore obstacle race the Tough Mudder. Dean also crossed a half-marathon off her bucket list. And yes, she says, she continues to have skier legs. But unlike her attitude in her 20s, now she's proud of them.
“I am strong and I am healthy,” Dean says before smiling.
Last spring, while Dean dedicated herself to hiking up the Chief every day during May, she also signed up for something outside of her comfort zone. Way outside. She shed her soccer jersey and put aside her mother's cap to take photos that celebrated her. “I was shaking, I felt sick and my face was red,” Dean recalls.
That's the way most of Bri Oliver's clients show up to her studio — nervous. For nine years, Oliver has been behind the camera helping women see what she sees.
“It's about empowerment,” Oliver says.
Set up in her house in Brackendale, Oliver shoots “boudoir” — a genre that borders on risqué and playful. Her subjects range in age from women in their 20s to their 50s. They're mothers, girlfriends, athletes and pregnant women. And while they usually say the pictures are for their partners, in the end the photos are always for the women themselves, Oliver says.
The overall experience is about pampering: taking a busy day out of one's life to appreciate yourself, Oliver says. Squamish resident Christina Marousis does the women's makeup before the clients step in front on the camera feeling like a million dollars, she says.
Dean keeps a book of her boudoir photos. On bad days she'll flip through the pages.
“It was such an epiphany because I always think of myself as such a plain girl,” Dean says.
They're some of her favourite photos, good enough to represent her when she's dead, she says with a laugh.
For more information about boudoir photography in Squamish visit www.luvuphotography.com or follow Oliver on Facebook at Luvuphotography.