In a December post on photographer Jonathan Kreidler’s Instagram page, a model by the name of Kay stands nude at the center of a desolate, wintery scene, her bare feet planted in the snow.
It’s the type of photograph for which Kreidler is known. He takes models to remote locations for outdoor boudoir shoots in the desert and mountains surrounding the Truckee Meadows. For Kreidler, a recent Bay Area transplant, the opportunity to mix a bit of offroading with his part-time photography vocation is somewhat of a dream come true.
“That’s generally my favorite thing to do in life,” Kreidler said. “Being outdoors was kind of a necessity, not just something I wanted to do.”
He loves it despite the challenges it presents, including the real risk of winding up stranded, which happened while he and model Kay were on their shoot.
“So we went out to Boca Reservoir, and I decided to go offroading in my Subaru—because it’s got all-wheel drive—and then I got stuck in the snow, in a ditch, with the model,” he said. “And that was the only car we had. So we kind of had a Donner Party situation. We had to, like, hike out to the road and call triple A, and the service was super spotty.”
Still, Kreidler thinks both he and his models get something out of shooting in the outdoors.
“I don’t really like doing boudoir indoors, like in people’s bedrooms, because it’s usually kind of small and hard to do,” he said. Plus, he finds it’s easier to get people out of their heads when they’re not in their own environments.
“People just kind of get it—if they’re uncomfortable doing any kind of boudoir photography, being outdoors is the least of their concerns,” Kreidler said. “I just kind of put on my salesman voice. I pretend to be hella awkward and funny. It just kind of works. It makes them focus on me, so they’re not focusing on how uncomfortable they are.”
Getting people past discomfort is an important goal for Kreidler—made all the more important when his subjects are less experienced models than say, Kay, or those who are new to boudoir and potentially don’t see their own bodies as great subjects for nude photos.
“You see me—I’m not the most attractive-looking dude,” he said. “So I kind of get that desire to buck the social norms of what beauty looks like. I like giving people the opportunity to see themselves as beautiful, even if they’re not classically attractive. That’s something that’s near and dear to my heart and kind of the basis of my company.”
For now, Kreidler holds down a day job doing marketing for a real estate company. Despite having nearly a decade of professional photography experience under his belt, he views himself as someone who’s still at least somewhat an amateur. His goal is to transition to full-time photography in the next year or so.
For now, he’s playing with things like couple’s boudoir photography and exploring trends like men’s boudoir photography—which he refers to as “dudeoir.”
“I subscribe to the belief that all bodies are beautiful, so if dudes want to get sexy, too, on camera, then, why not?” he said. “I want to do more of that … but guys are a lot harder to get into a boudoir situation than women, because women, I feel, are already naturally kind of—the culture kind of says, ‘women equal sexy,’ but guys don’t have that image out there.”