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The Modern Muse luxury portrait photography, Sydney

The Archetypes


There’s magic in all of us. But a busy life can sometimes make it hard for us to reconnect with what is most special and unique about ourselves. To help you arrive at your own unique ‘modern muse’, we’ve developed 12 portrait styles based on 12 feminine archetypes. 

An archetype is a very typical example of a certain thing or person. In the case of our archetypes, they are characters that help set a mood, create a context, give a sense of place. We believe all the archetypes reside in each of us and we can call on them, like guests, and decide who we give airtime to. You may find yourself completely drawn to one or you may see yourself as a combination of two or three. By interacting with them, and sharing your thoughts with Cindy, you'll arrive at somewhere that’s richer, more evocative, and perfect for you.

Whimsical. Romantic. Free-Spirit.

The Rose, or sacred flower, possesses immense beauty and passion. She is the embodiment of soft feminine power. Whimsical and creative, The Rose is an indulgence in everything girly; flowers, tulle, organza, a gorgeous dress, and a big dose of whimsy. Often chosen as a 'coming of age’ gift. Also known as The Romantic, The Dreamer or The Poet.

Confident. Sassy. Unmasked.

The Purist says 'I am enough', and means it. She is unadorned and comfortable in her own skin. She has a 'French girl attitude' of less-is-more, whether it be with her simplicity of clothing or barely there make-up. She is often envied for her seemingly effortless style and laissez-faire nature. Embodying this archetype will lay bare your own uniqueness in the most self-assured way. Also known as The Truth, The Ingenue and The Everywoman.

Grace. Courage. Adventure.

The Body is a celebration of the female form in all her diversity. She has a well-rounded character; strong yet soft, spirited yet rational. She is happy in her own skin and proud to show it off. This archetype reveals strength of body and soul, and includes any image where the body is the star. From dancer, to athlete, body shots to nudes. Clothing can be used to reveal and conceal. Also known as The Warrior or The Athlete.

Love. Nurture. Protect. 

The Legacy is the tree of life, which nurtures, protects and sustains. A celebration of the loving, generous and supportive roles female family and friends play in our lives. Inspired by a legacy of women, this archetype informs moments in every generation: the pregnancy portrait, a matriarch to be revered, mums with newborns, loving sisters, or even the hens party. The Legacy creates an heirloom to be passed down through the ages. Also known as The Mother, The Mentor, The Carer, The Matriarch and The Protector.

Rebellious. Untamed. Spirited.

The Wanderer is fun. Mildly rebellious, she is a wild child, a free spirit, untamed, unbridled and curious. She loves to feel the wind in her hair and the sand between her toes. Comfortable in her own skin, she's driven by a sense of discovery. The Wanderer is always shot on location, whether it be a windswept beach, a favourite place, or the sanctity of your own home. Also known as The Bohemian, The Free Spirit or The Explorer.

Fierce. Independent. Resourceful.

The Huntress is a personification of the independent female spirit and ability to live a life of her own choosing. She is a hunter and gatherer, and a great protector. Activating The Huntress, is calling forth the wild woman within. Also known as The Outlaw, The Rebel, The Activist, and The Revolutionary.

Sensual. Uninhibited. Bewitching.

This archetype has full ownership over her sensuality and values anything pleasing to the senses; beauty, love, pleasure. Her mood is a mystery to everyone but her. Wardrobe is used as a tool of seduction, revealing and concealing just what she chooses. The Provocateur performs for the camera in a sensual play. Often this portrait is a gift for a lover. Also known as The Lover, The Seductress or The Temptress.

Fun. Playful. Creative.

She runs her own life. She knows what she wants and how to get there. Confident with her choices and at ease with herself, she is charming, smart, and looked to as a source of inspiration. Cheeky and playful, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Usually photographed fly-on-the-wall, observational style, the camera following her around as she goes about her business. Also known as The Enigma.

Strong. Power. Grace.

The ruler of her domain. When you awaken The Goddess you take charge of your destiny, command respect and live with swagger and soul. Embracing this archetype will see your finished image looking strong and dramatic. Wardrobe could be a mix of anything from bedroom to boardroom. Just as long as you’re in control and are showing off that assertive attitude. Also known as The Queen, The Ruler and The Boss.

Wise. Intuitive. Mysterious.

The Priestess has mythical powers of enchantment, and both people and animals often fall under her spell of hypnotic grace. A guide to sacred rites and the inner journey. She is the most fantastical of our archetypes. Adorn yourself in jewels and indulge yourself as your favourite character. The look is mystical, theatrical, and feminine. Also known as The Sage, The Magician or The Fortune Teller.

Creative. Charismatic. Truth Seeker.

Become a piece of art. The Artist inspires and encourages creative endeavours, truth, understanding and connection. Have a concept or abstract idea you’d like to embody? The Artist has a different and unique take on things that people admire for her distinct vision. Also known as The Creator and The Trickster.

Charming. Spontaneous. Quick-witted.

The classic ‘It girl’. The stay-out-all-night-and-party girl. Spontaneous and quick-witted, she loves to hold court. The Haute Bohème explodes categories and boundaries. Think: aristocratic nonchalance. Think: ready for the Oscars, and the after party. Find her at a French chateau, or any other place the rich go to party. Also known as The Socialite or The Sophisticate. 

“I think your service is amazing. Your attention to detail is fab and your creativity is brilliant. I wish I could get more of the images!” – Danielle Colley


Contact us for a free discovery call.

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