Tag Archives: photographic commissions south africa

“The Housewives”, Private Commissions:
This is D.B. (2009)

(Please note: “The Housewives” was a term I fondly coined in 2006 after I started getting shoot requests from private individual women. The folder in my archives is still called this and so I’ve stuck to it, in part just for the irony. Most of these women are not “housewives” at all, but strong independent and forward thinking women who I have had the honour of documenting. All are private commissions, some I’m still in contact with, others I’ve totally lost contact with, some have become friends, some may wish not to have their real names used, others don’t mind, some may have their faces obscured for privacy reasons, others have generously shared their experiences of being photographed. When posting under “The Housewives” it means I am choosing some of my favourite images from one of these shoots publishing them here along with my and or her  experiences and memories).

In 2009 I photographed DB for the third (and last time). I flew up to Johannesburg and spent the day shooting with her and was back in Cape Town by the evening.

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Compared to our first shoot which had been initiated by D herself, this shoot and the one in 2008 were both designed and inspired by her partner’s fantasies and therefore the male perspective.

The shoots were interesting for me because of this. The style and content was shifted to encompass a different kind of voyeurism, a  more intimate and private peek into sexuality as apposed to the more  playful images of the first shoot we did together.

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The references for D’s 2nd and 3rd shoots had a soft-porn-foreplay feel, the kind of imagery which pervades the internet in masses. It’s removed from the more stereotypical, tongue-in-cheek kind of content I had been working with in her first shoots.

It was very much around this time that boudoir photographers started popping up all over in SA. I was slowly sidling out of shooting private commissions after I began to feel I was participating in producing images which had no shelf life, a kind of disposable and repeatable mass of content, something that I think many photographers have started to feel since digital photography has made image production so prolific.

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I returned to my conceptual as well as more commercial photography and later redefined my own style and personality when shooting private work.

I asked D to share a bit about her experience on the 2009 shoot we did together:

This shot was also commissioned by my husband and was shot just months after I had given birth to my baby girl who is now 6 years old.  After having worked with you on two occasions I was a lot more relaxed. We were also more adventurous, the photos in the shower coming to mind.

I have always had a strong identity as a woman. My motivation for the project was to give the man I love pictures of me in a “Fantasy World”: A surreal world that only exists in the pictures. A world he has exclusive entry into where he can fantasise about his wife being something other than a spouse, cook, mother and lover.

What I took out of the 3 shoots is greater awareness of the love and adoration my husband has for me and that he loves me regardless of the fact that I am not perfect. What I loved about the photos is that I too can look like a Playboy model even after two pregnancies.

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“The Housewives”, Private Commissions:
This is D.B. (2008)

(Please note: “The Housewives” was a term I fondly coined in 2006 after I started getting shoot requests from private individual women. The folder in my archives is still called this and so I’ve stuck to it, in part just for the irony. Most of these women are not “housewives” at all, but strong independent and forward thinking women who I have had the honour of documenting. All are private commissions, some I’m still in contact with, others I’ve totally lost contact with, some have become friends, some may wish not to have their real names used, others don’t mind, some may have their faces obscured for privacy reasons, others have generously shared their experiences of being photographed. When posting under “The Housewives” it means I am choosing some of my favourite images from one of these shoots publishing them here along with my and or her  experiences and memories).

I got a mail from D commissioning another shoot during 2008.
We had worked together one year previously when I shot her in Johannesburg after she’d heard my talk on TalkRadio 702 in Gauteng about the nude commissioned shoots I was doing in Cape Town.

About the 2008 shoot she said, "The inspiration was my husband's fantasies and having me, his wife, bring them to life"

About the 2008 shoot she said, “The inspiration was my husband’s fantasies and having me, his wife, bring them to life”

This time, the shoot was based solely on inspiration from her husband (it would be a gift to him again) and thus it differentiated hugely from any other shoots I had done in the past since most of my work was created from the feminine perspective and not from that of the male gaze.

The shoot we did together in 2007 had been mostly shot in a makeshift studio space set up in their home. There was only one look , a “strip tease” theme, wihc was shot using D’s home itself as the backdrop.
I think that the relationship created between the fantasy of seeing his wife in as the subject in the image and  having her placed in their own home, was what inspired most of the 2008 shoot.

My husband loved the first pictures we took and wanted more. He commissioned the shoot and even researched the poses we did. (Do not ask how!) Do you not remember we got a set of instructions from him!!

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The whole shoot was styled around their home and the resulting images are definitely defined by her partners ideals or fantasies. We shot three “looks” during the day, one in the kitchen, one in the outside entertainment area and the last one in the pool.
The images are very voyeuristic and an interesting study in approaching the subject of femininity from the male perspective specifically.
They are not a style I ever shoot in actually and defining what sets my style apart from this one is a hard one. I can instinctively explain it as the difference between the male gaze and my approach to image making of women (which comes from a more feminist perspective). At the same time the images are also just simply intimate and belong to this couple and their relationship.

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“The Housewives”, Private Commissions:
This is D.B. (2007)

(Please note: “The Housewives” was a term I fondly coined in 2006 after I started getting shoot requests from private individual women. The folder in my archives is still called this and so I’ve stuck to it, in part just for the irony. Most of these women are not “housewives” at all, but strong independent and forward thinking women who I have had the honour of documenting. All are private commissions, some I’m still in contact with, others I’ve totally lost contact with, some have become friends, some may wish not to have their real names used, others don’t mind, some may have their faces obscured for privacy reasons, others have generously shared their experiences of being photographed. When posting under “The Housewives” it means I am choosing some of my favourite images from one of these shoots publishing them here along with my and or her  experiences and memories).

Sunday Times Article about Nude Boudoir Shoots in Cape Town

In July 2007 the Sunday Times published a story about the commercial nude or semi-nude shoots which I had been doing since 2005. The article, written by Lauren Cohen, was picked up by both a Cape Town and a Johannesburg radio station for whom both requested interviews. One of the spin offs was this Jo’burg based client, who we’ll call “D”, and who I returned to document for three years in a row…

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This is how the first shoot came together for her:

My husband noticed an article on your work in the Sunday newspapers and casually asked me whether I would pose for photographs in the nude. I said that I would not have an issue with this. On my way home from work one afternoon I heard you being interviewed by Jenny Cruws Williams on Radio 702 and jotted your name down on a piece of paper. I gave the paper with your name on it to my husband and told him that if he could get your details I would think of doing a shoot for him. My husband gave me your details the very next day and the rest is history.

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 I remember you arriving at my house and opening a suitcase full of lingerie which you laid out onto my dining room table. I was horrified as I had never worn lingerie before and had never posed naked for anyone let alone someone with a camera. I remember thinking that you were so young but also so confident in yourself. I was initially self-conscious and anxious but you soon put me at ease and I enjoyed the shoot. It is not often that you can fantasise about being a playboy model!

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The intention for commissioning the shoot was for my husband as a Christmas present. I still remember that Christmas day he opened the gift…

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…He had no idea I had actually contacted you.
This was my secret.

He was like a little boy the whole day following me around like a little puppy dog. His fantasy had come to life.  It was the best gift I have ever given him. I must admit the photos were beautiful.

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We shot in “D”‘s home, using the space either as a location or setting up a more studio environment. We had discussed a few ideas and themes ahead of time which we spent the morning shooting. Her hubby was at work and had no idea what she was up to…a very sweet Christmas gift indeed!

This would be the first of three shoots with this client.

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