Tag Archives: playboy south africa

The Collection: Stockings & Socks
#31- #33

 (Please note: This is the “archive” of the collection of shoot props (generally lingerie/womens attire somehow) that I have gathered over the last 11 years of my career.
They are catalogued by number, and description for now as well as any other relevant information about their individual histories- how I came to have the items, what shoots they might have been used for, etc.
The style in which I document an item may vary according to the type of garment/object it is).

The Collection -STOCKINGS & SOCKS - no. 031 Catalogued for TheSofterSex

Playboy South Africa Miss September 2011 by Leah Hawker002

#31 – Knee-high socks
Knee-high cotton blend mens sports socks, sprayed green. I think I eventually found these at SportsUnlimited in Canal Walk after a mammoth search for any sock-style knee highs.
I was doing the pre-production for my first (!) Playboy Playmate shoot. The shoot was Rugby World Cup themed (all gold and green) and planned to be published in the September 2011 issue.

I found white socks a day before the shoot and asked the friend who was assisting me at the stadium to spray paint them green. I wouldn’t recommend this technique as they’re totally patchy- but it was the best solution at the time. Included is one of the published images from the locker rooms in the Cape Town stadium where we shot with Jade Fairbrother as Miss September.

The Collection -STOCKINGS & SOCKS - no. 032 Catalogued for TheSofterSex

#32 – Stockings
Thigh-high, black fishnet stockings, one size fits all. There’s this term “one size fits all” which would typically get attached to a mass-produced product like this and all it does in most cases (where the item doesn’t fit you) is leave women feeling inadequate I always think.

 

The Collection -STOCKINGS & SOCKS - no. 033 Catalogued for TheSofterSex

#33 – Knee-high stockings
Stripped semi-opaque and transparent, red knee high stockings. I bought two pairs in red and two pairs in fuchsia pink from a stocking factory shop in Woodstock years back.

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The Pinup Series, 2012
Part 1

Behind-The-Scenes PINUP Yolandi Malherbe 015 with Leah Hawker

In August 2012 I initiated a new series of work, using the Playboy South Africa Playmates, to go alongside a group exhibition called Nostalgia, which I was  curating at Exposure Gallery.

The series was shot over two days with six different Playmates. The images catalogued here come from the first shoot on Womens’ Day, 8th August with Yolandi Malherbe, Mpho Tsila and Yolandi Wiggett, – hair by Chantal Morgan and make-up by Colleen Van Rensburg.

A series of shots on the side for Yolandi to post on social media...

A series of shots on the side for Yolandi to post on social media…

The approach for the shoot took a while for me to plan, I wanted the final images to really look like old originals and thus decided to layer the processing of the images.

I shot in studio against a mid-tone grey back-drop roll using two lights; a strip soft box creating rim light and a beauty-dish with a grid as the main light. After retouching and quite substantial colour manipulation (to adjust backgrounds and props appropriately) I overlaid the files with previously documented textures and then had them printed out onto cotton-based Hanhemulle.

I spent a couple of days staining, soaking, burning, crushing, folding and generally damaging these originals until they looked sufficiently handled and then re-documented them on a white background. These files were again re-worked before final exhibition prints were created , again on Hahnemulle.

Yolandi M- Pinup Miss July 2011 Photography by Leah Hawker Cape Town Photography

The shoot was fun and relaxed with bubbly and a few friends coming in to lend a hand or deliver koeksisters (thank you Leigh Van Den Berg, beauty-blogger-extraordonaire of lipgglossismylife) (and also thank- you for the blog post about the shoot!).

Bubbles, hair, makeup, refernces, shooting, nails and friends popping in (thats Yolandi M. top middle,  Mpho bottom middle and Leigh Van Den Berg bottom right)

Bubbles, hair, makeup, refernces, shooting, nails and friends popping in (thats Yolandi M. top middle, Mpho bottom middle and Leigh Van Den Berg bottom right)

Yolandi Nude Pinup copy Photography by Leah Hawker Cape Town Photography Behind-The-Scenes PINUP Mpho Tsila  015 with Leah Hawker

Mpho- Pinup Miss August 2011 Photography by Leah Hawker Cape Town Photography Mpho Nude Pinup Photography by Leah Hawker Cape Town PhotographyFor each of the playmates I worked with I produced a semi-nude final image for the exhibition and a nude for publication in Playboy magazine itself. We also shot one or two fun closer up shots for each Playmate to use on social media.

Great pinup-style makeup done on Yolandi Wiggett by Colleen Van Rensberg.

Great pinup-style makeup done on Yolandi Wiggett by Colleen Van Rensberg.

Yolandi W- Pinup Miss February 2012 Photography by Leah Hawker Cape Town PhotographyYolandi W Nude Pinup Photography by Leah Hawker Cape Town Photography

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The Collection: Panties
#1 – #3

 (Please note: This is the “archive” of the collection of shoot props (generally lingerie/womens attire somehow) that I have gathered over the last 11 years of my career.
They are catalogued by number, and description for now as well as any other relevant information about their individual histories- how I came to have the items, what shoots they might have been used for, etc.
The style in which I document an item may vary according to the type of garment/object it is).

The Collection - PANTIES - no.001 Catalogued for TheSofterSex#1 – Panties.
Size smallish, synthetic, lacy, dusty pink. High cut and dated, these knickers sit like a pair of high waited jeans from the late 80’s/early 90’s. I have no clue where they came from anymore and have also never used them in a shoot. 

The Collection - PANTIES - no.002 Catalogued for TheSofterSex

#2 – Panties.
Size tiny, red with silver shimmery elastic and stretch-mesh frills. My partner who co-owns his own online sex-shop had been sent a few sample freebies with an order of which this tiny pair was one. They were handed over to me for the collection. They are so small I’ve never found a woman that could actually fit into them.

The Collection - PANTIES - no.003 Catalogued for TheSofterSex

Kelly McLennan Playboy Photograph by Leah Hawker Cape Town Photographer

Kelly-McLennan-Miss-April-26-By-Leah-Hawker

#3 – Panties.
Sheer pink lace Brazilian style bum with a boy-short style cut front in cotton with multi-coloured stripes. Mr. Price, size small or medium, label cut out for shoot. One of a two pack. I bought these knickers for the Miss April Playboy Playmate shoot featuring Kelly McLennan in 2013. The theme was based on the concept “Postcards from Cape Town” and was all about local beaches and Summer vibes, thus the playful girlie knickers (mostly for the PR shots). Included are two of the images shot on Sunset Beach for the editorial.

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Everything is about the “Selfie”

I’m so constantly aware of this pursuit for perfection in women around me. It appears in many different ways, be it eating disorders, aggressive beauty treatments, make-overs, insecurities, etc. It is the opposite of self-acceptance  I think it is created by our overexposure to advertising with its polished images of what is so-called-perfect mixed also with the strange importance we give to fame and celebrity. The byproduct of this pre-occupation is uncertainty about ones own self-image and an obsession with it. Of course also living in a social media “era” has made it even more vivid as we’re bombarded with images that have all been curated to depict how we see ourselves and others.

A staged "selfie" i shot of Yolandi during our cover shoot.

A staged “selfie” I shot of Yolandi during our cover shoot, made to look authentically safe taken.

The “selfie”, self-photo phenomenon, is a prime example of our self-identifying-obsession. The word itself, which I recently read was chosen as “Word of the Year for the Oxford English Dictionary”, just goes to show the extent of our new self-depicting obsession. The selfie trend tells us so much about how we selectively choose to portray ourselves to others based on what we assume is beautiful, acceptable, cool. It also picks up on the demand for authenticity in the subject via the amateur camera holder as apposed to the overly perfected images we are saturated with.

It was such  a relevant theme to pick up on for one of the cover shoots I was commissioned for earlier last year for magazine brand Playboy South Africa. The cover model, Yolandi Malherbe, is a past playmate and is very exposed to this issue through the social media she participates in, I liked the idea of playing with the irony of her self-mania on “her” cover, the look and concept of which were in my hands.

I photographed the Playboy South Africa April 2013 cover with Yolandi Malherbe as its cover “star”, her nudity covered with Polaroid “selfies”.

I photographed the Playboy South Africa April 2013 cover with Yolandi Malherbe as its cover “celebrity”, her nudity covered with Polaroid selfies.

I’ve been working with nudes, both commercially and in my own fine art based projects, since I started as a photographer. Many of the models I’ve worked with in the nude/swimwear etc genre now have  their own self created Facebook “fan” pages. Its such a strange platform and in most ways is very narcissistic, inviting an over-inflated concept of “self”.

A selection of the 100 polaroids I shot of Yolandi Malherbe on her cover shoot.

A selection of the 100 polaroids I shot of Yolandi Malherbe on her cover shoot for Playboy SA.

The models fill their pages with images of themselves; some professionally taken and the rest are often sexy selfies. The majority of the feedback and support they receive comes from anonymous followers (predominantly men from anywhere, often conservative countries) who enjoy the free “kick” thrown into their daily newsfeeds. I suppose that even though its 95% hot air it feeds a feeling of self-worth and therefore the behaviour is flourishing.

I styled my subject to reflect the self-within-the-self-within-the-self as a paradox, the twisted version we accept and create currently in a strange cycle between beauty and self identity.

An image from Yolandis pictorial where she poses taking her own selfies.

An image from Yolandi’s pictorial where she poses taking her own selfies with a vintage Polaroid camera.

In my series of images with Yolandi, apart from depicting her beautifully and sexily as the brand expects, I played with this notion of the Selfie as a kind of reversed insecurity, a tool we have started to use to gain a kind of attention. The images thus try to depict the model in layers: she is (1) the subject of the images and article, (2) she is photographed by me, (3) photographing herself, (4) showing you herself within the image again and (5) incorporate photos of herself within polaroids of herself which coyly draw attention to (6) the object of the images which is her own nudity/sexuality.

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Playboy South Africa Feature Article, May Issue, 2012

Women Only, Playboy SA Article

Women Only

Capetonian born and bred photographer, Leah Hawker, has specialized in one of our favorite subjects: Women.

She’s already shot our very own Jade Fairbrother as Miss September and we liked her work so much that we awarded her the prestigeous Playmate of the Year pictorial. When Leah isn’t shooting commercial assignments she’s most likely working on one of her privately commissioned nudes. Women in their 20’s to 40’s are undressing in front of her camera for steamy yet tasteful pictures, some of which we’ve featured here for your viewing pleasure…

Leah started photographing the (mostly naked) female form while completing her graduate thesis on erotic female stereotypes. Since then she’s gone on to develop an even broader portfolio and talent in this genre. Leah combines a strong conceptual art base with both her understanding of women and society’s effects on female identities, she blends her unique and bold style to create magic in her images.

The DPS shows images from the last 10 or so years, mostly private commissioned jobs by women.

The DPS shows images from the last 10 or so years, mostly private commissioned jobs by women.

 “Maybe being a female photographer here is an advantage, but,  having a strong vision and knowing how to make your model feel confident and sexy is what really matters”, she says. “The bizarre and funny situations that come with this job are priceless, like shooting a tied-up and blindfolded model in the dungeon of the Castle (of Good Hope) while trying to avoid the Korean tourist groups or having your model pour copious amounts of honey all over herself. For most, its not everyday you whip your kit off for saucy images.”

Leah’s abilities with nudes has us holding our breath. Find more of her work or contact her for commissions at www.leahhawker.co.za

On the left is a commissioned nude and on the right, a self portrait I shot in studio especially for this article.

On the left is a commissioned nude and on the right, a self portrait I shot in studio especially for this article.

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