(Note: “The Housewives” was a term I fondly coined in 2006 after I started getting shoot requests from private, individual women who became my clients. Many of the women who contacted me were married and in their mid 30’s and were doing the shoots as gifts to their husbands. 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 and the demographic has changed substantially over the years. 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.)
This is Amy. I photographed her at Roodebloem Studios in 2008. We shot quite a few different looks during her 2 hour shoot, ranging from more conceptual, to more traditional nudes, vintage inspired boudoir-style images and series which had a harder more domiatrix type feel to it which incorporated the rope I had used the previous year to shoot the rope-bound girls for the Alan Walt Architects & Associates’ client end of year greeting card.
Amy’s shoot came at a time when I was really utilising the props I had already collected during my first 6 years in photography. I was also still quite connected to many of my initial references which I’d been incorporating into my ideas during my graduate body of work and so many of the themes seem prevalent in this shoot.
Amy was easy going and fun during the shoot as far as I remember, and with the usual touch of anxiety about parts of her body which she may have felt self-conscious about.
In all the years I’ve been working this closely with women there have been very few times that I’ve come across someone who is outright confident about the way their bodies look…
Since the time of this shoot Amy has been very open and happy for me to use the images in connection with other projects,- this fact (one I’ve found strangely common with my clients) is, I feel, like a vote of confidence for how such images can lend themselves to being empowering about ones self image.