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