“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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