“The Housewives”, Private Commissions:
This is Nicola

(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 2007 I documented Nicola. The shoot was an interesting one- I worked with three friends, all in their mid twenties. It felt like a social gathering, a party and a shoot all at once. The shoot was initiated by Nicola and two more of our friends joined at the tail-end of the shoot, so that by the end of the afternoon I had documented a series of images for each of the three women (the other images will each be posted separately at a later stage though).

This was at a time before I had my own studio and rented a small space with gear from Roodebloem Studios in Woodstock.
We set about producing three different looks for her shoot, some are the ones selected and posted here.

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I asked her to share a bit about her experience, her feelings about her body and about the images that were created on that day, 7 years ago…

My friend and I had seen a lot of your beautiful photography over the years and we thought it would be fun and memorable to do a shoot together. You being a friend, made it all the more appealing, as there was no sense of awkwardness and the idea of having a set of sexy but tasteful images of ourselves was a nice idea .

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I have not ‘used’ the images, but I look at them from time to time, and, it is worth noting, that looking at the pictures now reminds me of how hard we can be on ourselves, as I think now that I looked lovely in the pictures, but I did not feel confident about my body at the time, so it’s a good reminder of how warped our perspectives can be!
It was a great experience.
I enjoyed dressing up, it was fun to be ‘directed’ by someone – and learn a few little tricks on how you can manipulate your ‘look’ by making a few subtle changes to your pose, for example.
I came away from the shoot excited and feeling good about my body.

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At the time of the shoot, I was feeling a little uncertain about my body. I had recently lost quite a bit of weight, an achievement I was quite proud of, but I was still very self conscious and unsure of how I would come across on camera. Through out the shoot however, I was made to feel totally at ease and as if there was no question that I could be gorgeous.

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I am now 32 and feel much more comfortable in my skin. Although I do have wobbles every now and again, I think overall, I feel much less concerned and am quite happy with myself.
I like to look back at the pictures- it’s fun and a nice reminder of a really good day with friends!

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From the variety of images we shot together that day, the last one, the one posted above with the apples, is my favourite, it reminds me of some Renaissance paintings, especially the lighting and colouring.

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