“The Housewives”, Private Commissions:
This is Simone

(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).

Pilates-Poses-by-Leah-Hawker-13Simone’s shoot was a little different, it was a private commission but non-nude, her idea was to shoot a series of quite symmetrical pilates poses. The images would be used both as gift in the form of a calendar for her partner and a series of beautifully framed prints for her home workout space.
Pilates-Poses-by-Leah-Hawker-11After a meeting about the shoot to discuss Simone’s ideas and the variable possibilities we decided on clean B&W-only garments, a soft lighting style with a mild shadow presence and lots of white space which meant shooting in a studio with a super broad built in infinity curve (thanks Roodebloem Studios).Pilates-Poses-by-Leah-Hawker-15Simone was amazing to shoot with her beautifully toned body (from pilates training of course) and the images look exactly the way I had imagined they should. Maybe we should publish a Cape Town Pilates book Simone?
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Pilates-Poses-by-Leah-Hawker-05The simplicity of her bodys’ shape in the space, her serenity and the atmosphere of the photographs is a great reflection on the principles of the practice: concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing.

A brief description, thanks to Wikipedia:

In his book Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates presents his method as the art of controlled movements, which should look and feel like a workout (not a therapy) when properly manifested.

If practiced with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the whole human body. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong powerhouse, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginner to advanced or to any other level, and also in terms of the instructor and practitioner’s specific goals and/or limitations. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

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