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Garrett Centre, London, 17 July 2013

20 July 2013

My debut modelling for one of Adrian Dutton’s groups had been booked months in advance. My second booking, a fortnight later, came at just 20 hours’ notice. Another model’s cancellation was my own good fortune. I would be working for a Wednesday group at the Garrett Centre in Bethnal Green.

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I arrived early, at the same time as Adrian and Anya. A few artists were on the scene so together we began setting up the room. Tables were arranged into a square, four to each side, with two chairs for each table. Three extra tables were placed at the centre of the square to serve as my platform, and from somewhere an aluminium A-frame stepladder appeared.

As more artists arrived I retreated from view and changed into my dressing gown. The majority of seats were occupied by the time I returned and entered the square. Adrian introduced me to the group, I slipped off my gown and stepped up onto a table.

The maddening heat of day had become a muggy oppression by evening. Being the only one naked I assumed I would be the most comfortable person in the room, yet right from the first ten-minute pose – standing upright with elbows pointed high and thumbs pressed down to my eyebrows – I could feel the sweat trickling and tickling.

A series of one-minute and three-minute poses followed: standing, kneeling or folded towards the ladder. At five minutes I tried my first ever full Lotus position pose, and then continued for five minutes seated with knees drawn up tightly to my body.

After a fairly passive 20-minute standing pose, I completed the first half of the session with ten minutes laying down with one leg bent up, the other hanging off the table, and one arm raised. For the whole sequence I tried to rotate sufficiently to give everyone a balanced set of front, back and side views.

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At the interval, aside from enjoying pizza, strawberries and Sauvignon Blanc, I had the pleasure of chatting to an artist whose main profession was physiotherapy. In addition to producing the excellent works below, she had come along to cultivate her analysis of the human body. I hoped I’d made a worthy case study, whilst privately wondering what physical defects in need of urgent repair she may have spotted.

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A 40-minute standing pose occupied the whole of the second session, leaning across the frame of the stepladder with my arms folded over the top. I thought I had found a reasonably comfortable balance but misjudged how the clammy night would steadily bring out a mist of sweat. For the last 20 minutes it was a constant strain to prevent my arms sliding across each other and out of position.

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As Adrian finally liberated me from my struggle, so a generous round of applause from the artists renewed my energy. Some wonderful art had been created in a serious but pleasantly social environment. Several nice compliments were exchange before we all went our separate ways into the heavy night air.

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