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Esther and Steve photoshoot no.1

21 January 2016

Happy New Year! Esther and I stood among the crowds gathered at Hilly Fields Park in Brockley, clutching glasses of wine and watching wave after wave of fireworks surge in arcs from the distant London Eye. It was a simple start to what we hoped would be an extraordinary 12 months of modelling and performance. The next day we began our preparations…

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Over the last three months of 2015 we had acquired a taste for life modelling together; we shared poses twice for Art Macabre, in Oxford and Birmingham, once for Mall Galleries, and twice for Esther’s own Spirited Bodies events – at Bargehouse and Tanner Street. To help keep this going through 2016, we decided to get a portfolio of duo-posing photos taken.

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In truth we also wanted pictures simply to celebrate being together. Our photographer was the artist known as Lidia. She is best known for her work with film and video but, as a friend of Esther’s who’d worked with her on Girl in Suitcase at Dandifest 2015, she kindly offered to help. Esther identifies strongly with Lidia and was keen for me to see why. After large Riojas at The Eagle, we made our way to Lidia’s Hoxton flat.

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Inside we were quite moved by all the trouble she had gone to on our behalf. An entire room had been given over to the shoot, with a huge black sheet draped along one wall and spilling across half the floor. A ladder stood in readiness for shots angled down to our reclining bodies. It was my first meeting with Lidia and I could not have been more warmed by her thoroughness, commitment, kindness and hospitality.

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Before starting the shoot we chatted a while in the kitchen, with insights into Lidia’s current project concerning the horror of female genital mutilation (FGM). It would be wrong of me to explain too much about her works in progress, but the completed pieces I saw were so exquisite as to be both astonishing and ghastly. Her art, when finally realised, will be richly deserving of a large audience.

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Returning to the process of our shoot, Esther and I stripped naked in Lidia’s bedroom then slippered back to where we would be photographed. We’d become accustomed to observing our bodies together and the shapes they make in close contact, but had practised nothing specific for this moment. Compact poses seemed to be the way to go, however, so we lowered ourselves to the floor.

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I sat with one leg crooked flat and the other knee pointing upwards; Esther nestled in to my space, mirroring the upward knee and hooking her other leg back around me. I curled one hand around her breasts and placed the other arm across her belly. Before Lidia could take the first shot, I realised that by lowering my elbow just a little I could make the image social media-friendly. And so we began.

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From this opening position we proceeded to lean and twist and fold and curve around each other. Limbs accommodated and supported, bodies pressed and caressed, but without ever crossing the divide into overtly sexual territory. Our objective was art, not obscenity, though it has become a matter of discussion whether the resulting images are inherently erotic, or even soft porn.

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For each pose, Lidia captured us from two or three angles and was ultimately able to present us with a collection of 123 fine images. We were truly delighted. Back in our clothes, back in the kitchen, we settled down to salmon on toast with cheese, plus a few bottles of red wine. Lidia kept clicking away, trying to snatch close-up portraits of us looking natural. The results were mixed but the food was superb.

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In time we were joined by Lidia’s partner, Ollie, and the laughs and banter continued to flow. We were sad eventually to leave but the fog of wine was intensifying – in me, anyway – and we had to depart back to south London, leaving our generous hosts in peace. The full set of photos were delivered to us just two days later, and the pick of them now form the Esther and Steve page on this site.

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Thank you, Lidia!

More photos from this shoot: Esther and Steve

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From → Art

3 Comments
  1. such a beautiful series of intimacy. lovely.

  2. Simply gorgeous work you two! Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Reblogged this on Look at Both Sides Now and commented:
    Beautiful photos. Your poses together are so natural. As a figure model myself, I know it so rare for two models to pose on the same stand, so you are providing a truly exceptional experience for artists. Thank you for sharing.

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