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Mall Galleries, London, 21 March 2016

24 March 2016

My third time life modelling at Mall Galleries with Esther was set to be our first time duo posing there for a full session. We had duo posed on my début visit but that was a half-length session ahead of the group’s Christmas drinks. We were then separated for our second booking together, with Esther on 15-minute poses and me doing the half-hour shifts. Now, at last, we were both on the half-hours, and could thus pose as a couple for the entire evening… or so we thought.

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Always at Hesketh Hubbard Art Society, there are 15-minute and 30-minute poses, a long pose and a portrait pose. I had arrived first and was loitering in the wings when Simon – who books all the models – breezed by and declared, “Our long-pose model hasn’t arrived so I’m afraid I may have to split you up.” Fortunately when Esther joined me she spotted a regular artist who is also a model, and who kindly volunteered to be the replacement. Our gig was still on; we began with 30-minutes standing.

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Before commencing we practised a few intimate combinations in the pose space, so the artists would have had a fair idea of what to expect. Indeed, we’d worked on four poses the previous afternoon at Esther’s flat. All was going to plan… except over the course of half an hour, unforeseeable aches and discomfort emerge. One of Esther’s legs suffered in particular, so we improvised our second pose with both of us seated, such that it would bring rest to the afflicted limb.

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When we resumed after a tea break we got back on track with our pre-prepared work. Pose number three had me laying down flat, with my body and legs making a twisted curve, while Esther sat upright in the middle space. In all our poses we were finding a strong connection, but we were also mindful of the need to provide interesting profiles from 360° perspectives. That meant trying to have some face in view from every angle, and not concealing our most interesting shapes.

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For our final pose we planned for both of us to be seated but when the moment came, Esther had the urge to stand. She straddled my left shoulder and placed one hand on my hair while I rested my left cheek against her left hip and linked my hands in a loop through her legs. It was the most comfortable pose of the evening – a lovely, warming way to end the session. Afterwards we perused gleefully all the wonderful art created, and later joined several artists for a drink. Very happy days.

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