Life, at Home: a deeper perspective

A few weeks ago I first raised this project idea; now it is time to put some extra meat on the bones….

To summarise, I would like to shoot life models at their homes. The emphasis for the project is on the nude & the resulting images will be black and white shot on film in a personal style bearing the imprint of the model’s personality. You can hopefully see this style in some of my existing work.

To illustrate the type of image we might capture, I’m including here some of my images, most of which have not been published previously. There is a life model in another’s home, an artist at home with his life artworks, some self portraiture at home and a naturist at home. None of them are of a life model at home!

Mike Mike



Being a life model, especially if modelling for a group or class, can be quite an impersonal activity. For the artists there is often little or nothing that is known about the background or personality of the individual model in front of them, and the poses are often intentionally contrived. In what I will be asking for I am conscious that the project will take many life models out of their comfort zone, indeed some may never have been photographed nude and perhaps few in images that I hope will create an emotional connection with the viewer. But an important part will be the relaxed image too – this is not all about intensity, but about wider humanity and all kinds of emotions.

These are portraits, not figure studies. The face is all important but not all images need slavishly feature the face.

In Toronto


I talk about my self portraiture throughout this site. I would like photographs of any participating life models to say something personal too, albeit enabled by the presence of me as a photographer.

Having said this, I don’t want this project to be only about body issues but if life modelling does help then I would like this to be apparent, hence the Q&A below.  I do want to include those who use life modelling to celebrate their bodies and even those who simply don’t give a damn about nudity, art, whatever; it’s just a source of income!

Do not shoot with me if you are nervous about the images appearing on the internet. However, I intend to to follow the principles I apply to myself to do the utmost to preserve anonymity whenever desired while giving the images from the shoot maximum exposure. You will be able to review images prior to any being published and, within reasonable bounds, individual images which you do not like will not be published at all. Having said this, you should not pose for, or ask me to shoot, any genre of image that you would not wish to see published.

The shoot

At your home, and that would include your garden if you wish.

During the shoot I may on occasions use a digital camera too. This gets the model used to the dynamics of the shoot and gives me instant feedback on the lighting conditions, helping me use film to its best advantage.


Because this is about the model’s personality in their personal space, I am relatively open minded about what I shoot but I do have limits. It is important that photographer and model are comfortable so I ask that you express yourself within your own limits and do not let what I have shot with others influence you.

Friends, family and chaperones…

Models will be very welcome to have other people about during the shoot, even included in some of the images, especially if they are part of ‘home’. In fact I’d prefer it – a distraction from the all enveloping presence of the photographer and lens can yield some great natural images.

Nude self portrait - with Mrs H.
Self – with Mrs H.

Only the model who is the main subject need be nude. The fundamental of this project is that that subject must be a genuine life model willing to be photographed nude at their own home.

Who will I work with?

If the models in these images seem young and/or skinny then that is because I have not previously sought to shoot with life models, who I know will occupy a full spectrum of body types and ages. This project is a challenge to me to do something different – in working with film and with life models I hope its a challenge that will stretch me to produce some diverse and interesting images.

I want to achieve a balance of the sexes and ages. I live in Brighton. In shooting with film I’ll be incurring extra time and expense – but in this regard location will be a bigger issue. I will of necessity have to start this project in the South East. As I become more certain of how the project is developing I may be able to deal with other areas or a sudden opportunity may arise to shoot further afield. So wherever you are, do not be afraid to register your interest.

What’s in it for the model?

Participating models will get to review proofs and receive high resolution retouched digital files of their 10 favourite images together with similar files of any other images that I chose to publish. They will have the right to print and sell prints of these images. They will also have the right to use images in online portfolios or on social networks giving appropriate credit to the photographer.

If there is a book then it will be made available to you at cost.

What’s will I do with the images?

There will be a blog article illustrated with several images from the shoot and dealing with the Q&A. I may well publish these or other images on social networks such as flickr and tumblr. Images may finish up getting shared from these sources to Facebook and I will follow instructions on whether or not they should be tagged. I will credit you in whatever way you prefer wherever images are used.

Ultimately there may be an exhibition or a book. I will have the right to print and sell the book and prints of these images but overall, I foresee that the project is likely to cost me rather than make me money.

And finally, the Q &A …

Ahead of the shoot I will ask for 10 questions to be answered. I’d like you to answer them all as honestly as possible. When images from the shoot are published in a blog post and/or in a book, the answers to the questions will be published too.

When making initial contact you might only want to deal with 1., 9. and 10. But don’t feel you have to hold back…

  1. For how long have you worked as a life model? To what extent (if any) do you do it to earn money?
  2. Have you previously undertaken photographic modelling and if so, as an experience, how does it compare to life modelling?
  3. Are you a naturist and if so what does that mean?
  4. Is life modelling a pleasing, even sensual, experience? Or is it just another job?
  5. Do you consider yourself an artist?
  6. Away from modelling, do you participate in public or artistic events that involve nudity??
  7. How do you look after your body and is this any different because of your life modelling?
  8. Is life modelling an activity known to friends, family and acquaintances? If there are exceptions, why should that be the case?
  9. Where are you located? What name do you use as a model? Please share any model portfolio links with me. Can I share them with others?
  10. I am somebody who has used naturism and my camera on myself to help control what is perhaps a mild form of body dysmorphia. Do you have any ‘body issues’ that life modelling has helped you deal with? Equally, let me know here if, for example, you simply celebrate your body or don’t give a damn!

Please use the contact page on this site, facebook ( or email to scott ‘at’ to get in touch.

Project #2: “North Circular Wall”

This is the other project that I have recently conceived and it will be an exercise for my street / urban photography…

“North Circular Wall”

The economy of London, the prices of sandwiches, transport, beer and homes is now inextricably linked to the presence there of the financial sector and related service sector industries. Not to mention the wider establishment, press and other media. 

Over the last 30 years, from the time I first moved there from the South Wales valleys, Londoners have found themselves living together in an exclusive enclave that just gets wealthier and wealthier. But if things continue in this way, and the wealth differential between London and the rest of the country escalates such that enough people outside London smell a rat, how will London react to keep out the pesky northerners and the like?

The North Circular Wall is a fiction that in a literal sense will probably never happen. But it already exists in the sense that many of those inside the wall want to keep others out. Except those with money of course. This desire for exclusivity is mainly at a sub-concious level right now, Boris would never admit to it, but it is the way things are developing.

I’m not sure how exactly the project will evolve around the photographs I will take (or have previously taken in London) but once I was part of things and now, just over three year after I left, I feel quite removed from it all. I could even say excluded.

So I intend to visit places where I have lived and look at on what terms it would be possible to move back now. And places where I worked to see how they have evolved, who went bust and who is still there. I may even revisit one or two places where I bought a beer. And the North Circular Road…..