*Photographs by Kat Philcox Photography
A lot of photographers hide their shyness behind the camera, and are often quite unused to having their own picture taken – even if we may sometimes take self-portraits in the desire to record a version of ourselves with which we can be content.
Since reaching my thirties, I have set milestones that I could look forward to. It may seem a little morbid, but so far these have related to amazing people who died at a particular age; I don’t know why, but the first milestone was 33, the age at which Jesus Christ is believed to have died.
Then as 33 turned, happily, to 34, I set my sights on 36: the age that Marilyn Monroe was when she died. At 35, I read that 36 was considered to be the perfect, golden, ageless age of a woman. With this in mind, I decided that when I was 36, I would pose nude for a photo shoot – something which the inimitable MM also did, only six weeks before her death.
Having agreed to be my photographer, in September 2012 close friend Kat of Kat Philcox Photography took me into her studio for a couple of hours, both of us somewhat apprehensive about this new experience. Like me, Kat is not very comfortable having her photo taken, so I knew she would understand my trepidation. After a few preparations were made, we began working on clothed shots until we were both comfortable enough for me to begin to shed my clothes. Most of the photos were taken without my glasses on – a rare experience, and one which turned out to be quite helpful: having Kat removed from my focus (and therefore my personal space, even when she was quite close) allowed me to be less inhibited. The shoot was an extraordinary experience, one which I was delighted to share with her.
My original vision was to have a collection reminiscent of classic Film Noir, and those surreally perfect images of the silver screen sirens.Although clients rarely have the opportunity to do so, Kat generously provided me with a disc of (largely) unedited photos so that I could edit them myself. As much as I had enjoyed seeing the “teaser” photos from the shoot, it was not until I began editing that I really felt connected to them – almost as though I had been the photographer of another subject – and I felt privileged to have this opportunity.
I am very pleased with how they turned out, and now have a visual reminder of this time of my life to look back upon in years to come. Initially unsure what to actually do with my photos – many of them are a little unsuited to being hung upon my walls! – I decided to make a book, using the free software from Blurb, which I have used several times in the past few years. The image above is from the front cover; the one below is on the back cover. Maybe sometime I’ll share what’s between the sheets!
Having turned 37 shortly after the shoot took place, it is time again to set my sights upon another milestone age – and to devise a way to commemorate it.