Picture Perfect

Phoebe takes the plunge and does a nude photo shoot.

Feature by Phoebe Henderson | 09 Mar 2010


I'm a girl who generally avoids having her picture taken.

Ever since a class photograph when I was nine years old led a friend's brother to point at me and ask “who's that ugly boy in the middle?”, I tend to shy away from the camera. That sort of thing is a lot for a nine-year-old to take in.

There does, however, come a time when you have to make peace with the way you look, and accept the fact that Angelina Jolie's features will never jump off her face and land on yours.

I'm glad to say that I have changed dramatically since primary school - but essentially am still the same wonky-faced girl who occasionally feels like that ugly boy in the middle. If it wasn't for the fact I scrub up rather well, this might bother me more than it should.

I'd been chatting to the photographer for a while online and was pleased when he agreed to do these photos for me. Mainly because I knew he was a professional, reputable photographer and I wasn't going to be faced with some guy with a disposable camera and a crazy look in his eye.

Preparation was simple: remove every strand of hair (from the neck down, obviously), empty contents of underwear drawer (removing grey pants) into suitcase, make grumpy face at wobbly stomach in the mirror, and, to avoid fainting, keep repeating to yourself “It's only a photograph ... it's only a photograph ...”

Even as I knocked on the hotel room door, the words “Ohforfuck'ssake I can't do this” repeated over and over. But as I stepped inside and we began chatting I immediately felt at ease and the voices changed to “You're here now, just do it and stop whining”.

The few few shots were uncomfortable, mainly because I didn't have a fucking clue what I was doing, which probably showed on my face, but it did get much easier and actually started to become quite fun. I can't say that I ever felt sexy or erotic during the shoot, and there's nothing quite like hearing “Can you push up your left boob so it's level with the other one” to instantly bring you crashing back down to earth and make you feel like Les Dawson in a drag sketch.

I had remained partially clothed throughout, and as we got near the end I decided to take it all off and subject the poor man to my pale body, hoping that he'd airbrush my stretch marks/stomach/arse to within an inch of their lives afterwards.

So we finished up, had a drink and that was that. I then spent the rest of the day feeling very proud of myself, wondering if I'd made the right decision going totally nude, and then eventually blaming Gok Wan. Not just for this.

I've been able to see some of the pictures and although I'm not perfect in them and I haven't become magically thinner or less wonky, I'm thrilled with the outcome.

The ugly boy has turned into a rather hot woman; with uneven boobs it seems, but hot nonetheless.