"...this was different; this wasn’t for the improvement of an illustrator, this was for me and it was going to be on the interwebs."

I’ve had a fair deal of exposure to nudity as a fine arts student and it certainly changed my perception of the nude form. Through hours upon hours of life drawing, my eyes now wander over the curves and hard lines of the body and I obsess over shadow contours, shapes, alignments, and the overall structure. I’ve learned to visually measure proportion and body kinetics in order to sculpt that form on canvas or a pad of paper. In those moments, I am entirely desensitized. The body becomes an object for visual study and academic application, rather than something sexual or taboo in nature.

All of this being said, the thought of being on the other side was absolutely terrifying. I had previously thought about being a life drawing model, but this was different; this wasn’t for the improvement of an illustrator, this was for me and it was going to be on the interwebs.

I began pacing around my tiny bachelor apartment two hours before the shoot and rearranged things here and there. I nit picked over what I should wear initially to make the transition into the photoshoot easier. Do I just wear what is normally appropriate? Or do I answer the door ready to go? Do I wear socks? I ended up choosing purple elephant patterned boxers and my favourite tank top, thinking I might as well get comfortable. I then proceeded to give myself several extremely eloquent pep talks along the lines of, “C’mon man, you know nudity isn’t a big deal, you always say nudity isn’t a big deal, you’re practically nude all the time when you’re painting anyway. Relax!” In the end it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

I spent most of the time painting and talking to the brilliant photographer, occasionally hearing the shutter of her camera. I found myself turning away from the canvas and directly facing her while I ranted, feeling the redness of my face and the sweat building up in my palms. But after the initial shock and nerves wore off I was so comfortable I forgot I wasn’t wearing anything other than my glasses. By the end I had finished the second layer of the painting and the photographer was on her way, leaving me feeling excited about the outcome of this project and pretty darn proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone.

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