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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Surfaces and Strategies – Shoot Mod3#12 – Art Nude – “Sam”

As part of my ongoing work, I am exploring the use of models of all body shapes, size, age, gender and colour.  I embrace diversity and I am passionate about my photographs representing everyone.  We are a diverse society, which is often overlooked when we see advertisements of the ‘perfect’ body.  I am not advocating that my work is depicting ‘real’ women. This is such a false statement as models are also ‘real’ women who just happen to have genes that make them tall and slender.

We are also obsessed, it seems, with the cult of youth.  There should be nothing that stops an older person modelling.  After all the reality is that we are all getting older. So why do we place so much emphasis on looking younger?


Figure 1: 2017

Do we associate getting older with illness and decline? The advertisement above (figure 1) advocates less wrinkles and the idea that you can look young forever.  This ‘fix’ is only temporary though and is a great way for the manufacture to create an income stream. Whatever happened to growing old gracefully and accepting the wonderful changes this brings to our bodies?

There is plenty of scope for the more mature model to participate in all areas of modelling, especially art nude work. The more mature body is just a beautiful as a younger body. The main factor in how the images turn out is down to the photographer. As Margaret Gullette stated the image is “born in the eye of the photographer” (cited in O’Reilly and O’Reilly, 2017).  What she is really getting at is that as a photographer, I am able to make my models look beautiful or horrible, no matter what they look like in real life.

I am able to make my models relax in the studio and this results in images that show the human body in all it’s glory and beauty. I always photograph real images that sympathetically show the model.  I do not photoshop out bits, or change the shape or dimension of any body parts.  As a society, we need to start thinking about models as active participants in any shoot.  They are collaborators in the production of beautiful images of which we should all be proud.  Women should no longer undertake a passive role in images and this certainly happens when I am shooting people.  No longer should a woman’s (or man’s) beauty be defined by their shape, size, age etc.

Sam is a model who I have worked with before.  She volunteered to be part of my ongoing work.  As a more mature model, she can sometimes find it hard to get work that will produce images that are both beautiful and not sleazy.  Many photographers will only photograph younger models, and this is a shame.  Sam jumped at the chance to be photographed by me.  Knowing me from a previous shoot helped.  There was already a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

As the photographs below show, Sam is a beautiful model and she is proud of her body and who she is. I very much hope to work with her again.  Like all my shoots, there was an awful lot of laughter and conversation in the studio. I hope that these images of her will go some way to convincing those obsessed by youth that the more mature woman has so much to offer the photographic world.

Figure 2: Sutherst. 2017

Sam also decided that she would like to participate in the body part project. The images below in figure 3 are beautiful representations of a more mature body.  Each part of the body has a story to tell and the images draw you in to listen to the story.

Figure 3: Sutherst. 2017

Thank you Sam for being part of my project 🙂 !


O’Reilly, J. and O’Reilly, J. (2017). Interview with Mature Model Alex B: Fashion, Art and Photography. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 July 2017].


FIGURE 1: (2017). YOUNGER WOMEN – Prevage Skincare Print Ad. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 July 2017].

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