Love & Sex

I Did It for Science: Nude Photography

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I Did It For Science by Grant Stoddard


To become a photographer of female nudes.


State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction that can be verified by the results of the experiment.

The digital revolution has begat a new alpha male, at least in my view. After speaking with several of the photographers who exhibit their most explicit work on Nerve, I must contend that they have the most rock ‘n’ roll job there is. I want in. Trouble is, I have no camera, very little money for models and, truth be told, I am to photography what Jessica Simpson is to zoology.

Please list all the materials required for this experiment (including, if applicable, how they were obtained).

Digital camera (one)
Red lipstick
Model releases (three)
Pot
Wine (cheap)

Jesse
click here for Jesse’s pics

Monika
click here for Monika’s pics

Samantha
click here for Samantha’s pics

In this portion of your report, you must describe, step-by-step, what you did in your lab. It should be specific enough that someone who has not seen the lab can follow the directions and recreate the same lab.

I asked a few photographers how they lived the dream. Peter Gorman told me that finding models was the easiest step of the process. He began his career by shooting nudes of his then-girlfriend, now-wife.

“Do you have one of those?” he asked.

“No, I don’t,” I replied.

“You should get one — great place to start.”

Not particularly helpful. Gorman went on to say that he once posted ads in dance studios and was deluged with volunteers. So I painstakingly Photoshopped a set of flyers that read something like:

WOMEN WANTED FOR NUDE MODELING

Simple, beautiful. I posted flyers in art schools, dance academies and the areas surrounding NYU. Then I hurried back to the office, laughing to myself. I was certain I’d learned how to roll back women’s inhibitions — and underpants — for the sake of art.

A week later, I’d recieved zero responses. I tried to put an ad on Craig’s List but learned that the Craig’s List minions — who find slippery-blowjob-wanted ads perfectly acceptable — forbid photographers from soliciting nude models in the “miscellaneous jobs” section. Their concern: some artistes might have hidden agendas.

They had my number. Smart.

For further counsel, I turned to Siege, a young Brooklyn photographer who goes a few steps further than taking beautiful pictures of hot girls: he captures them fooling around with each other, then fucks them. He and his stunning bisexual girlfriend lead a life I just can’t get my tiny mind around.

“You must have friends who’ll do that,” Siege told me. “What with your . . . job and all.”

“Are you nuts?” I spluttered.

“My girlfriend and I have been having people over for a while,” Siege explained. “Taking pictures was really an afterthought. We were just documenting what was going on anyway.”

“Are you trying to make me hate you?” I replied.

“Look, if you ask nicely, it’s amazing what people will do. Be confident and respectful, and see what happens. ”

“But you have a ready-made harem!”

“But you have an accent,” he reasoned. “You’re miles ahead of the game.”

What-fucking-ever! After I begged for leads, Siege directed me to a member of his “super secret sex club.” I casually asked her, as politely and confidently as one can over email, if she would model for me.

“I’d only feel comfortable doing that kind of thing for Siege,” she wrote back.

It then became clear to me that Siege had sold his soul to the devil.

Several weeks later, I had relocated to Los Angeles, and I decided to resurrect my photography project. Something about L.A. made me feel that there was just enough desperation in the air for this to work.



Quantify the effects of the experiment.

1. Jesse

Jesse
click here for Jesse’s pics

Continuing my assimilation into California culture, I joined a yoga class. It was a very Hollywood affair. Behind me was Garry Shandling. In front of me was Jennifer Beals. Neither was a slouch at yoga. To my left was a woman so beautiful and flexible that I had to chat her up after class. Apparently, pretending to be a photographer gave me brass balls. I think I might visualize a Canon every time I talk to a girl from now on.

“You look very . . . strong,” I said earnestly.

“Thank you,” she said, rolling up her yoga mat and grinning. Once vertical, she was much taller than me.

“Listen,” I said, hoping that the morning’s stretches had afforded me an extra inch or so in height. “I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but you have a great-looking body. I’d really rather like to take pictures of it . . . and you, of course. Um, you could pose alongside it.”

By the way she started laughing and playing with her hair, I figured I had correctly injected the optimum amount of “bumbling British idiot” into my shtick. I’m always trying to channel Hugh Grant, but more often than not, it comes out more like Mr. Bean. But not this time.

“Hmmmm. You’re a photographer? Well, let me think about that for a little while,” she said, dramatically furrowing her brow. “Why don’t you give me your number.” Swell. Instead of telling me “no” outright, she would just neglect to call me. I admired both her tact and cowardice.

To my astonishment, Jesse phoned within an hour.

“Hey Grant,” she said in a particularly sunny tone. “I’ll do it, but you can’t use any shots of my face, okay?”

“Deal!” I cried, jubilant.

With a shocking lack of hesitation, Jesse invited me over to her place in the Hollywood hills. I arrived at nine sharp. Disconcertingly, I was greeted by a robust man in his late fifties who sported a salt ‘n’ pepper ponytail and beard. “Well! Hello there!” he boomed.

Was Santa Claus on the Atkins diet? “Um, I’m looking for Jesse,” I stuttered, fighting the urge to bolt. Thankfully, she appeared behind him, still glowing from yoga, barefoot in an asymmetrical black dress with a loose pink leather belt. Her left hand lazed around a glass of wine. There seemed to be a party in her apartment.

“Grant!” she said, throwing her arms around me as if we were old friends. “Come this way!”

Jesse grabbed my hand and led me through the party, a fairly diverse crowd of ten. Among the men, beards were a popular theme. Jesse guided me to the master bedroom, which she quickly decided was too messy and ushered me into a smaller, even messier room. I started clearing some of the clutter from the bed, trying to look like I knew what I was doing.

“How do you want me?” she chirped.

Truth be told, I hadn’t really thought about what would happen once I got Jesse naked. Proactivity is not my strong suit. “Uh,” I stalled. “How about we take some pictures of . . . some of the postures . . . from yoga class?”

“Excellent idea!” she said. With one hand, she pulled her belt off; with the other, she brushed her dress to the floor. She wasn’t wearing a bra or panties, and went from fully clothed to totally naked within a half-second. It was like that scene in Naked Gun where Lt. Drebin pulls his entire suit off with one hand.

“Er . . . would you mind getting on the bed for me?” I stammered. This was intimidating. Not only did Jesse have a good ten years and five inches on me, but was also completely blasé about getting her kit off for a random nimrod with a camera. In the midst of a party she was hosting no less. Fierce. Like Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science, I had masterminded a scenario where I was in a room with an older, smarter, cultured, naked woman, and I could only imagine tossing off in the bathroom. I think I’ve been clothed in the presence of naked women for about twenty-five seconds in my entire life.

Perched confidently on the duvet, Jesse had the physique of a high-school track star with the boobs of a homecoming queen. I was turned on, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor until I had the pictures. I moved in for a few close shots of her breasts. “They’re real!” she said, then gave them a curious squeeze, as if she could hardly believe that herself.

The thing with yoga is that without clothes on, it can get gynecological at the drop of a hat. Jesse was sitting pretzel-style then flipped on to her back, her legs in the same position. Outside of the orgy I attended, I can’t think of a time I’d seen labia minora without at least buying its owner a drink first.

I asked Jesse if her body was the result of practicing yoga. “To an extent,” she said. “But genetically, I had a great head start.” I tucked my boner under the waistline of my pants and pulled my shirt down over it. “You’re very lucky,” I replied.

Then she started breathing at a near window-rattling volume and said something Indian, akin to “Om.” I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt. I walked around her, snapping about sixty pictures of fifteen postures. As Jesse pulled off another emergency-room defying pose, I started to wonder if she had me here only to serve as a conversation piece for her party. Sorry I was late with the crudit