Naked Came I

I admit it: I got started just for the money. Modeling nude for art photographers was an easy way to pick up some extra cash.

But when I first posed for a talented photographer, and then saw what amazing photos he'd created using nothing but me, a black backdrop, and a Hasselblad, I got hooked. I kept modeling, but watching the photographers during shoots, asking questions about technique, and thinking, "I could do this."

I bought a camera, and began teaching myself photography by doing self-portraits. And because I think pictures of naked people are more interesting than pictures of clothed people, I did nude self-portraits. Why not? I'm a good model, I'm free, and I'm always available when I want to shoot.

Doing nude self-portraits began as a technical exercise. But as I progressed, I realized, hey, I'm actually getting some good shots here. (Good enough that other people want to buy prints of them--how amazing!) I thought I was just learning a craft, and I became an artist sort of by accident.

Hey, dig me, baby, I'm an artist. Now what the hell do I do? Well, artists show their work, so, I'll hang my stuff somewhere. Easy, right?

Wrong. I had no idea how nervous and vulnerable I would feel the first time I hung a show of these photos. I mean, nervous? Me? I'm an in-your-face, sex-positive pervert with a Gold's Gym membership. I'm not ashamed of my body. Why do I feel so... naked, just because people are going to look at pictures of me naked?

It took me a little while to figure it out: Uh, Matisse, it's the art, stupid. Being self-confident about how one looks naked doesn't automatically translate into being self-confident about displaying nude self-portraits. The photos aren't explicit. (No comparisons to Natacha Merritt, please.) But all art reveals something intimate about the artist, and my self-portraits reveal even more aspects of myself and my sexuality than the photos I take of other people.

So dig me, I'm a rookie artist. That's why I'm excited about having my work displayed in the Seattle Erotic Art Festival that's happening later this month. It's going to be great to be in a show with some truly talented artists, all of whom have hung a little of their sexuality on the wall.

Seattle Erotic Art Festival runs Fri-Sun Jan 31-Feb 2. Go to for more information.