Confession: I Posed For Nude Photos

I took nude photos

Everything came off. Even my undies!

I’m ready when you are,” he said.
“Okay,” I said, peeled my dress off like I’d done it a hundred times, and kicked it into a corner of the brightly-lit room.

The camera clicked, twice.

“Just a moment, darling,” he said, in a lilting voice flavored by eastern Europe. “You’re beautiful. But right now, you’re the color of a freshly-cooked lobster.”

The jig was up: I hadn’t done this a hundred times. And while I had shed my clothes once or twice to pose for art classes in college, it was a far different thing to be here, in the studio of a semi-famous photographer, wearing nothing but smoky eye makeup and a full-body blush, doing one of the few things that girls are admonished never to do.

Taking your clothes off for the camera is widely considered a scandalous no-no; these days, you can’t go on the internet without tripping over leaked shots of some chagrined celebrity—usually a self-taken cellphone pic by an actress in her bathroom mirror— and the adult panic over “sexting” has parents warning their kids to never, ever remove their clothes in the presence of a camera. And even after I’d already made up my mind to allow myself to be photographed by this man, whose work I had seen and admired in the pages of many a magazine, I couldn’t escape the sense that I was doing something… not wrong, exactly, but certainly naughty.

The camera was intimidating at first.

“Are you ready?” he asked, as the color receded from my cheeks.

I gulped down the last of my reservations and said yes.

Being naked in front of this stranger led me to reveal more than just my body; I told him about a new boyfriend, admitting my previously-unspoken hopes that we might get married. I told him that one of my reasons for posing was an ongoing struggle with body dysmorphia— that I thought I might make peace with my body by seeing it through another person’s eyes. And when he asked what sort of pictures I was hoping to take, I surprised even myself by saying I wanted to push the envelope—that I’d rather look interesting and hideous than vacantly pretty.

By the end of the evening, I hadn’t just shed my clothes, I’d lost all inhibition. I wasn’t me; I was a model, and ready to do whatever it took to make the photos real. I slapped myself in the face and spat on the floor. I clawed raw, red welts into my shoulders and chest. And when he said, “Show me how ugly you can be,” I arched my back, contorted my face, and screamed.

When I left, he said, “I think these are going to be good.”

i took nude photos

He sent them to me, and nobody else.

The pictures from that night have never surfaced except in a private digital gallery, emailed only to me by the man who took them. In the months after I posed for him, he went from semi-known to full-on famous, and went from shooting random portraits of unremarkable women to shooting celebrities for Vogue and Vanity Fair; I assume that the shots from that night have been long since forgotten. But they are good.

In them, I’m unafraid. Uninhibited. Unconcerned about being not pretty enough, thin enough, good enough. For those few hours, I was utterly in the moment; and in the last photos taken that evening, I am naked, looking over my shoulder, staring down the camera with flat, fierce confidence.

And if one of them ever does turn up, online or on a gallery wall, I’ll be proud to say, “Yes, that’s me.” I’ll even say it without blushing.

What do you think about naked pictures? Good idea or not so much? Tell us in the comments!

Then, check out the latest news on sexting!

Posted in: Being Yourself, Body Image, Confessions, Uncategorized, Your Life
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  • Gerald Cooper

    I simply cannot understand all this emotion over nudity. If God wanted us to be covered he would have put all our genitalia internally. Hundreds of years ago the Christian church sent emissaries around the world to covert the people. They managed to persuade many people that sex and nudity were dirty and obscene. This is not true, sex is perfectly normal. There is nothing dirty or obscene about the human body, after all we are all naked underneath. Get real girls- if you got it flaunt it.

  • eyeamnicegirl

    You know, things are a lot different than even 25 years ago. Nude pictures are a dime a dozen on the web, if a guy wants to see a naked gal, google will take him to millions of images in an instant. If a gal wants to see a naked guy, there is plenty out there for her, too. I mean, that was standard activity for 13-year old slumber parties — surf the web looking for the best penis, of course, we were all virgins and had no clue but we could still argue for hours about which one was the best. While I wouldn’t do porn or porn-type type posing (not the self-image I want to project), I would consider posing nude in the right situation, something with a bit of fun to it, like body painting or something like that. That said, I knew better than to pose for any guy I was dating, as sooner or later, those pictures would end up on a the phones/computers of a lot of guys I know, and I wouldn’t want the harassment that goes with such.

  • Susan

    I have been a profesional model from the age of 12. I began with Jr. Miss. Then swimsute. Lingerie, when I turn 18 my photographer ask me to take some nudes. I posed. He sent then to a magizine. They ask me to be there centerfold. That started my life as a nude model. I do a lot of fine art work. Some fetish bondage work. I am 20 yoa. I get to go to France, Japan, New York. Miami. LA. I make up to $1500.00 a day. I also going to college on line. I know modeling will not last for ever. But I going to enjoy it while it last.

  • Mikasa

    I want to do some langarie modeling when I get older. I want my boyfriend to be there with me (not just any bf, the ONE boyfriend) I wanna try because I heard it helps with self confidence. Sometimes I’m insecure about my body as well, so I can relate. My hips, my breats, my butt, stomach… I know that in SOME way I’m beautiful.
    Just look at yourself in the mirror and say your beautiful. I heard that helps with confidence.

  • perfectdisaster

    Honestly, it’s weird. I sext really often.. like. daily.
    but i have major self-esteem issues and when i do send nudes, the guys are all “omg you’re so skinny but you’ve got a bubble butt and amazing tits” blahblah.
    so in my opnion, it’s kinda a winwin.c;

  • Jackie K

    I did some glamour modelling and posted the pictures on Facebook because I thought by coming out about it, it would be liberating and I would not feel ashamed ‘hiding it’. But a lot of sexist men judge a woman’s value SOLELY based on how she expresses herself sexually. That’s what words like “slut” and “slag” mean, to judge someone solely based on her sexuality.
    Regardless of what she does for charity, how smart she is, even if she has a Phd, they’re just seeing her as a toy and they want a new toy, not a toy with free will who will do what she wants with whoever she wants. Anything that doesn’t indicate ownership to one man is seen as wrong because it’s shifting the power into the woman’s control and changing a long-term societal norm. This kind of modelling sounds like a liberating thing to do but it is irreversible and people will make judgements about you for the rest of your life based on it. If you want to become a professional ie. Office job for example, any men involved with your job application with think “worthless trash” and that is wrong of them to think, even if they don’t say it out loud, but it will hold you back in life if everyone knows. If you go to another country where women have fewer rights, expect a lot of discrimination if anyone finds out, so you’ll always have to be looking over your shoulder in case it comes out. The only way to change this attitude is for more and more women to go into this industry so I commend anyone who does. But please consider the damage it will do to your life and see if your long-term plans are going to be hurt by you deciding to do this. Luckily I have a boyfriend who is understanding and thinks I am beautiful but the rest of the world thinks I’m trash and a loser now.

  • Lottie

    I have made a horrible mistake recently namely a picture. I love the idea of this woman’s picture but the one i took was not at all that great. It was only my bra and you couldn’t see my face but i am absolutly horrifyed i ever even did it. (sorry if any of my spelling is rubbish). Nude pictures are beautiful in the right context and now i understand that.

  • Karidescent

    This isn’t in my opinion ‘dirty’ ‘inappropriate’ photo’s what your did is amazing, you didn’t hide behind makeup or clothes, you embraced an ‘ugly’ side which is never normally portrayed in the media it would be inspirational to see Kate moss, cheryl cole or many other famous stars maybe not naked but just embracing the bare, natural look. To show that girls no matter how ever beautiful there are there is no such thing as beautiful.

  • ericarage

    I think it would be a great way to show confidence – in yourself and in your body. I could never do that. I’m wayyyy too self-conscious!! lol But, for those who are trying to say “I’m me and I’m beautiful the way I am and no one can break me.” then go for it! I’m not prepared to take that step yet :/ Plus I’m about four months underage…lol

  • Anastasia 17

    I loved it, i admitt my boyfriend has seen me naked a million times and still Im afraid to take nude pictures I am/was ashamed of my own body, cause a few flaws like strech marks and all that good stuff, but this article is very inspiring, thank you for posting this. I feel like you know what this is my body whether you like it or not, im not forcing you to look at me, if you dont want to see me then Ill find someone who will. I believe we’re all beautiful in our own way. Thank you so much!.

  • Emily

    i wouldnt take nudes while im still under 18, but if its legal, go right ahead! whatever floats your boat i say!

  • Marisa

    great story, changed my perspective 🙂

  • ciara

    disgusting but creative in a way of not being sexual like others

  • Anonymous

    I think that it’s so great that you feel that way, that your not afraid to own up to the pictures. I have sent pictures to a guy and I would never feel guilty over a choice I made( that’s just my oppinion) but if the picture got around but nobody knew it was me, I wouldn’t own up. I find it inspiering that you give a totally new meaning to taking nude pics

  • Stephanie

    That is such a cool story. 🙂 I think that’s a very cool way of looking at the subject.. yes, I’ve been a little “model” myself when my boyfriend went away to Louisiana for a little while, but I actually want to be a bikini model this summer, not for attention but because I think it’s a cool idea. I think you’re a great writer.

  • Breezy

    I took nude photos once and sent them to a guy that I had a really big crush on. To this day I regret it. He told me if I did we would hook up, which we never did. We did make out once before he left for DC. After he came back he wouldnt speak to me in person just text. It was one of the worst years of my life.

    • flyingfish7000

      My opinion: he has the problems not you. These days women take selfies , have their photo’s done in a professional way if not professionally and yes still have armature photos in amateur poses in the bedroom, motel room and my favorite, in nature settings. I love them all especially the amateur stuff. Women of all ages seem to be more interesting subjects than men maybe because breasts are a favorite subject of mine. I long for a day when a woman or girl, young or old, can bring me alive with desire and response.

    • flyingfish7000

      Sounds like any problems are his not yours.

  • KC

    Honestly, your article has changed my view of nude photos entirely. Sure, with highschool lovers, I will still think it’s a mistake. Still, your personal story made me feel an excitement, empowerment (as stated by the above comment) just like the New York Times article where ladies with cancer took nude photos to learn to re-love their bodies. That story and your story have the same underlying theme: the photos were taken for you, the subject, not to please others’ desires.
    That in itself is inspiring. Your courage in facing the biases of society and not only admitting but being proud of these photos is another attribute to be highlighted. From what I infer, you took these photos to become a stronger, more confident person. This article has shown that you have indeed succeeded.

  • Midori

    I don’t quite understand the whole taboo concept of being nude in photos or in the presence of other people, I mean, everyone’s naked under their clothes, we all have the same basic parts each with a unique twist from genetics. I don’t mind taking nude pics, I mean I won’t just drop my clothes for anyone with a camera at any given moment, but i’m not ashamed to take photos and sharing them with a select few people.

  • JD

    I won’t lie about my initial bias, though after reading your story, I feel ashamed to have ever pre-judged you like that. I recently posed a question to some girls about why large breasts are so desirable, and all of them responded with some variation of ‘men like them’. I was disgusted. Your body is yours, and one of the ways I justify my genderfluidity is that I refuse to be viewed as a sex object, as most women subconsciously consent to.

    I feel empowered reading about your experience, and have a renewed respect for the female gender. It is your right to present your body to the world however you please, but I am proud you chose to do so for yourself rather than to please society.

    • flyingfish7000

      Your response begs the question: do you have large breasts or small?