Modesty is a funny thing.

I keep an extra bathrobe in my wardrobe closet specifically for the use of models and clients when they come. The very first thing I do after we’ve said our hellos is to hand them the bathrobe and tell them to go get naked so the marks from bras and panties and tight jeans can start to fade before we start shooting.

It’s true almost by definition that when someone comes to pose for me, be it in their sexy lacy things or completely in the raw, I’m going to at some point see pretty much every square centimeter of their body. It’s just the nature of the beast. But most of the time I’m going to politely pretend I don’t, they’re going to politely pretend I don’t, and we’ll never speak of it. It’s a silly game we (almost) all play to preserve some modicum of professional decorum, I guess. I’m breaking the Rule of Silence just by writing this. But it happens, we all know it does, we pretend it doesn’t, we all move on with our lives. It’s not really a big deal, we just act like it is (by acting like it’s not). It’s kind of weird, really.

But back to the bathrobe…

It’s interesting to me how some of my models and clients will use it at first, donning the white terry cloth in between sets or wardrobe changes, walking all the way to the master bath to change outfits or touch up makeup or whatever, put it back on, then come back to wherever we’re shooting to disrobe once again. That seems to get old in a hurry for most of them, and after awhile they just walk around naked and change right wherever we are. Other folks, especially (but not exclusively) after they’ve shot with me a few times, just toss the robe aside as soon as I hand it to them. I’m more than a little proud of the comfort and trust I engender in the people I shoot.

An extension of that, I suppose, is what I’ve lately come to think of as “the electronic modesty panel” I provide them. It seems obvious to me that to pose for the photos I generally take, one has to have a certain amount of an exhibitionist streak. For some it’s just a thin little line, for others it’s an eight-lane superhighway running right up their back. But the EMP isn’t covering up nipples or asses or labia, it’s for their identity. Sure, I shoot professional models who want their actual names out there, and I plug them as best I can. But I also shoot a lot of people who can’t afford to be personally identified. I like that I give them a space where they can be naked on the internet without fear of personal repercussions. I’ll agree to not post anything with their face in it, or sometimes nothing that has their face in it and also has any body parts that would usually be covered by a bikini, or some variation thereof, and they can be naked on the web. Whatever works for them, whatever makes them comfortable, also works for me.

I get pretty pictures to post here, they get to show off their beautiful bodies in a way they normally can’t, you get to look. Everybody’s happy.

…as long as we don’t talk too much about it.

Modesty is a funny thing.



To repeat the disclaimer, this is a project about re-discovery. It’s about remembering who I am, what I’m about, what I love and what I do not. Fair warning, this project will be posted here rather than at my SFW site because there will be nudity from time to time. Some of it will be of me, some not, some artistic and pretty to look at, some just raw.

I don’t intend to think of something every day and then shoot it, though I may do that sometimes, too. But sometimes I will just shoot, and then find something about myself in the frames and post about that thing, whatever it is.

All my #365SelfDiscovery posts will be filed here.


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Louis Shackleton is a boudoir, portrait, art, event, and wildlife photographer formerly based in Wilmington, NC and now traveling the continent in his 2001 VW Passat named Gypsy.

Head on over to the About page to read more about him and his work.

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