We met exactly six years ago on the day of this shoot when Steve came to model at one of Esther’s Spirited Bodies life drawing events. Our friendship grew as, alongside other friends, we participated in the London Naked Bike Ride, went to clothing-optional gallery views, were part of nude art installations and shared more Spirited Bodies activities. Steve even joined in Esther’s ‘Girl in Suitcase’ performance when audience members were invited to pose nude. Nearly three years ago, after many such encounters, we went on our first date at Naked Movement – essentially naked dancing – and the rest is history.
One of our favourite outdoor locations is the stone circle at Hilly Fields, Brockley, which was created by the local community for the 2000 millennium. In the past, we’ve gathered there with friends for solstices and equinoxes, as well as other occasions. The stones lend themselves well to interesting photoshoots, and this sparked our interest in visiting ancient stone circles and burial chambers around the British Isles and beyond. We always try to get a few nude shots if possible and have done so at the Channel Islands of Jersey and Sark, plus the south of Eire.
There’s a thrill in finding moments when we can be nude in public places, however remote they may be. Some, like the Drombeg stone circle in the outlying countryside near Cork in Eire, can be well visited even during winter. We were lucky to get half an hour to ourselves when no tourists were around and the rainy skies cleared magically for exactly the period of our visit.
For Naked Britain, we suggested Coldrum Long Barrow to Anastasia as it’s not too far from where we live. It turned out to be an idyllic spot, both well hidden and with a spectacular view. It was during the 2018 summer heatwave, and we both felt extremely relaxed clambering on the various rocks, discovering our places of comfort and balance. Being nude with the ancient stones feels right, stripped of our outer trappings of the present time, we merge more naturally with their aged splendour. We can only imagine what rituals, celebrations and services took place at this site over the millennia of their existence.
Esther & Steve 21/07/2018