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Hen party in Maidstone, 16 July 2016

11 Aug 2016

Hen and stag party events are becoming an increasingly popular sub-genre of the life drawing world. They are sometimes looked down upon by serious artists, but it must be understood that their purpose is purely entertainment and nothing at all to do with creative practice. One hopes, of course, that first-timers might get the sketching bug, but essentially they’re there for a laugh and a bit of socially-acceptable nakedness.

© Heartfelt Photography

Despite being asked by organisers on several occasions, I have resisted accepting a hen party booking simply because I couldn’t imagine me being the type of model that hens would favour. One always assumes they would expect some young chap with a permanent tan, six-pack stomach, huge member and jack-the-lad swagger. I am told, however, that whilst such chaps exist, they are often unimaginative life models.

© Heartfelt Photography

I was persuaded to give it a try when my partner Esther – who works frequently as a model for stag parties and a tutor for hen parties – found a booking for us together. It was at Maidstone Village Hotel in Kent, which meant a long, tedious journey even from south London, but our rail fares were paid. The hens were sitting outside as we arrived, but we slipped in unnoticed and began preparing a conference room for art.

© Heartfelt Photography

At 4pm, in came the bride-to-be and her 12 hens dressed in white. I sensed a mix of apprehension, giggles and optimistic bravado, but everybody was nice and up for fun. The hen who’d booked us – Petra – also happened to be a wedding photographer, so her organising was perfect. I gave her freedom to photograph the session. When they were settled, Esther started some club music and I slipped from my dressing gown.

© Heartfelt Photography

We’d been booked for an hour so all poses would be brief; 5 to 8-minutes maximum. There would also be novelty. After a couple of basic poses, Esther got them to draw first with their weaker hand and then whilst looking at me but not at their paper. She had them split a page into six and fill it with six 1-minute poses, then each was told one body part to draw – when these were brought together I had three penises.

© Heartfelt Photography

After the initial outbreak of sniggering and deliberately not-really-trying, it seemed all the hens were warming to the challenges and enjoying their drawing as much as the naughtiness. For the last two set-ups I posed first with the bride – who very early on had guessed that Esther and I were “married” – and then with the hen who I decided had drawn us best. Esther sprung that one on me unexpectedly!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable session. Petra later sent me photos and wrote, “Thank you so much, everyone had an absolutely brilliant time.” I genuinely appreciated that encouragement, yet nonetheless I’ve decided hen party modelling isn’t really for me, and it’s possible my first time will also be my last. I’ll never say ‘never again’ though, as adventures in modelling and performance continue taking me in bizarre directions.


Bring on whatever comes next!

From → Art

One Comment
  1. boykog permalink

    Steve, it is you to blame if I ever go that way! Fun is guaranteed, not sure about the rest…I may have to find my own Esther, lol…

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