Nude >< Encounter

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Those lips! She popped up in 2005 on one of those online model sites I used to visit. Wonderful, full lips! Said she was in Winnipeg (while I was one country away in San Diego). My dayjob kept me rich in frequent flyer miles, so I sent her a message to see if she’d be interested in working with me. 

She was, I booked a flight, a big hotel room, agreed to cover half her makeup cost (she didn’t need that, but wanted it), and a week or two later, flew up into the Canadian winter.

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Very shortly after checking in, the hotel desk called and said I had guests, so I went to the lobby and saw her…and the very tall tough-looking girl who seemed to be her bodyguard. We went back up to the room after introductions (and her apparent decision not to flee in terror from the creepy old guy), and I asked her to undress. Getting that awkward part out of the way quickly works best.

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We made some photos while the bodyguard complained of a hangover. So rather than have her over there complaining while we were trying to work, I suggested she strip down and join us. She did, and the complaining stopped. It turns out that they’d talked about asking for some together anyway.

  Carnaval of Tirana

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They were best friends – had been forever. Both claimed they were totally straight, but sexuality is always a little fluid. They giggled and made suggestions and I fiddled with lights and poses and equipment and you’re looking at some of the results.

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Six months later I flew her out to San Diego to shoot again and to work with some other photographers. Six months after that she wrote to tell me she was marrying the man of her dreams and wouldn’t be modeling again. A year later she checked in again to confirm her happiness and see what I was up to.

The bodyguard went on to do a few porn features, though we haven’t kept in touch.

And I went on with my photography.

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D. Brian Nelson is a photographer, based in the U.S.