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In search of the 'naked' self

Photographer Anastasia Trahanas is on the lookout for new subjects for her project 'Naked Australia'

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An image from the Naked Britain collection. Photo: Naked Britain/ Anastasia Trahanas

19 December 2017

W hat does it really mean to be naked? Not just in the physical sense, but metaphorically?

This is the question photographer Anastasia Trahanas has been grappling with personally for 12 years now, and one that she endeavours to answer in discussion with the subjects of Naked Britain and Naked Australia, for which they bravely bare all, and, of course, with her audience.

Having relocated to London from Melbourne in 1991, the Greek Australian planted the seed of an exhibition idea titled 'Naked Britain' in 2005 for which volunteer subjects are photographed by Anastasia, and has since developed into a long-term body of work that has continued to grow.

In the summer of 2013, Anastasia expanded the project to her birth country with the launch of Naked Australia. Currently four people are part of the Australian project, and on her return to Australia this summer (from 1 January to 15 February), the photographer is looking for more volunteers to bring it up to speed with the British leg of the project.

"I would love to move Naked Australia forward as it has a little catching up to do to keep in step with Naked Britain, [so] I would like to really get a good number of volunteers coming forward," Anastasia told Neos Kosmos.

She is hoping for between 15 to 20 volunteers to develop a substantial body of work with a view to exhibit the images, and says she also has aspirations of publishing a book of both Naked Australia and Naked Britain.

"This exhibition is very important to me, and to have it shown, as it strips down to what it means to be human, to be vulnerable in a positive light," she explains.

For Anastasia the subject matter of personal identity and self acceptance is of great importance, and a personal journey she has taken through her work.

"I am constantly learning lots about myself in a similar way a viewer would respond, when viewing these images. I have learnt that when we are vulnerable that we are at our most honest self; all the boundaries are down and we are left with the 'me that is under this skin' without the social construction of society."

The project sets out to dissociate the aestheticism of the naked body and instead focus on the individual's self expression. To ensure volunteers are comfortable, they are free to choose the location, whether it be in a private or public space, and can add text to the images to explain their story.

"The world seems to be going a little out of control and maybe it's time people within society began to really look back under their skin."

Those interested in taking part in Naked Australia can express their interest via email at anastasia@trahanas.co.uk. For further details and to see Anastasia's work, visit nakedbritain.org.uk

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