Fra Beecher

Fra Beecher [b. 1986] is a life model and photographic artist. She looks and is looked at.

Fra models for amateur and professional artists, at art schools, colleges and for community groups, she is also a co-founder of a life model collective. Fra studied BA Photographic Art at the University of Wales, Newport and taught Photography at Stroud School of Art. Her current work brings together both her creative practices - modelling and image making.

'Body of Work' explores the physicality of the life model, using a variety of different approaches. There are six chapters within the project. Each image

represents a female life model, who, seated or standing, has held a pose. The work challenges the misconception that female life models are passive objects, by offering an alternative perspective on the experience of the models themselves.

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Body of Work: Chapter i. Seated

Life models often sit for weeks or months in a single pose. These photographs documenting the chairs used for these poses, within their life class environments, evoke the models’ presence, without explicitly showing them in pose. These images also speak of the disciplined nature, and physical discomfort, of sustained poses.

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Body of Work: Chapter ii. Sustained

Large scale images of skin textures show the impressions left on models’ skin from sustained poses. These temporary scars represent the stillness of the body, and yet, the active physical impact of its weight upon itself. This explores the reality, and normality, of the body of the life model.

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Body of Work: Chapter iii. Subject

Handwritten comments were collected from artists attending life classes. The process of looking and the action of drawing are present within the words. The notes are photographed to highlight their objecthood and physicality, like the life model’s body itself.

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Body of Work: Chapter iv. Standing

Masking tape is used to mark the outer edges of a life model’s body, wherever their limbs make contact with the physical space around them. These marks enable models to return to their pose after a break. They represent the rigour of the life models’ role; constricted by tight parameters.

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Body of Work: Chapter v. Dynamic

Small-scale ‘sketches’, of models posing during life classes, show the body in action. The strenuous nature of posing can be seen; muscles are taught and limbs are stretched. These works show the body at work; nudity is the uniform, not the subject.

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Body of Work: Chapter vi. Object

Within a life drawing studio various angular objects are used to support and contort the body. They are integral to the life models work, although they are not often represented by artists. In a life class, bodies are treated as objects. These props represent the bodies which interact with them.