Amy O'Keefe in 'Anja', by Lilli Waters Photography.
Amy O'Keefe in 'Anja', by Lilli Waters Photography.

Amy bares her soul for art

Amy O'Keefe is one foxy lady.

The 26-year-old former Kingscliff High School student has posed nude for a semi-finalist entry into the prestigious national photographic competition, Head On.

The midwifery student who moved to Melbourne last August said it only took 10 minutes for photographer Lilli Waters to capture the potentially award-winning image, part of the Anja series on feminine form.

But, not being a professional model, Ms O'Keefe kept the photo a secret until it was short listed for the 2015 Head On Portrait Prize, expected to reach audiences in excess of 500,000.

"I am incredibly proud of Lilli's work and the quality of this photograph - it's stunning. But I didn't want to embarrass anyone at home," she said.

The full frontal nude shot (which we edited for publication) was taken at dusk, and initially, fruit was planned as a prop to create contrast in the composition.

But on the way to Lysterfield lake, one hour from Melbourne, Ms O'Keefe and Ms Waters found a dead fox on the side of the road and decided it would be used instead for its textural contrast and motif of vulnerability.

"The weird and suggestive props rouse feelings of a fantastical cinematic scene," Ms Waters said.

While Ms Waters wouldn't divulge on specific photographic techniques she said she used a Cannon Mark 3 camera and Photoshop.

She said she aimed for a composition which closely tied with her overall artistic vision of "dark narrative" with "fluidity, movement and texture", such as fabric and fur.

And yes, Ms O'Keefe was cold during the shoot.

"I'd just arrived from Kingscliff and I was in total shock from the Melbournian winter. It was absolutely freezing," Ms O'Keefe said.

"When I got out of the lake my legs were blue," she said.

Head On is at the M2 Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney, from May 3 to May 12.

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