Nudity is art. Nude photography is empowering
Model and photographer Katarina De Napoli is a strong and proud Aboriginal and Italian woman living and working on Wurundjuri land in Melbourne. Here, she discusses the power of nude photography, how a photo shoot at a laundromat kicked off her modelling career, and the importance of her culture.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I have six siblings and we come from strong Aboriginal and Italian heritage. Our mother was an Aboriginal, Kamilaroi woman and our father is an Italian, Calabrian man. I am very proud of my culture and where I come from.
What drew you to modelling in the first instance?
I was actually a photographer before a model. When I was 14 years old, my mother passed away. She struggled with mental health and had drug and alcohol issues. I unfortunately don’t have many photos with my mother, and that’s what sparked my love and passion for photography, capturing moments as tomorrow is never promised. I specialised in family portraits, portraits, events and sports photography. I worked for the local paper. I now focus more on nude-style photography as I appreciate it more.
What inspired you to jump in front of the camera?
When I was 18 years old, I moved to Melbourne to attend university to study psychology. I made some friends in the Indigenous engagement unit and one of whom was a photographer. He invited me to do a photo shoot at a laundromat and, from there, I was contacted by photographers constantly to shoot. My second photo shoot was in a lake and that was my first ever nude shoot. I’ve been modelling consistently for about 2 years.
How was your experience shooting this gorgeous set with Cory Freeman for Penthouse?
I really enjoy working with Cory. He’s an absolute legend, super creative and just a kind soul. He always makes me feel comfortable and respected - he is definitely a favourite of mine to create with. We shot this set at the DUC Studios in Melbourne on their penthouse level, it was a real groovy space!
What do you enjoy about nude photography?
Nudity is art. Nude photography is empowering. Each image holds so much emotion and tells a story. The naked body is beautiful, no matter your shape, size or colour. Every single body is unique and I find that wonderful.
When do you feel your sexiest?
There are many things that make me feel sexy. I feel sexy when I am in lingerie, for sure, but definitely when I’m feeling mentally and physically healthy. When I am in a good routine, eating lots of food, working out and sleeping well, I feel strong and I feel sexy. There’s something so sexy about a strong woman.
What’s something you’d love to do but haven’t yet?
I have always wanted to go in a hot air balloon. I remember as a kid watching in amazement the hot air balloons with my mum as they would be in the sky in the distance by her home. They’re special to me as they always remind me of her.
What’s a motto you live by?
A motto that I will always live by is a something that my mother always told me as a kid. Seek advice from others, but always, no matter what, trust in yourself. I will always remain true to myself, for her.
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