Sofa So Naked

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Dean Stockings has photographed regular people from all walks of life, as well as household names like Toyah Willcox, naked on their own sofas.

There’s something quite intimate about a sofa. Whether leather and shiny, chintzy, saggy, ancient and threadbare or pristinely plumped-up, a sofa certainly reflects its regular occupant’s taste and often, after years of lounging, their shape.

This was the notion that first occurred to photographer Dean Stockings when he surveyed the blank wall above his own sofa, perplexed as to how to fill it. He hit upon the idea of doing a Warhol-esque portrait of the couch itself. But having quizzed his friends he quickly realised that as a place of comfort and familiarity the humble settee was a perfect backdrop to experiment with something more outlandish: getting people to pose naked on their sofas.

He “twisted the arms” of a few friends and relatives who agreed to be photographed. He asked them to choose a prop which reflected their personalities and which, strategically placed, could save their modesty. The props ranged from the weird and wonderful – a pet tortoise, a Sesame Street backpack, leather harnesses – to a sitar, a favourite record, a statue of the Virgin Mary and a skein of wool.

Fairly early on in the project Stockings happened to be working with actress and singer Toyah Willcox (pictured), photographing her at home for her book ‘Diary of a Facelift’. She agreed to take part in the sofa project and chose, rather tellingly, a piece of paper on which she’d written ‘I am not invisible’ for her prop.

“I think Toyah [chose her prop] because she was feeling slightly ignored as a mature woman within the entertainment industry. Posing naked was a bit of a fingers up to everyone who thought she was past it,” Stockings said in an interview with independent.co.uk.

Stockings’ project soon garnered press attention and he began receiving calls from complete strangers wishing to partake. He ended up photographing people of all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. The photographer was amazed by how far people were prepared to go.

“Some of the models had never been naked in front of anyone other than their partner before and many said they found the experience extremely liberating, especially some of the older models,” he says.

What started out as a personal project “took on a life of its own” and Stockings managed to secure a publisher for a coffee book collection of the images under the title Sofa So Naked.

“There is such a wide range of people in the book I think everyone can identify with at least one person in it. People sometimes think it’s going to be a little seedy, but when they see the portraits they realise that it isn’t at all. I’ve photographed grandparents in their 80s, young families and a couple of faces from the media...there’s a couple who are both wearing leather harnesses as their props and a group of transvestites- although only one of them is naked.”

Looking at the images it is easy to hone in on the naked figure and ignore the background, but once you’ve become used to the sight of so much flesh it is intriguing to look more closely at the situation rather than the subject. The sofa itself, the carpets, the detritus of normal life speak volumes about the person in the photo, and the collective result is extremely revealing in a way that has nothing to do with nudity.

Click here or on the image to see a picture preview Warning! Contains nudity

www.deanstockings.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Howard Mollison, as played by Michael Gambon
tvReview: Too often The Casual Vacancy resembled a jumble of deleted scenes from Hot Fuzz
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David performs in his play ‘Fish in the Dark'
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Jemima West in Channel 4's Indian Summers (Joss Barratt/Channel 4)
tvReview: More questions and plot twists keep viewers guessing
Arts and Entertainment
Kristin Scott Thomas outside the Royal Opera House before the ceremony (Getty)
film
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003