What you will see in this series is a rare moment where the boundaries between man/woman, photographer/model are no more. There are only two human beings who trust each other to the fullest. Both are vulnerable, both are exposed, both are taking risks. But isn’t this what intimacy is all about – to let go and completely trust another person? Part of that trust is that we will not publish a set without the model’s full approval of every picture and every sentence. It is a set we do and publish together.
What you will not see in this set is posing designed to play on male fantasies, fancy clothing, expensive equipment and advanced lighting setup. The camera could be an iPhone or a compact camera, the light could be crap or none at all, and the resolution is way lower than our standard 36MP. And we don’t retouch the pics afterwards. We are happy to trade all of that for a few shots of intimate, real, authentic human. A real woman.
In just 5 years Katya Clover has become one of the most recognizable names in the industry. She has been featured on all major websites and magazines including Playboy Plus and Maxim. Her Twitter and Instagram accounts are growing by the hour and she has thousands of devoted fans that adore her greatly. This set is for those fans. And for those who are not, we hope you will become…
Clover like no other
We’ve spent barely 2 days together in Stockholm and I think you are one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I’m glad we had all that time to get to know each other.
It was early October and the weather was unusually rainy and cold. Our plans to shoot you outside vanished as we could barely do a short sightseeing together around the city before getting all wet and cold. I won’t go into mentioning our artistic, technical, and financial obstacles in producing those pictures as I’m sure you recall them in perfect details. Instead I want to mention something that will go missing in the pictures. I mean of course the world of our thoughts and emotions that can not be photographed and visualized. There were moments those days when we felt safe to open up to each other and share something very private, emotional and personally important. But there were also moments when we felt we’ve shared too much and had to withdraw.
I know I was not always honest with you, I didn’t say things that I now know I should have said and I want to make this right. When it comes to models I often find myself in very delicate positions implying direct contradictions. On the first hand I represent a brand that puts women’s wellbeing and freedom at its core mission. On the other hand I’m a human being and I am not immune to human emotions and desires. And then there is a third one – do I give in to the macho male stereotype of our culture of acting before thinking, of acting based on my desires before other’s interests? This inner fight between a meaningful life-long goal and a desire for an immediate satisfaction is often pulling me apart and it is also confusing for the models who are women and human beings first, and then models.
When I say “I like you Katya”, do I mean it as a brand like in “I think you are a great model that we want to continue working with”, do I mean it as a human as in “I find your character interesting and want to be your friend to learn more about you”, or do I mean it as a man as in “I want you”. If I don’t make myself clear, you’ll have to interpret it yourself and it might result in miscommunication. I think you deserve better than that mess from me. Let me first clarify something between you and me. In any normal human scenario, spending a day in a room with a naked woman, and have my head between her legs half of this time, would probably have resulted in some kind of sexual experience. Having then spent 2 days with you sharing stories, laughing, talking about relationships and going out for dinners, shopping and city tours would probably have resulted in some kind of romance. And believe me it was fucking painful to resist the temptation to touch you, to kiss you, to ask you sincerely what I can do to make you happy, to make this evening into something special for you. It was hard to pretend I didn’t care and as a woman and a human being I think you ought to know that I did care, I fell for your personality, femininity and humanity.
We don’t live in a normal world, we live in a real world. In this real world I’m seen as being in a position of “power” over you. You are nude in a room with me because I’ve hired you, you are staying in a hotel that I’ve paid for, you have no other business in Stockholm except for meeting me. Any type of advance coming towards you puts me in the line of fire. In a normal world there is something called flirting, in the real world it is called sexual harassment. In legal view, you are in a position of “dependency” of me and hence not being able to say “no” to my advances. Legally, I can’t do anything as long as you are modeling and I’m producing, because I’m always in a position to be your potential employer or have an influence over your career, and hence even if we never work with each other again I still have a “power” position in relationship to you. Lots of men have designed and built their lives to be able to use and abuse this position of power to get plenty of sex. Just as I am writing, this Harvey Weinstein story is all over the news. Lots of women have become victims of such social hierarchy and I don’t think many of those women are happy with that social structure. But I’m not these men and I don’t want you to be one of those women.
I believe in full equality in a relationship. Whatever it is – a one off blowjob or a life long marriage you should be able to walk away, to say “no”, to change you mind, to cancel an agreement. And if you can’t do it then the relationship is not equal. And if it’s not equal one person in a relationship feels trapped inside. Remorse, regret, desperation is filling the cup until it starts to overflow. When this happens the relationship is destroyed and so are the good people in it. I know you have your own similar story, Katya, and I think it’s good that you have experienced it. You know it hurts, you know you feel stupid for not acting or noticing something earlier, you wonder how such a good start could have such a bad ending. And the pain of it will never go away. It will remind you of who you were, because part of you died in that relationship. A good retrospective of a breakup makes us come out of it as better human beings. We learn our mistakes, we develop better strategies, and we commit to never be that stupid again. Speaking to you I know you’ve came out of it as a better human, a better woman and a better partner.
At the end of it it’s your life. Yours and no one else’s. Design, build and live it the way you want and if people are not onboard with it, dump them. Don’t let anyone else’s mental limitations set a limit for your own life. Seek people who expand your vision, who support you, who love you for who you are.
Thousands, if not millions of people know how you look like naked, they know the most intimate details of your body construction as good as your current boyfriend. Many men will probably go for a great personal risk for a chance to touch Katya Clover’s breasts. But only few people in the world know the construction of your inner world, the real Katya. I am privileged that I’ve got an exclusive 2-day tour into your inner world. I feel that the level of trust we’ve build those two days goes far beyond nudity and watching porn together. We shared our greatest wins and deepest loses. You shared with me some of the most emotional moments of your life and it made me understand and feel you so much better and I’m very grateful for that.
Before meeting you, anything I knew about you was from the pictures, videos and few strings of texts about you spread around the internet. Like in your story about a hallucination experience in Asia, nude models are often seen as 2-dimensional characters: they have sexual front and back sides but no depths, they are just flat. I knew better that you are more than a paper-thin character but there was simply nothing on the internet to help me build that depth.Little did I know how much you know, read and travel. In fact, I didn’t know anything of value about you. I didn’t know you had 5 years of university studies; or that you could speak Korean; or that you were mostly A-student in school and University. I had no clue that you had a job at an oil company where you worked as an accountant and that you chose to terminate it in order to pursue a nude modeling career.But while it was an eye opening information I know that this was just an outer layer that anyone who just bothered to ask would get from you. And honestly I’m surprised no one ever did. But what I really love the most about you is your personality. We started DROYC to bring the personality of the models back in the spot light, but it often turns out to be a hard task – many models have no personality to put a light on.
I absolutely loved that before getting nude you wanted me to see you first as a beautiful, intelligent and independent woman. And if that would be the only thing that you are, I would think you are a great woman. I would think you are a true epitome of a modern woman. However, you chose to share more with me, you took a risk and shattered the beautifully constructed image in small pieces right in front of me. You’ve told me about your emotional wounds and where it hurts the most. You showed me you could bleed and that you are mortal. What you did was brilliant in retrospect – you showed that the only way you would get nude in front of me is if I see you as a human being, equal to myself, not as a woman posing nude for a man. You showed me that underneath this all you are a human being first, and only then a woman. And what a woman you are!
It delights me to see such super smart women like you choosing to be nude models, not out of desperation but by choice. You’ve said that the best part about modeling is independence and freedom to pursue other things and I think these are the core values of most Nations but somehow we think that 9-5 office jobs are the right tools to archive it. Most people fail to realize it early enough and when they do it’s already too late – they are in a hamster wheel. I can’t imagine how much more artistic, creative and sexually satisfying your life is now compared to the office job. I’m sure the world can live without Katya as an accountant. But I know for a fact that you’ve changed many lives with your nudes and that you’ve touched millions of people online who adore you for what you do for them. You are bringing light, hope and entertainment into millions of boring homes and lives and you live your life to the fullest. The world would not have been the same without Katya Clover. Thank you for all your work and dedication.
A week ago Katya Clover’s name meant nothing to me except that we are about to meet you for a shooting. Now you have a special place in my life. It is always the small things, like the chocolates you’ve brought to the shooting that are burned into my memory. Or how we’ve searched for the new iPhone cover, bought Calvin Klein underwear, or failed to locate a Wolford store; it’s the dinners and the city walks; the bad weather and rains; it’s all those endless conversations that are so frank and honest, that are adding up to my Katya Clover experience. Frankly, I realized that Katya Clover’s name still doesn’t ring a bell for me. Because it’s Katya. Katya is the woman I’ve got to know.
Katya Clover’s Response
I’ve got your letter but it took me some time to respond. When I’ve read your words my emotions were all over the place – I felt warm, I felt excited, I felt embarrassed, I felt desired. But mostly I was confused and didn’t know how to reply. It was so honest that It took me time to think it through and write you a matching response. Here it is.
Reading your letter felt warm because you talk so openly and easily about your feelings, it makes me blush against my will. As a woman, I’m not spoiled on emotional openness from men and I think you are good at expressing yourself, maybe even better than I am. But I’ll try my best:)
Meeting you in Stockholm felt inspiring, because I’ve never met a person more passionate about the idea and concept to support women than you are. As a model, I’ve met many men who claim to support women by photographing them nude or paying for nude content, but fundamentally none of them know nothing about women’s world – they don’t want to change the world, they want to enjoy using the benefits from the current system. And it’s not just them – most people live their lives without the slightest awareness of what they are doing and why; what they say, or feel, or think – they are just creatures of habits and traditions. I was really impressed of your level of awareness, your ideas and the way you talk about women, men and relationships. Being a nude model I rarely have chance to talk about anything deeper than my skin/body and I am so glad I’ve met you and can honestly call you my friend. I feel proud of you for speaking frankly about women’s world and for being brave enough to speak about your own feelings.
I know our shooting didn’t go as we planned but I must say at the end of it I’m really glad it all happened the way it did. If it had gone as planned we probably wouldn’t have gotten all the quality time and ideas we’ve shared together. I wouldn’t have gotten your private sightseeings around Stockholm, we wouldn’t have had time for shopping and dinners – with all the amazing talks we had about relationships, women, personal ambitions and most importantly agreeing to disagree on some points. It was a really special time for me in Stockholm – so different from my other shootings. I really felt creative being there. I will alwarys remember that time as something special and those two days will forever stay with me. And look at the result – we came up with new ideas and a new approach for DROYC, something that I hope will inspire not only men but also women to read, watch and contribute to the development of your concept.
In your letter you talk about sexuality and a man’s responsibility not to abuse a position of power to get sex from a woman. I think this is a very important discussion that most women understand all too well but most men don’t. I don’t know why but I trusted you from the very first time I met you. I felt this warm and nice feeling that you are safe to speak to and share experiences with. But as a woman and a nude model I need to be very careful with that level of intimacy. I had some bad experiences when my trust and openness were interpreted by male friends as a desire for something more. When I was too open to a person that person started to think that I was kind of “in love with” or “desired him” and it created awful and even dangerous situations. I admire that you so perfectly understand what I’m talking about and I know many women will understand me too. All women can relate to how it’s all too easy for a woman to send a wrong signal to a man and get into an unpleasant situation against her will. Such situations are not circumstances women want to end up in by choice.
When such a situation happened to me personally a few years ago, I began to think how I might have provoked it myself. Was I too open? Was I playing too nice and polite? Was I too naive to realize that a person might think that I am flirting with him, or even imagine that I have a sexual desire for him? Should I pretend to be more cold and unresponsive so as not to get into such situations again? But then I thought: how can I be myself if I start pretending I’m someone else? I realized that such questions are not fair to ask myself. It hit me – I’m not my problem – men are. Some men are. Their lack of basic emotional and social maturity is not my problem. Their ignorance and habit to act without thinking is their curse, not mine. Men need to aspire to have higher standards than this and let women live their own lives. I want to live in a world where I can live a life honest to myself, and if I feel an emotional connection to a person I don’t want to pretend that I don’t for fear of bad consequences. I want to live this rare and beautiful moment of human connection to the fullest and I want to feel safe doing it. I want respect and understanding from men. Understanding that I might like a man and even have feelings for him but that I might not necessary want to have sex with that person. I want to feel safe to execute my choice, to be open but not feel vulnerable and exposed.
And with you I felt safe being open. I was so glad and relieved to read that you had strong sexual feelings for me as a woman but you respected me as a model and didn’t cross the line.You respected me as a person, you respected my integrity and my privacy. You chose not to act on your immediate desires but built a longterm emotional connection with me. I feel I can now trust you even more, as I know where you stand thanks to your wonderful honest letter. And I’m grateful for that. That feeling of connection, safety and mutual respect can only become stronger the more we work together, the more years we know each other. Because feeling safe to share beautiful moments and emotions of our lives with other human beings is what makes us feel alive and accepted. It’s what makes our lives meaningful. And isn’t this the most important thing we all want for ourselves and for those we love and care about? 🙂
See this set in PDF
Or see this online