Award-winning gay photographer Steven Godbee will bare more than his soul at an exhibition of his work at CANVAS this month.

The Sydney resident will be showing nine self-portraits, all sans clothing, at the Surry Hills Gallery.

Godbee said the decision to show off not only his work, but himself, was a difficult one.

“Looking closely at how age changes your face and body is certainly confronting, as is the prospect of making that analysis very public,” he said.

“Also, as a publicist, my whole career has been about celebrating the creative work of other people. And as a fourth child, I have a bit of tendency to sit back in the pack and let others take the limelight.

“Having a show by me and all about me makes me challenge that tendency. It also makes me a bit nervous to think that all my industry colleagues will come along and see me in the raw … that makes me a bit nervous.”

Godbee said the exhibition was to give people a sense of photography as a creative outlet, one he has used for a number of years.

“After winning the Lomograpix competition last year and travelling to London to represent Australia at the World Lomo Congress, I thought it was time to get serious about putting my work out there,” he told SSO.

“It was also something I’d been talking about for a long time with Alby White, who owns CANVAS. Ever since Alby opened this new salon with a gallery just over a year ago, I’ve been dying to get some of my work shown there.”

The nine pieces span 20 years, the same period of time Godbee has lived in Sydney.

“With the exception of one, all the shots were taken wherever I was living at the time,” he said.

“One great location was a home in Vaucluse my ex and I shared with a couple who did sets for movies. You can see their funky retro kitchen in one shot.”

The photographer admitted an exhibition of self-portraits was unusual, but insisted there was sound reasoning behind it.

“I’ve always been fascinated by photographers who chose to reveal something about themselves – Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe and especially the blind photographer John Dugdale,” Godbee said.

“I also find it interesting that if you scan Gaydar you’ll find that with the advent of digital cameras, half of Sydney’s gay community have become quite adept at self-portraiture. The shots speak volumes about who we think we are – or what we want to say to people about ourselves.”

Steven Godbee – An Exhibition on Canvas is at CANVAS, 494 Bourke St, Surry Hills, from 19 February to 29 March.

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