June saw a collaboration I’ve been hoping to work on come to life! Shauny Ben-Natan, who I went to high school with in Sandringham, and I have finally teamed up for a shoot! We’ve always wanted to collaborate, so we made the most of it when the time arrived. 

You might recognise Shauny’s style - her series ‘Study of the Mannequin’ featured in Issue One of Koko Mag, infact one of her pieces was the back cover! We worked very hard on perfecting the combination of our styles, Shauny is known for her abstract, colourful portraits which are mostly of women or very feminine subjects and stylished with expressive brushstrokes. You all know my style, I love big bold colours, and harsh shadows. 

Shauny’s ‘Study of the Mannequin’ featured a series of mannequin portraits, which while feminine were also rather masculine. I’d recently heard Marcel was interested to work with me, and I couldn’t think of anybody better to represent the androgynous approach to Shauny’s subjects.

Shauny came around the night before, and we listened to The Strokes as she painted the backdrop, a strong bold red and orange palette. We then stayed up all night crafting our little paper shapes, which we then turned into a giant headpiece/wig-thing. Check out the photos below, and the official statement for the shoot under that!

Marcel was an absolute CHAMP when it came time to be painted… and even better when it came to (attempting) scrub it all off. It was icy cold, and he had to endure hours on a stool with thick paint covering much of his body. You can also see one of the focuses was playing with abstraction of the face, with a painted face in Shauny’s signature style! 

Shauny with her back cover in Koko I

Leaving her print in my journal

The master at work!


The series ‘MAN-akin’ is the creative collaboration love-child of painter Shauny Ben-Natan, and photographer Kafei White. The body of work came about from Shauny’s painted ‘Study of a Mannequin’ series featured in Kafei White’s ‘Koko Mag’. They took this painterly project’s fascination with concepts of femininity and masculinity further, with the inclusion of an androgynous model and a number of aesthetic styles. Colour, form and texture play a major role in highlighting this unique interplay between the worlds of gender stereotype and understanding. With a bold red backdrop, electric orange light-work, expressive brush strokes, protruding shapes represent the masculine. In contrast the feminine is represented through soft hues, exposed skin, delicate and subtly highlighted hair strands and a longing voyueristic gaze.

MAN-akin was featured on Nakid Magazine, which you can view here! 

painter: Shauny Ben-Natan
model: Marcel Taranto
photography: Kafei White

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