MODELLING for Bill Henson was fun says a woman involved in more than $50 million worth of development at Falls Creek in recent years.
Zahava Elenberg, an architect and one half of the team driving several ski field projects, was just into her teens when she posed for the acclaimed photographer more than two decades ago.
Henson is now caught in the middle of a public debate over art and child exploitation.
Twenty of his works, nude female and male teens, were seized by police last week under threat of charges.
Another two of a naked girl were taken from the walls of the Albury Regional Art Gallery on Friday.
Ms Elenberg, now 34 and pregnant with her third child, never posed nude but defended Henson’s work.
Her photos were portraits.
“They are beautiful, dark and evocative images of a young innocent face emerging out of darkness,” she said from Melbourne.
“I really enjoyed the experience of working with Bill, and our friendship has endured.
“He is a creative, passionate and sensitive artist who made me, his young subject, feel part of the creative process.
“I had a lot of fun participating and working with Bill over a number of years and on a number of his photographic series.”
Ms Elenberg’s mother, a Melbourne art gallery owner, agreed to the shoot after talking with her daughter.
The architect and 2003 Telstra young business woman of the year said Henson’s work was not pornographic.
“Bill’s work often depicts the human form and that ambiguity between childhood and adulthood — his work is certainly not pornographic and follows a history, thousands of years old, of the human form in art in all its rawness,” Ms Elenberg said.
“We should focus our attention on the real culprits of pedophilia and the exploitation of children — the sexualisation of teenagers in popular culture and resultant expectation of their premature adultness — not on Bill Henson.”
Recently Ms Elenberg and fellow architect and husband Callum Fraser have applied their artistic flair to the ski fields.
The pair is behind the $9 million makeover of the Huski at Falls Creek.
They are also the driving force behind the $40 million St Falls project.
Stage 1 of the three-storey granite and glass gateway to Falls Creek is planned to be ready for the ski season.