Grafenwöhr photographer Natascha Hegewald has been taking sexy photographs of the spouses of American soldiers spouses for five years.

Grafenwöhr photographer Natascha Hegewald has been taking sexy photographs of the spouses of American soldiers spouses for five years. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The woman in the photograph sprawls across the floor in a provocative pose that exposes her cleavage.

It’s not a shot from a naughty calendar or the latest Maxim magazine. It’s a sexy photo that an Army wife took to send to her husband downrange. And according to Grafenwöhr photographer Natascha Hegewald, many wives of American soldiers take photographs like this to give to their deployed husbands.

Hegewald, 25, said she was surprised when she heard about the recent controversy surrounding a sexy calendar made by a Katterbach, Germany, spouse.

Alessandra Bosco, who’s married to Sgt. 1st Class Edward McCoy of the Katterbach-based 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, is selling a 2009 calendar that includes 12 photographs of her wearing a mixture of lingerie and military items. This month, the Italian model said the couple has been the target of threats, abuse and vandalism. Bosco blames jealous Army wives.

But Hegewald doesn’t see the big deal.

She said she regularly takes sexy photographs of U.S. soldiers’ wives wearing lingerie, sexy outfits, or nothing at all. She even photographed one wife in a dozen sexy poses for a calendar made just for the woman’s deployed husband.

"Army spouses are a big part of our business. If we have 10 customers, nine will be Americans," she said.

Germans would not be offended by a sexy calendar, the petite blond photographer said.

"In Germany it is more usual to buy a sexy calendar. Even if you buy a magazine you might have a calendar in it," she said.

The photographs Hegewald takes are not as provocative as those that appear in Playboy, she said.

"Playboy is more showing the person. Our thing is more like art. We don’t have the whole person in every shot," she explained, pointing to an image of a carefully sculpted leg that hangs in her studio, outside Grafenwöhr’s Gate 1.

It costs 83 euros, plus extra for prints, to pose in the studio, which features a marble column and a large U.S. flag (used for formal photographs of soldiers in Class A uniform) or outside in a large, secluded garden, she said.

During the photo shoot, the spouse can change into two outfits. Often women pose in lingerie such as lacy bras, stockings and garter belts, but many Americans often like to wear cheerleader outfits, Hegewald said.

All of the photographs are retouched before they are printed, she said.

Most customers take the photos for their husband, but some take them for themselves, she said. "They say: ‘I’ll get older and my body won’t look like this for a long time,’ so they just take the pictures for themselves," she said.

None of Hegewald’s U.S. customers wanted to talk to Stripes about their experience.

"Germans are more used to it," she said. "In Germany, it is usual to go to a photographer and get pictures taken like this. In the States you don’t see that and people don’t tell you they have taken this kind of photograph."

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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