Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Classy



I was very impressed to find not only a painting hanging on the wall of this budget motel, but one with a little bit of artistic nudity! So, I wanted to honor it by creating a little nude art of my own. :-D

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Voyeur's Temptation

There's a phenomenon that occurs when I see an attractive girl in public. I don't doubt that it's wired into my biology. I get excited, and I want to look at her more than is probably appropriate. I rarely take the chance to. Naturally, as a photographer, I have the impulse to take a picture (because, you know, it'll last longer). I rarely do, though, because there's this immense social stigma right now against taking pictures of strangers, even in public. My aim isn't to make anyone uncomfortable, and I don't want to get into any trouble, or give myself a bad reputation, either. But the desire to preserve that vision of beauty that appears so briefly before me is strong. And constantly resisting it only serves to leave me feeling antsy and unfulfilled, like there's something important in that big ol' world out there that I'm missing out on.

Maybe, as a voyeur, it's just the way my sexual impulse manifests itself, and therefore it's not fair to draw this comparison, but the fact that subtle eroticism might be involved isn't enough to warrant equating it with explicit sexual activity, and it's not as though I actually want to make every one of these girls my lover. I just want to admire them (and not even necessarily in an "explicit" manner). After all, first impressions being what they are, a lot of times the magic fades when you really have a chance to scrutinize something. It's that electric flash in the moment that propels you. Maybe taking a picture would dispel the illusion, but if so, I don't think that would be a bad thing. Because, knowing the truth, I'd feel less inclined to allow these biological impulses to dupe me into thinking I should be sad and depressed because there are all these beautiful creatures in the world, and none of them (or very few, depending on the circumstances and your perspective) are involved in my life.

Alternatively (as I have seen still images that are quite captivating even when the subject is not being viewed in person), I'd love to be able to create a catalog of all the pretty girls I've ever had the chance to come across - even just passing briefly on the street. To view and compare their bodies and fashions and further establish my detailed, aesthetic preferences. (Sadly, this very sort of thing is under heavy scrutiny on photo sharing websites by anti-voyeur watchdog groups concerned about people's privacy...in public). And furthermore, as an artist, my ideal vision would be to have the opportunity to create some beautiful art (whether spontaneous, as in street photography, or more deliberate and posed) with some of these beautiful creatures, as an ode to the wonderful feelings of joy the mere sight of them evokes in me, and as a statement to the rest of the world about what I find beautiful.

And I want to do this without being viewed or considered as some kind of creepy stalker/pervert. But since I have a condition that impairs my social skills, and I live a reclusive lifestyle - by choice, because I am not altogether comfortable around most other people - and because I do not have the confidence or the charisma to (as my favorite photographer of pretty girls David Hamilton once advised) approach attractive strangers with the uncommon proposition of taking their picture, in a culture that seems - at least to me - increasingly suspicious of men's interest in women's bodies, I am left with little recourse to fulfill my dream. And I know they say that if you never ask, the answer is always no, but when it is en vogue to criticize people for the mere desire - asking constitutes sufficient evidence to be targeted for derision.

"Read my lips: we love your look."

That's one of the things I like about the convention atmosphere - to a significant extent, people expect to be stopped to have their picture taken, by other people who like the way they look. If we could just extend this attitude to the rest of life, I'd be ecstatic. But, of course, at a convention, this behavior is excused by the fact that those people have put work into the costumes they're wearing, and want to show them off. But isn't this true of people who get dressed up to go out? Or even people who work out to keep their bodies fit? I can see Michael Shannon in my head in the role of Kim Fowley, strolling up to a blonde bombshell and saying "I like your style." I think most girls would be flattered. But ask them if you can take a picture, and the eyebrows go up. "What would you need a picture for? What are you going to do with it?" (in a suggestive, criticizing voice). Tell me why we consider this so strange and suspicious. Are we that jaded? Is it because of the internet (where pictures "never disappear")? This is a discussion I want to have.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Immodesty is a Virtue

Ya know, if I saw other guys wearing Speedo-style swim briefs, I wouldn't feel the need to justify myself. (And if we were being sex-blind, we'd find that I'm not even the one wearing the skimpiest swimsuit on the beach). But since I appear to be the only one doing it, I feel like an explanation is warranted for why I insist on being different. Because if other people understood the reasons why someone would do this, you'd reasonably expect to see more people doing it, right?


Like most men, I came to the realization at a certain point in my life that I enjoy the sight of a woman's body - and the more of it I could see, the better. But instead of rejecting this as some kind of personal moral failing, I've learned to embrace it as a fact of nature. It doesn't hurt me; it brings me joy. Why should I shun that? There is a lot of discussion in society these days about whether this hurts women, but it's a topic rife with politicization. There may be a good way and a bad way of going about pretty much anything, but I don't believe that, at its core, men admiring women's bodies is inherently harmful. Our natural instincts may not always steer us in the best direction, but this is an activity I believe we can engage in positively and healthily, even if it takes a little conscious deliberation to figure out how exactly to go about doing that. And I spend a lot of time (too much, I think) deliberating on this very issue. But the discussion simply cannot begin with "this is wrong; we need to stop this."

Now, in the photographer's trade, you sometimes come across a certain philosophy by which a conscientious photographer will insist that he not ask a model to do anything he himself wouldn't be willing to do. There may be a lot of unscrupulous photographers out there who do NOT live by this philosophy, but I've taken it to heart. And I've applied it not just to my approach as a photographer, but to my life on the whole, when it comes to my feelings as to what I like about women. Indeed, it has informed - to a large extent - my transformation to a more feminized gender presentation. So when I see girls dressed in skimpy clothes that show off a lot of their bodies, and my response to that is (immensely) positive, I think, "if this is truly okay, then I should have no problem doing it myself." Which is exactly what I've gotten into the habit of doing (where possible and practical). And you know what? I like it. I enjoy showing off my body, and I like the feeling of being desired. If some women don't enjoy this, they have the option of choosing clothes they're more comfortable in (like the ones I used to wear for most of my sheltered life). But that's no reason to disparage other women who revel in that kind of attention.

Now, as a caveat, sometimes a girl will choose to wear shorts, for example, because she's hot, and not because she wants guys (or girls) to look at her and think "she's hot". In this case, she is not, in a sense, "asking" for a certain kind of attention, and shouldn't necessarily have to deal with it. But this is a nuanced issue. As human beings and sexual organisms, if you show skin, people are going to look. And if you're attractive (an admittedly subjective evaluation), people are going to like it. You can't expect this not to happen, and shaming people for doing it is wrong. (So telling a girl to change because her shorts are distracting is not okay, but then neither is it okay to turn around and criticize a man for viewing her "in that way" - my complicated response to a recent case of "wardrobe policing" in a nutshell). You should be prepared for it no matter what you wear (since different people respond to different things), because it's human nature, and because looking doesn't harm anyone.

That's the advice I have for women. But this is a two-sided issue. Men also need to learn how to handle their feelings with dignity and respect. You think that girl is hot? Great! There's nothing wrong with that. But that's not an excuse for you to act like a jackass, or do anything to make that girl feel uncomfortable. It's a two-way street. People are going to look. But they should still behave themselves. And at the end of the day, it has less to do with what a person decides to wear than we think. So I'm going to keep wearing as little as I can get away with in public - whether you like it or not; I do, and that's what counts - and I'm going to keep appreciating and defending others who do the same. Because that's the kind of world I want to live in. I'm just helping to pave the way.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Hair Flip



A rare action shot!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Getting Bare



I thought this picture created a pretty neat juxtaposition between the clothing and my naked flesh. I like to explore ways to enhance the impact of nudity because, in my perennially naked lifestyle, nudity really does become quite normal. It's only the contrast between what we so rarely see, and the (mostly) clothed bodies that surround us everyday, that makes an impact. I also like how this image really does feel kind of "nude", even though it's not strictly explicit. If I were a woman, it might be a little more risqué, but my genitals aren't even exposed. It also makes an excellent argument for the artists' insistence that the human body is far more visually interesting (not to mention enticing) than the clothing with which we so callously cover it up.


Here's an alternative to my Go Bare and Share Challenge pic. Apparently, stripping in front of a camera gets me hard. Sue me. :-p

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Go Bare & Share


video

Do you dare to go bare and share it with the world? Take the Bare Share Challenge! Here's how:

Step 1: Remove all of your clothes.
Step 2: Take a picture of yourself.
Step 3: Show it to someone else.

That's it! You can show it to a friend, or your significant other, or a random stranger - whatever you're comfortable with! Why? Because we all have naked bodies. Fight the nudity taboo, combat body shame, or contribute to a sex-positive culture - it's up to you! Just go bare and share!


#bareshare #gobareandshare #baresharechallenge

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I Saw Her Standing There



Perhaps I shouldn't reveal my tricks, but I've always taken a hands-on, behind-the-scenes approach to my photography, because one of my goals as an artist (and an activist) is to enable other people to follow in my footsteps, and join me in the kind of work I do.

I actually stitched this shot together from three different shots. Two for the figure, and one to better expose the window (I've talked about the need to do this before). For the figure, I had one shot where I really liked the way my face looked, and another that featured my cock perfectly. Another thing I've discussed in the past is the unique challenge of photographing an erection. Let me tell you, a good model could hold a pose for hours, but a tumescent penis is constantly changing. So I decided to stitch the two together. I used all of the tools at my disposal - from my admittedly modest toolbox - layer masks, bandage, clone stamp. But I think it turned out well!

P.S. If you have any question as to how much the impressiveness of that erection has been manipulated, here's the original for comparison. I made only minor modifications to the figure - stitching, not enhancement. ;-)