Monday, March 30, 2015

Wardrobe

Spring is in the air! The weather's getting nicer, and I'm feeling the desire to go outside. I'm happier, and more energetic than I am during the winter months. The other day, I was feeling so motivated, that on a pure whim, I spontaneously decided to do an extended fashion shoot featuring a wide cross-section of my wardrobe.

So I found a halfway decent place to set up my camera (and this is one of those times when I'm more focused on the modeling than on being a photographer), and I spent hours changing into and out of a large variety of outfits, shooting each one, so I could share them with you. You'll notice that the lighting changed drastically throughout the course of the shoot, as I began with morning sunlight streaming in through the windows, and ended in the afternoon with the kitchen light on.

(I guess that's one disadvantage of shooting in natural light, rather than setting up in a studio where you can control the lighting and keep it constant indefinitely, no matter how long your shoot runs). I started out with more or less normal outfits, and then moved into underwear, swimsuits, costumes, uniforms, and lingerie. The result is something that recalls My Girlfriend's Closet, with shades of my Slumber Party series, but comprehensive to a point nearing my failed Paper Doll experiment from several years ago.


Here are some notes on each of the outfits:


This is my birthday suit. I was born in this outfit, and I like to wear it as much as possible, especially around the house.


I bought this pink dress real cheap (it has a hole in the front of the top layer, but that doesn't bother me). I haven't found a good opportunity to wear it yet (I don't exactly attend dinner parties, or go clubbing, or anything like that), but I'd like to.


The first of many examples of my normal, everyday clothes - shirt, shorts, flip flops. I wear outfits like this all the time during the summer.


This is a variation of the last outfit, but with boots and a jacket. I'd wear this in the spring or fall if it were a little cool and rainy out.


This is a totes cute pair of pink panties I bought at Victoria's Secret, but they're actually a little small for me. I don't often lounge around in just my underwear - since if I can strip that much, I'd prefer to just go all the way (which is the same reason pajamas are pretty much useless to me) - but sometimes when there are guests over I will, if it's a casual enough atmosphere.


This is a pretty common example of my "workout" clothes. Obviously, if I'm at home, I like to exercise like the Greeks did (naked), but if I'm going outside to walk or jog or play sports, this is the sort of thing I'll usually wear.


I bought this pink robe for my Slumber Party Massacre series several years ago, and I've been wearing it regularly ever since. It's cute, and really comfy, and though it's designed to cover up for warmth, the short cut of it is sexy, and shows off my legs (which is one of my best features). It's honestly getting a bit worn out, though, so I'll probably need to replace it soon.


The robe, again. During the colder months, I like to put it on for a little extra warmth. So I wear it a lot during the winter. Usually, though, if there are no guests over, I'll just let it casually hang open a lot of the time.


I bought this tight, pink swimsuit online, but haven't had a chance to wear it out anywhere yet. It's pretty skimpy for a men's swimsuit, and Americans are incredibly uptight about things like that, for some reason. Forget gay marriage, I just want the right to wear a sexy swimsuit to the pool!


Here is another everyday outfit, this time with a hoodie. I'd typically wear something like this in the spring or fall, or perhaps on a cool, summer evening - whenever it's mostly nice out, but maybe just a little bit chilly.


This is another version of my everyday summer wear, but with a stylish tank top, and a different pair of flip flops (that have a slight heel, for elegance :p).


I bought these navy bikini bottoms at my favorite secondhand store, after I tried them on and they fit great. They're so cute! I love the ruffled skirt-like fringe, and the cute little bow. It's too bad I couldn't find a top to match. I haven't had a chance to wear these out anywhere yet, and I'm not sure if I will, since the local pools have rules against men wearing brief-type swimsuits, and, since they are bikini bottoms, a lot of people might confuse me for a topless woman at a glance (I have that problem often enough when wearing men's swimsuits). Maybe to the lake someday.


I absolutely adore this pink string bikini. Which makes it all the more sad that I haven't been able to wear it out anywhere since I bought it several years ago. I have modeled it in pictures many times, though. But the bottoms don't keep me "contained", and the strings aren't strong enough to keep the suit up and counter the strain of my package. It's too bad, because I love string bikinis. I think they're ultra sexy, and I wish I could realistically wear them.


This bath towel set is another outfit I bought for the Slumber Party Massacre. It's cute, but I've never used it except in pictures. Most of the time, when I get out of the shower, I don't need to wrap myself in a towel. And even when I do, this kind of wrap unfortunately doesn't work well for a guy. I don't have the boobs to keep the towel up, and there's not enough constraint on the bottom to keep my swinging package in check. This is one of those cases where the different ways that men and women dress makes practical sense.


I've worn this white dress in pictures once or twice, but haven't found much opportunity to wear it out. It's a bit too nice for just everyday fare, and as I alluded to earlier, I don't attend special functions very often. I wore it to an outdoor Easter egg hunt one year, though.


This green, striped dress is really nice. The color and pattern does a great job of obscuring the bulge of my package, which is a concern for me with every flowy, feminine garment I consider wearing. I've worn it out several times, and it's one of the few things I have that really goes great with my brown heels that I love so much, but rarely get a chance to wear.


This green slip is one of my absolute favorite pieces in all of my wardrobe, and I wear it all the time during the summer. I bought it at a yard sale from a girl doing cartwheels in the yard. I just love clothes that come on and off real easy, and this one you can literally just slip on or off. Plus, the fabric has some weight to it, so I don't feel inappropriately exposed when I wear it.


I bought this pink slip at Walmart many years ago, and I wear it all the time. In fact, I love it so much, I bought a second one! It has the same ease-of-wear advantage as the green slip, but at the same time, the neck tie helps keep it from slipping down, so I don't have to constantly readjust it. And the skirt is almost scandalously short, which is exciting. This is the perfect thing to wear over a swimsuit if you're going to the beach or pool (which I believe is its intended use), or just as something cool and breezy to wear on a hot, summer day.


These are my pink "booty" shorts, as a confused neighbor once described them. I wear them a lot. They're so easy to slip on, and they don't cover up very much, although you do kinda have to wear underwear with them, or else you're liable to slip out the bottom. I wear them whenever it's warm and I have to slip something on real fast, like to answer the door. I've also worn them around the neighborhood and to the park outside my house on occasion, when I'm feeling particularly lazy.


Here is my cheerleader uniform, which I bought for the Slumber Party Massacre series! I have so far not had an opportunity to wear it anywhere other than specifically for pictures on one or two occasions. I think it's cute on me, and I'd like to wear it somewhere, but I'm not actually a cheerleader (I'm not nearly loud or hyper or outgoing enough for that), and there are few places where dressing up like one would make much sense (it's not really scary or nerdy enough to wear on Halloween, or to a convention). I'm still holding out for that perfect opportunity, though.


I think this is a fun juxtaposition - being naked, but having proper shoes on, like as if you're ready to step out of the house. I have actually worn an outfit just like this once and only once for a practical purpose (rather than for the purpose of posing in fetishistic pictures), and that was when I ran in an amateur race at a nudist resort. Come to think of it, this is probably a pretty ideal outfit for streaking!


I found this mermaid outfit in the lingerie section of a secondhand store. I'm not sure of its lingerie potential, but it could definitely be worn as a costume. I haven't found any excuse to wear it yet, though.


Here is the grass skirt I bought for a luau at a nudist resort several years ago. I've never worn it anywhere else (other than for pictures), though I'd like to have the opportunity to do so. It's a fun look, with a tropical feel. You'd have to wear something under it anyplace other than a nudist resort though, because it doesn't hold things in.


I put this mock girl scout uniform together (with help from my friend/roommate/creative assistant) for my Slumber Party Campout shoot, using a white shirt, green shorts, and a homemade sash complete with perverted merit badges. Like the cheerleader uniform, I haven't had any excuse to wear it anywhere. Frankly, I think this is one outfit that could draw some negative attention if I wore it in public...


This black lingerie outfit consists of a corset, panties, fishnet stockings, and stiletto heels (all of which I bought separately). It's a sexy, fetishistic outfit for the bedroom, though you might be surprised to hear that I've actually worn it out in public once. It was to a Rocky Horror screening, unsurprisingly, and I'd totally do it again.


Here is another everyday outfit, more of the type I would wear during the cooler, wetter days in spring or fall, or possibly on the milder days of winter. Most of the outfits in this series skew toward warmer weather wear, since that's the mood I was in, but I wanted at least a few to demonstrate what I wear the rest of the year. I was getting pretty hot, though, especially toward the end of the shoot, and didn't have much patience for putting on a lot of heavy clothing.


This is the same outfit as the last one, minus the coat.


This one piece swimsuit is yet another thing I bought for the Slumber Party Massacre, and another one that I haven't had an opportunity to wear anywhere. It's a pretty sexy garment to wear (in spite of it being the more modest alternative to a bikini). I'd like to have an excuse to wear it somewhere (or maybe a ballet leotard, which is comparable in form), but I don't think it would be very practical. I've got way too much "stuff" going on right where the suit is at its thinnest, and the bulge of my package is extremely noticeable (all the more so if I happen to get excited). I can totally see the fetish potential of putting a swimsuit like this on a guy, but good luck getting away with it in the real world.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Off-kilter

It's difficult to find new ways to present a subject you've photographed tens of thousands of times (only a fraction of those photos have been worth showing off, but I have actually taken that many). And I won't deny the fact that I am a habitual creature, prone to falling into comfortable patterns. Not having other models to work with is also limiting, and due to the nature of the sort of photography that interests me, when and (especially) where I can shoot is considerably restricted. As such, I present to you the following selection of off-kilter images, featuring some non-standard crops and framing, that I hope will be at least a tiny bit novel to those of you who have been following my photography for some time now.








Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!



I know, it's not quite St. Paddy's Day green - it's more of a bluish teal - but it's a beautiful color nonetheless! (And it looks even better in person). St. Patrick's Day isn't a real big deal for me - it's kind of a beer drinker's holiday, and I'm much more a fan of Valentine's Day's emphasis on sex and love. I do like the color green, though. Plus, it means that spring is right around the corner!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Artistic Outtake



This is an outtake from the "Artistic Value" shoot.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Redeeming Value

In this post I shall attempt to demonstrate that "sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video" (commonly referred to as "pornography") can very well contain "socially redeeming value", as defined by the Miller test for obscenity (i.e., serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value), and as singled out in Google's now retracted policy change for Blogger (i.e., presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts). Obviously, in the end, it comes down to subjective opinion - even as far as legal obscenity is concerned, the final say lies in the hands of a randomly selected jury - but I'll do my best to make a convincing case in this post. Now, let's explore each of these categories individually.

1. Literary (Definition: characteristic of literature or scholarly writing)

I don't think this category is intended to apply to images, as the Miller test in which it is included refers to both visual depictions and written descriptions. Nevertheless, I think that you could certainly describe the writing that accompanies the images on this blog - much of it on the subject of sex - as "characteristic of scholarly writing".

2. Artistic (Definition: satisfying aesthetic requirements, showing skill or excellence in execution)

Consider Exhibit A:


Here is a photographic image containing graphic and sexually suggestive (if not outright explicit - but most communities consider erections to be "pornographic") nudity. I'd like to think that it has serious artistic value. I'm not claiming it to be the equal of the Sistine Chapel, and art is an especially nebulous concept, but I think that at its core, art is a technical craft that concerns itself with aesthetics.

What makes a photographic image "artistic", in a fundamental sense, is the care and technical proficiency with which the artist approaches the process of creating the image, and the effective aesthetic value of the result. A photographic artist (usually) must deliberately compose his shot, often with a specific theme in mind that he wants to convey in the final image. He must take care that the subject is being lighted in an appealing way, and have sufficient knowledge of how to work his equipment.

Furthermore, in portrait photography, the artist must have an understanding of how to position the model for maximum aesthetic effect. Producing a compelling and appealing image takes a lot of work and deliberate effort. If you don't believe me, then try it yourself, and compare your results to mine. I didn't just snap this picture, I spent at least an hour of constant work and movement to get it, and then more time on the computer putting the different clones together.

I don't think everybody realizes this, but photography can be very physically demanding. More so for a self-portrait artist, who is constantly running back and forth between the different sides of the camera. I was sweating by the time I finished this shoot, and my thigh is still sore today from having to suspend myself in the position of the clone second from the left. I needed to be at just the right height - not so low that I could rest on my heels, and not so high that I could sit on the stool or table beside me - and I had to take several shots to get everything right (so that it looked good enough to be in the final image).

I put all this effort into the image not because that's what it takes to create pornography. Most people (at least most guys) are very simple-minded when it comes to sex. All you gotta do is point the camera and shoot. Most guys, when they're horny, they don't care one whit about artistic value. That's why most pornography is (unfortunately, in my opinion) not very aesthetically appealing. But no, I put effort into this image because I wanted it to be artistic. And I think that if you can successfully apply the rules of artistic composition to something as dull as a bowl of fruit, then there's no reason why you can't approach human bodies, or sexual activity, in the same way.

3. Political (Definition: of, relating to, or involving the state or its government)

Consider Exhibit B:


Political prophet George Orwell once wrote, "the sexual act, successfully performed, [is] rebellion." And this is true in any sexually repressive environment - including modern democracies governed by a prevailing religious sentiment that considers sexual indulgence to be a sin. The subject of pornography, in particular, butts right up against the First Amendment and its alleged protection of free speech, and holds a unique place in American jurisprudence as a category of speech not awarded First Amendment protection primarily on account of moral sentiment.

Sex is an enormously political act, and so long as depicting it could potentially land you in jail (based on purely subjective "community standards"), then every piece of pornography is a political protest - a statement on the legitimacy of an act at best only tenuously permitted - and even then, heavily regulated into obscurity - by the state. For example, in a country where homosexual acts are illegal (as they were in the United States not too many years ago), every instance of gay porn could be considered a political statement.

But if declaring pornography intrinsically political is too easy, consider the political message I've constructed above. I dare you to propose an argument that this message would be as effective without depicting the indecent (indeed, I imagine many would call it "obscene") subject I've chosen. That's its very point! It is deliberately provocative, as political protests usually aim to be, and takes advantage of a shocking subject to draw attention to itself - again, as many protests do. But unlike so many protests that use the naked human body to attract attention, here the body is inextricably linked to the message being conveyed.

Why is it the case that if you use nudity to draw attention to a political issue, it's protected as free speech, but if you use nudity to draw attention to the political issue of nudity (or sexuality) itself (e.g., public indecency, sexual discrimination, obscenity law), it's considered beyond the pale? This is just another case where sex and nudity are considered to have different rules than everything else in the world, which justifies authorities' decision to regulate based on morality where otherwise, in a free society that respects a diversity of opinions and lifestyles, that would never fly.

4. Scientific (Definition: conforming with the principles or methods used in science)

Consider Exhibit C:

A Qualitative Observation of the Male Sexual Response and Orgasm

video

Primary sources of stimulation: visual, psychological, tactile

Science concerns itself with asking questions about the natural world, and then conducting experiments to acquire knowledge, in order to better understand the relationship between things, and ultimately allow us to make predictions about the natural world (and its inhabitants). A rigorous experiment would involve making a hypothesis, and testing it by collecting measurements and things of that sort that I've omitted here, but hopefully this video gets you started on the right track.

I believe the best science comes from large, statistical studies, rather than anecdotal data, and as much as I'd love to survey a larger group of people's sexual habits, I am limited to just what I have (literally) on hand. But every document of sex we have is one more data point that helps flesh out our understanding of the wide diversity of human sexuality. Recall that when Kinsey performed scientific studies on human sexual behavior, the conservative public entirely ignored the scientific value of his research, citing it as obscenity and pornography motivated by a prurient interest. But ignorance is not the way of science - in fact, it's the exact opposite.

Fans of my photography may not realize this, but I do actually have a science background. In fact, I have a degree in physics. That said, biology has never been my strong suit. I think psychology and sociology are also interesting, but dealing with the human mind is very complex, and not as mathematically pure as the more logical sciences (nothing is more illogical than the human brain!). But as far as the human body is concerned, observation can go a long way in helping those of us who are inclined toward the science of sex - sexology, if you will - to understand just how our bodies work.

For example: the mechanism of arousal, and the physiological changes that occur in the body during arousal. I think that a lot of people don't realize just how much the size of the penis can change when stimulated. I occupy an interesting position in that I've had people tell me - in all sincerity - on different occasions, both that I am tiny, and huge. It really puts things into perspective for me, and it tips me off sometimes to those people who have a very narrow band of experience in matters of human sexuality.

And then there is the orgasm, which, outside of porn (and even there, the details are often blurred by the focus on the impact of the moment) I really don't think you see that much. Call me biased, but a video like this one - not all gross with closeups of internal anatomy and ooze gushing everywhere - but simple, straightforward, matter-of-fact, seems rather interesting from a scientific perspective, and I don't see what the big deal is. I'm not saying we should all go sharing videos like this at the dinner table (although it's not out of the question for particular dinner parties), but it's something most of us do (and most of those who don't probably should more often), and of all the things we do in life, why shouldn't this be studied and experienced like everything else?

4. Educational (Definition: tending or intended to educate, instruct, or inform)

Consider Exhibit D:

video

Sadly, providing sex education is itself a political act in this country, but here we're concerned with the educational part more so than the political part. There are a lot of instructional guides on the internet, of the strictly textual variety, on how to put on a condom - and it's not exactly rocket science (which it really can't be, because the whole point of condoms is that even stupid people should be able to use them - although that sidesteps the even more considerable hurdle of finding a way to convince the stupid people that condoms are a good idea). But I think it could only be helpful if there were actually more visual demonstrations of people putting condoms on.

Sex education is in a dire state in this country. It's improving, thanks to the internet, among other things. But as long as the stigma against sexual speech persists, people are only going to get part of the story. That's not to say that anyone learning about sex needs to be bombarded with sexual images, but the careful placement of a few unselfconscious video tutorials here and there would go a long way in breaking through the taboo on looking at and experimenting with our bodies.

A lot of people would say that pornography is an obstacle to sex education. And there may be some truth to that. But it's not the whole story. For one thing, when people denigrate pornography, they have the unanimous habit of generalizing a whole category of speech (the sexual category) as a commercial, profit-minded industry; when in truth, that sex tape you made with your wife is as much pornography as Blonde Beach Bimbos 5. And even if porn is often a fantasy, that doesn't mean it doesn't have things to teach us. Rather than censorship (which works just about as good as abstinence, and prohibition), we should be promoting porn literacy (thanks Dr. Klein!). And the best way to get smart about porn is to watch a lot of it.

5. Documentary (Definition: presenting factual material with little or no fictional additions)

Consider Exhibit E:


While somewhat less provocative than the rest of the evidence in this post, I'm including this image because it was well and truly unstaged. I thought about staging a recreation of any number of various aspects of my life, which not a few of my photographs already do (e.g., depicting me as a nudist in everyday situations, or engaged in the kind of erotic activities I normally do even when the camera's not pointing at me). But then this perfect opportunity came up, completely outside of my control.

I was exhausted after the photoshoot for Exhibit A above, and I collapsed onto the bed to get some rest. I hadn't taken my camera down yet, so it was still in position, aimed at the very bed I was lying on. My roommate happened to come in at just that moment, and, seizing the opportunity (something I wish she would do more often, but she's not as photographically inclined as I am), she pressed the shutter release on the camera and took this picture. I think you can tell, just by looking at it, that it has a different feel to most of my photography, which is one of the unfortunate limitations on self-portrait photography - it's exceptionally hard to take a picture of one's self without anticipating it.

I must admit, I'm a little puzzled about Google's inclusion of the "documentary" category in their list of exceptions, since, the way I see it, every photograph is a document of something. And who gets to decide what's worthy of being documented? Does it have to be about a famous person? Then what about celebrity sex tapes? Do the raunchy scenes edited out of reality television shows count as porn with documentary value? What about the proliferation of amateur porn on the internet? These are documents of what people are doing sexually, that could easily be exploited (similar to what Kinsey did) for scientific value.

I watched a documentary on prostitution once, that contained a few isolated scenes that were sexually explicit, and people were still complaining that those scenes weren't "necessary" to show the lives of prostitutes. Like, as if that's not completely missing the point of the documentary! Seems to me that's the perfect instance of sexually explicit material (which was clearly not shot with the intention of getting people off) with documentary value. If you can't even show sex when you're depicting the lives of prostitutes, then you've really gone off the deep end!

Still, I'd like to know what Google's idea of "documentary porn" is, because right now, the only thing I can think of that excludes blurry snapshot "documents" of guys' half erect dicks (and is that really what Google had in mind to permit?) is an arbitrary value judgment. I'll refrain from making any further comments until I do.