Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nudists Who Don't Mind Being Photographed

As a photographer, one of my goals is to photograph social nudism. Unfortunately, many nudists (at least in America) are paranoid about having their picture taken, to the point of embracing a pretty general across-the-board "no cameras" policy at nudist resorts and events. Naturally, they are worried about voyeurs, as well as the ramifications of family, friends, and/or coworkers finding out about their practice of nudism. And while the latter is a valid concern, I feel it is an unfortunate result of how wider society views nudism, with a particular focus on how it misunderstands nudism. And hiding in the shadows only helps to reinforce the status quo.

That's why I believe it's important for nudists to stand up for nudism. And for us to embrace our own ideals and be less self-conscious about what people will think if they see us naked. Most nudists will perhaps not be so bold, but I'm certain that some of us are willing to stand up to the task, for the benefit of nudism. But even on a more basic level, for a photographer interested in shooting nudist recreation, it is more imperative than ever that he (or she) find a group of nudists who are prepared to give their explicit consent to being photographed, knowing that those photographs may end up in view of the public.

So I'm thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to start some kind of group - a network of people who aren't afraid to contribute to the public database of nudist photography. We could also provide education and discussions about both the risks and the importance of not hiding one's lifestyle, and of nudist photography in general.

I know that the people involved would probably be too few and far between for them to actually get together and do shoots, but I think that it would be helpful for people of this sort to band together and reinforce one another, while also hopefully getting the word out to the wider nudist community, if not society at large. Plus, having some centralization, with a focus on defending the merits of nudist photography, would help fringe nudists and photographers who may be out there worrying that they're the only one, and that there's no hope of ever finding other nudists who might want to contribute to a photography project they've been dreaming of for years.

Obviously, the focus of a group like this would be on legitimate nudist photography, so there would have to be an emphasis on the family-friendly, nonsexual context of the photography. And this is about nudists who aren't afraid to say to the world "I am a nudist", so it will have nothing whatsoever to do with the heaps of anonymous men who want to expose their junk to the world without showing their faces, nor with the private photo-sharing groups that are so popular. It's not necessary that one be a prude to join the group, just that they understand the group is not prurient in nature, and are willing to behave themselves, up to nudist standards. As far as fear of voyeurs go - if you're willing to unselfconsciously show your naked body to the world, then you have to accept the fact that voyeurs are going to look. Really, it's not a problem. It's just looking. Abusive behavior, on the other hand, is easy to combat.

So that's my idea. I know there are tons of nudist groups on the web, some better than others, and most of them have photography sub-groups, but they're all so small and fragmented and inactive. And it's just nudists talking about photography, it's not like there's any emphasis on educating the world about what they're doing, or even just the wider importance among the nudist movement that taking (and sharing) a nudist picture encompasses.

Maybe I am alone in this. But even so, discussing the merits of nudist photography might encourage others to get on board. As usual, I'm better at coming up with ideas than I am at actually executing them, so I'm not sure what to do. But, if you're reading this, and you're on board with what I've described, leave a comment and let me know you're out there.

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