Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How I Became an Erotic Model/Photographer (Redux)

I don't think anyone would have guessed - myself included - that I'd grow up to be a photographer and a model specializing in nude and erotic portraiture. When I was a little schoolboy, what I wanted to be was an astrophysicist - somebody like Albert Einstein, redefining the way we understand the very fabric of reality and the laws of the universe we live in. But all a college education taught me was the difference between my romantic view of science and the cold, hard truth of the discipline.

So I decided that if the secrets of the universe weren't mine to unlock, I might as well follow the creative pursuits that bring me pleasure in life. First in line was my guitar playing. When I picked up a guitar at the too-late age of 18, I wanted to be a rock star. I still do. But while my knowledge and skill at learning to play other people's songs has advanced a great deal, I've come upon the obstacle of not being very gifted at creating original music. So, instead, I've focused on photography.

I can't draw or paint the scenes in my head (though I wish I could), but I can hold a camera and click the shutter. And it turns out that I have a passion - and hopefully some measure of skill - for it. Photography, to me, is not just a way of making beautiful pictures, although I like that about it, but it's also a way to communicate - to interact with people in a non-traditional way (I'm not very social by nature) and to say things about the world that I think bear saying.

I take nude and sexy pictures because it thrills me - I won't lie - but I also have opinions about the human body and human sexuality that I can demonstrate in my photography; opinions that may not be common, but ones that I hold strongly, and think that more people need to be exposed to. I may not be able to change the laws of the universe, but I still maintain hope that I could someday change people's minds about certain things, like the relationship we have with our bodies, and our attitudes toward that fundamental aspect of living, breathing, surviving, and thriving - sex.

We have too much shame and paranoia about an activity that by all rights should be the source of endless pleasure and even the occasional miracle of creation. And we fear our own bodies, refusing to get to know them, willing to abuse them instead of taking good care of them, when in more enlightened ages the nude figure was exalted as a glorious work of art.

Whether or not I can change anyone's mind in the long run, or if I'm just collecting admirers who already believe similar things as I do, my photography is a way of expressing myself - who I am, and what I believe. And for somebody who has difficulty expressing himself in more traditional ways, that is very important. The freedom to do so is what allows me as an individual to participate in and contribute to the global community I am a part of.

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