Thursday, January 23, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside (and Thoughts on Sexual Innocence)

I should really stop trying to do "standing beside the window" double exposures - they're a pain in the ass to manipulate in photoshop. But it's just so iconic of my lifestyle - looking out at the world from the safety of my secluded home...

As a non sequitur, here are some thoughts I recently had swimming through my head on the topic of "sexual innocence", a subject I've given some consideration to in the past:

In my conception, "sexual innocence" is not synonymous with ignorance or lack of experience. To be sexually innocent is to be capable of performing sex acts unashamedly, liberated from the context of sin, and to be able to find beauty rather than perversity in the erotic aspects of life. It does not indicate oblivion on the subject of sex (on the contrary, sometimes knowledge is the clearest path toward it), but rather a turning away (whether by experienced intention, or incidental ignorance) from the societal construction of human sexuality as a veritable minefield of physical, psychological, and spiritual pitfalls.

This is entirely in line with a true sex-positive mindset, and may be supported by any belief system that holds eros to be divine, rather than simply material or, worse yet, infernal. And this view of mine is inspired, ironically, by one interpretation of the Christian myth of the Garden of Eden, wherein Adam and Eve wandered naked, and were free to explore each other's bodies without knowing shame. Would that we could get "back to the garden", and become innocent once more. Many naturists pursue this path with respect to the human body and its display; I merely extend the agenda to include human sexuality among that bundle of important natural elements of living that mainstream society desperately needs an attitude adjustment toward.


  1. Beautiful composition. Lots of nice warm colors indoors, in contrast to the frozen-over outdoors. Lovely pose as well – your body is really beautiful.

    Of course, I always love your beautiful hard cock pointing upwards, showing your level of excitement when you took the picture. Very nice!

    Is this a double-exposure shot that you put together in photoshop? If so, wow, nice work. Can you tell a newbie like me a little bit about how it's actually done, I'd love to know more about the process.

    I like this statement of yours:

    "to be capable of performing sex acts unashamedly, liberated from the context of sin, and to be able to find beauty rather than perversity in the erotic aspects of life"

    I agree completely, and I think I have been evolving in a positive way toward that goal for a number of years, and I think society is evolving similarly.

    Thanks for sharing your work and insights.

    (BTW, I notice some more dragonflies in the background. Cool.)

  2. That part that you quoted is so very important to my whole attitude and approach towards sex. I want so much to live in a world that sees sex that way - I think it would be beautiful. I'd like to be optimistic and believe that society is evolving in that direction, with our increased tolerance and liberation on issues of a sexual nature, but there are still some very powerful forces in play that are resistant to progress in this direction, and I think that for the average layman, a truly sex-positive approach (as embodied by that quote) is still an alien concept. But I'm doing what I can to play my part in exposing people to an alternate conception of human sexuality, in the hope that they'll begin to catch on...

    Yes, this is a double exposure. I'm not sure how much photography experience you have, so I'll start with the basics. The first thing I had to do - and I do the same thing for all of my clone shots - is set up my camera on the tripod and take multiple exposures without moving the camera (so the shots will line up easily in Photoshop later). In this case, I used one shot with a high exposure to get the relatively darker details indoors, and another shot with a lower exposure to capture the daylit scene through the window without blowing it out.

    Then I opened the two images in Photoshop (after doing whatever editing I felt was necessary on the RAW files in Lightroom), and combined them into one file on two layers, by copying the one image and pasting it into a new layer on the other image (I could give you even more specific directions, but where to find the commands might depend on the version of Photoshop you use). The two photos should be lined up, but if they're a little off, you can try Auto-Aligning them.

    At this point, the uppermost layer is going to completely cover the lower layer, so you need to add a Layer Mask to the upper layer (Hide All or Reveal All is up to you). You can draw on the Layer Mask in either black (to hide) or white (to reveal), to decide what parts of the upper layer will show, and what parts of the lower layer will show. For this image, depending on which layer is on top and which is on bottom (you could do it either way), you'd either have to draw over the window part, or else everywhere except the window.

    Now the hard part is getting the edge of the window, where it transfers from one image to the other, with vastly different exposures. This really just takes a fine touch, going around the edge of the window with a small brush. Whether you use a "hard" brush or a "soft brush" might depend largely on the qualities of the images you're merging, and this is where your personal touch comes into play. I find this part very frustrating, as it's very hard to get a good merge along the window frame, when you're dealing with an outside view that's so much brighter than the inside view, although luckily, I've found that (in spite of my fears) people generally don't scrutinize the photoshopping in your images as much as you do.

  3. Thank you so much for your wonderful reply! I'm truly grateful that you took the time to explain the process in such detail and with such patience. Your response far exceeded any of my expectations.

    I really learned a lot from your presentation – in fact, the process was actually different in many key ways from what I had imagined. You've got me inspired now to get a copy of Photoshop and try out some of these techniques myself. I'd like to be able to do this sort of high-dynamic-range photo, and I'd also like to try my hand at focus stacking (which probably requires additional software to create the appropriate masks for stacking).

    It's interesting that the frame of the window required so much attention. I never would have guessed. I was thinking the outline of your body would be tough, but now I see that it was just part of one layer, and the window opened out onto the second layer. So interesting. I don't suppose you have the original photos still laying around anywhere. It would be interesting to see what you started with and compare with the final result.

    Anyway, you've got me all fired up to try some new things. Thanks again for your kind response!!

  4. I'm always happy to inspire somebody's creative instincts! :-)

    This is the image I used for the base layer. Obviously, with the exposure primed for the indoor light, the image in the window is completely overexposed. It really makes you appreciate how amazing your eyes are. And here is the other shot, exposed for the window:

  5. Very nice! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed seeing the base images.

    How interesting. I had no idea how much was going on in your composite photo. And you're so right, human vision really is something – able to see everything from single photons to a flood of them. I once did a calculation showing that when I viewed a distant (barely visible) galaxy in my telescope, the photons reaching my eye from it were spaced about 60 miles apart.

    The cool thing about your composite photo is that it's the one that looks the way we experience the situation, rather than either of the basic images that capture only part of the scene. Fascinating.

    It makes me think of the Pulfrich effect, where if one eye has a low-light view of a scene it has a time lag relative to the other eye that has a high-light view. So, for example, if you view an oscillating pendulum with a filter from a pair of sunglasses in front of one eye, the pendulum will appear to move around in an ellipse, rather than linearly back and forth.

    Another interesting aspect of human vision is that we don't respond to polarization. We don't realize that our computer screens send out polarized light, for example. But if you hold a pair of polaroid sunglasses in front of the screen and rotate them, you will see the image appear and then disappear.

    Lot's of cool things all around us.

    Thanks again for sharing the base images. Seeing them gives me more inspiration to try this myself.

  6. Ah, another student of science, I see! Yes, the world is filled with fascinating things. And when you think about how specifically and arbitrarily the human brain interprets the wealth of information constantly flowing around us, it really puts into perspective how reliable our instincts and superficial perceptions can be. I know that studying both physics and psychology has made me a humbler specimen. But no less desirous to learn as much about this universe as I can! Ignorance is the starting point for knowledge, after all.