I recently visited a state park I'd never been to before, and had an opportunity to take a quick, impromptu photoshoot in front of an impressive series of waterfalls. As a naturist and a photographer, few things excite me more than the opportunity to shoot nudes against stunning natural backdrops. Unfortunately, this isn't always an easy thing to do on account of society's irrational taboo on nudity. These photos give the illusion of being able to simply wander the park in the buff, but the reality is not so pleasant. If you ask me, all state and national parks in this country should be clothing optional as a rule (explicitly indicated), so that nature's beauty can be enjoyed the way it was intended - in the buff.
Instead, unlike the hiker or the fisher or the tourist, I have to go about my business in a surreptitious sort of way, feeling all the while like a criminal trying to get away with something. Is art photography that onerous that it warrants such caution? Are the results not beautiful enough to offset the possibility that some unsuspecting passerby might get a glimpse (shock, horror!) of a naked human being? And why must my serious artistic intentions be lumped in with the drunken revelers who expose themselves without thinking about the consequences? Surely, taking my clothes off for a few pictures here and there does less damage than the party-goers who leave crushed beer cans behind littering the natural landscape...
As it is, the care I am obliged to exercise limits when and where I can take these sorts of pictures, and reduces the amount of time and concentration I can spend composing and then posing for a good shot. You could consider this part of the challenge of outdoor nude photography - to see what you can accomplish under the restrictions - but frankly, I'd prefer less anxiety about getting caught, and I can't help thinking about all the shots I've had to miss - not for lack of opportunity, but due to unreasonable social conventions. In the image below, for example, I wanted to pose standing on the rock at the right edge of the frame, but it was a little too exposed, so I had to satisfy myself with a simple landscape, rather than a portrait.
It's also kind of frustrating to me that, as a self-portrait artist, I can't actually act as the photographer when taking these pictures. I didn't have my tripod with me (and I'm not sure I'd have had the time to set it up even if I did), so I had to coax the friend I was with into helping me out, and - by her own admission - she doesn't have the talent or the experience (or the inclination, I would add) as a photographer that I have. To her credit, though, it was her impetus and inspiration that led to the following series of images. I've seen countless shots of female models climbing nude on tree branches in the past, and I was very excited to have the opportunity to be that model for once. It's just too bad the shoot had to be so rushed.
Internet fandom aside, sometimes I feel very alone as a nude/erotic photographer. I wish I were part of some organized group. I feel like I'm out on the fringe, making things up as I go along. I know there are other people out there who do what I do - I've seen the results online. I just wish there was more of a sense of camaraderie between us. It amazes me that I'm not able to find even a single other person interested in this kind of modeling, though it doesn't help that due to the stigma of what I do, I don't feel comfortable mentioning it to everyone I meet. I know there are girls out there who are into posing nude for serious photographers. Why can't I find them?