Thursday, October 1, 2015
Fitness, Virility, Nudism, and Revolution
Honestly, I considered shooting these without the erection. I even considered putting on a pair of briefs, to cover the nudity and make them more accessible to a wider audience, as a "safe" demonstration of the aims of fitness and physique. But in my work, the art always runs the show. The shots were just more interesting with the erection, and I find it counter-productive to cover up the human body when you're putting it on display. These shots are honest, and if some people can't handle the truth, then it's their misfortune to be distanced from it.
As far as realism goes, it's difficult to keep up an erection for an extended period of time when you're exercising (the rest of your body needs that blood flow), but this isn't a documentary of a fitness regime, it's a symbolic representation of what fitness stands for. What it aims for. And, quite frankly, I think there's a sexual component inextricably linked to that. It's not PC to say so, but I'm concerned with reality, not illusion. There's something instinctively sexual about the virility of a finely toned body - by the presence of the erection, I'm merely making explicit what usually remains implied. And while some will argue the merits of a more subtle approach, part of my intention is to force people to think about that sexual link, when most of the time it passes through the subconscious mind unnoticed.
I think the ancient Greeks understood that the human body is a work of art - especially when sculpted to perfection (and I'm talking about flesh, not marble). They painted and sculpted representations of it, but they also celebrated its source, in the form of athletic competitions ("Olympic Games") that were an equal blend of aesthetics and practical demonstration - the virtue of beauty not just as a theoretical principle, but as a pragmatic one as well. I might gain some enemies by saying this, but I think this is what modern nudism should be about. We should resurrect the ancient Greek ideals that link beauty with bodies. I'm not opposed to the principle of body acceptance - I think people who do not have sculpted physiques should in no way be criticized or disadvantaged, or made to feel inferior, and there's no reason their bodies can't be celebrated as beautiful in their own way. But I don't want to pretend that there are not benefits to be gained from putting physical work into your body, and that one of those benefits is the aesthetic principle of beauty.
I would love for modern nudism to incorporate the tradition of admiring beautiful bodies into their curriculum. It doesn't have to be in the form of the much-maligned beauty pageants of the past, but sports competitions - like volleyball tournaments and nude races - are a great start. It may even be a good way to get younger demographics - athletic types more or less in the prime of their youth - to join nudism. Along with this adoption of the notion of "body beauty" it would follow that cameras and nude photography would have to be re-accepted into the lifestyle. Instead of a blanket prohibition, there would be an allowance for those wishing to capture the beauty of the human body on film. I find few themes more inspiring than beautiful bodies photographed in the practice of nudism, and yet modern nudism is a huge obstacle to this discipline.
I feel as though it is not "kosher" to talk about beautiful bodies in a climate where body image disorders are an epidemic, and especially not to talk about the sexual appeal of bodies when you practice a lifestyle that goes to great pains to divest the public of the notion that there is any intrinsic connection between naked bodies and sexual feelings. I do not intend to be a maverick, a subversive agent, though it may be true that I am. I am certainly not unsympathetic to the plights of those who do experience body image distortions, or an inordinate amount of stress and pressure to adhere to unrealistic standards of beauty, or to those who do practice a lifestyle centered around nudity that would be thrown into chaos and destruction with the introduction of sex.
I am merely acting from a perspective in which aesthetic, erotic beauty - of the human form - is a priority. It is a priority to me because it affects me very profoundly, in a way that I could only describe as rapturous. Happiness is a vague and elusive feeling. Companionship is hard to find, and rife with complication. Beauty, in my eyes, is pure, and total. I choose to pursue it, and yet I find my pursuit frustrated at nearly every turn, by outside agents - agents of a society that is either prudish to an extreme, or otherwise obsessed with vulgarity. I do not prioritize the pursuit of beauty over the well-being of others, but neither do I believe that the pursuit of beauty is inherently damaging to others. To whatever extent beauty may cause another problems, I am willing to address those problems and search for a solution whereby the suffering of others, and of society on the whole, is alleviated, without obstructing the pursuit of beauty, and without contributing to societal decay by humoring the toxic neuroses of others.
Tell me, then, how there is anything wrong in what I am or what I do, or those ways in which I might propose to remodel society, or certain subsets of it, for my convenience, but not my convenience alone? And if there is nothing, then please explain to me why the public obstinately refuses to stand aside of my way.