Saturday, February 24, 2018

Unseasonable



Eighty degrees in February - no foolin'! Not that I'm complaining. Although, at this rate, I'm bound to run out of ideas for outdoor shots before the summer even gets here!


Friday, February 23, 2018

Prurient Smut



I don't have an objection to prurient smut, on principle. I think too many people have too liberal an idea of what constitutes prurient smut, but I don't think prurient smut should be censored (restricted, maybe - I understand that not everybody wants to see it - but not censored, and certainly not illegal), just because it's crass and base-minded. While some of our instinctual appetites can be hazardous to our own and others' health (see: violence), I think that it's healthy (and it's obviously pleasurable) to indulge the sexual impulse, so long as you are doing so in ways that are not overly excessive or unethical.

And on those terms, sharing pics of your anatomy on the internet (in the right contexts - not messaging them to strangers without provocation), is a pretty simple and harmless way to get your kicks, especially compared to navigating the extremely complicated field of interpersonal relations. Plus, as an exhibitionist, I don't think anyone would disagree that it's a more favorable hobby than flashing strangers on the subway (not that I've ever personally known anyone to be interested in that sort of thing, as opposed to trading dick pics, which is extremely popular - much to the enduring chagrin of polite-minded society).


Anyway, images like these - they're not really "artistic" in the sense that I'd like to believe a lot of my other images are, although I have a pretty liberal definition of what constitutes art - but when you get all up close and anatomical like this (which is not usually my preferred approach), I can't help feeling like they begin to take on an almost scientific value (more often than not, I find these sorts of images more "educational" than erotic). Shocking or not (and certainly I would privilege carefully culled photos, and not just any old snapshot of anybody's anatomy in any condition whatsoever), I actually think being exposed to images like these can be healthy.

Not just as a form of sex education - which, considering some of the comments I've come across, there are a lot of people who don't appear to have a firm grasp of how a penis functions - but also in the same sense that seeing all kinds of normal bodies in a nudist environment helps to ground your expectations and combat poor body image. When this part of our bodies is so meticulously censored in everyday life, and the only time we are exposed to it is either in our own relatively limited experiences ("you mean not everybody is as big as my last boyfriend?"), or pornographic media where actors are typically chosen for their exceptional anatomy, it can be reassuring to learn what an average person really looks like (why is it a big secret what people look like under their clothes anyway?).

I don't necessarily enjoy looking at closeups of the male anatomy in most cases (and even the female anatomy I prefer to view from a distance, where you can see the whole person behind it), but I've seen quite a few penises in my days of browsing galleries on deviantART, and I have to say, I think I'm better off for it, because it doesn't faze me like it would have in the past. And it shouldn't. It's just human anatomy. It's not that big of a deal.


Except when it is that big of a deal. -_^

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Prom Preview



I feel like it's still a bit early in the season yet (although the dress catalogs have been on the newsstands for months already), but I'm so excited about the dress I've picked out for my (imaginary) prom, I couldn't wait to show it off (again).

Doesn't it look like the night sky?

I was out shopping for shoes for my Valentine's Day dress, and it got me thinking about the shoes I need to go with my prom dress. I tried the red ones with it, and I like them a lot. They're available in black, so I think I'm going to pick some up. I just need to find a cheap (but flashy) clutch purse. Anyway, I was trying the red shoes on with the dress, and I liked what I was seeing in the mirror so much, I had to record a video of it.

See how the dress glitters?

Oh, and I suppose I'll be needing a date. Can you believe nobody's ever asked me? Actually, now that I think about it, I'd probably have more fun just going with a group of girls. I know, you're thinking, "it's a shame he's not gay," but it'd be just like meeting a beautiful woman, and then finding out she's a lesbian. I can't help liking what I like. And the reason I enjoy being a girl is because I like girls so much. They really do excite me. That a man who puts on a dress must be trying to attract the attention of other men is actually heteronormative thinking. I don't mind the attention - taboo fantasies are hot - but you should know where I stand.


Or, you know, where I get down on the floor on my hands and knees. :-p

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Peaceful Rain



In this video, I was trying to capture the peaceful feeling of standing out on the porch, listening to the rain. I didn't realize I was standing nearly out of the frame! It's thematically appropriate that I had wet hair, but it's actually because I had just gotten out of the shower, otherwise I might have been tempted to go frolic in the rain (as I've done before). I really like the heavy sound of the rainfall at the beginning of the video (it tapers off, but you can hear the difference if you come to the end, and then start it back at the beginning again) - that's something that you can't control, and you just have to leave up to happenstance. I've found in my experience that severe weather is always very fleeting. It could rain for days, but it'll only unleash that full power for minutes at a time before softening up. Yet those are my favorite times.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

365 Anniversary

Ten years ago today, I started my 365 Daily Nudes project - which launched my nude and erotic photography hobby in earnest - with this picture. It's not a spectacular picture by any means, but it's noteworthy on account of the milestone it represents. Let me give you some background. It was less than a year after I'd discovered that nudism was a thing (after a passing comment half meant in jest inspired me to do some internet research), elevating my lifelong periodic secret naked bedroom and backyard trysts into a full-blown lifestyle. My New Years Resolution for 2008 was to spend more time in the nude. I didn't have a lot of varied opportunities, but even just lounging around at home without clothes on in a semi-regular fashion was enough of a novelty at the time.

Enter popular photo-sharing site Flickr. I was reminiscing over some teenage webcam photos I'd shot for my girlfriend years earlier, when I came to the conclusion that it'd be a shame to keep them to myself and not share them with the world. The Flickr community was very receptive, and kindled my inspiration as a photographer. A little thing called The 365 Project (also under various aliases) - in which you would commit to taking and sharing one photo a day for a whole year - was pretty popular among photographers there, looking to showcase their talents, as well as earn experience and grow as artists. I wanted in. But, naturally, I wanted to put my own spin on the project - making it a whole year of daily nude self-portraits!

Sadly, I was not able to complete the project, due to a freak accident in which I lost my camera (and all the photos I'd taken throughout the week) near the end of a road trip to the Burning Man festival. Losing my camera - and more importantly, all those once-in-a-lifetime pictures I'd taken - crushed my enthusiasm for the project. But I did eventually recover my passion for photography, and consoled myself by purchasing my first ever dSLR camera. It made me feel that much closer to being a professional photographer, and I consider it one of the best decisions of my life (even as new phone camera technology is beginning to surpass my now decade-old dSLR). Ten years later, and here I am!


In the lead-up to 2018, I'd begun debating in my head the merits of embarking on another 365 Project, to honor the first. I told myself I had no need of taking pictures every day anymore - what can become, if you properly commit to it, something akin to a full-time job. On the other hand, my skills have improved enormously, both as a photographer and as a model, and I have more tools at my disposal (not just my trusty dSLR, but also now a highly convenient mobile phone, complete with video recording capabilities). Wouldn't a project done now yield riper fruit? On top of it all, I've just this past year moved back into a house after living in an uninspiring apartment building for many years.

So I've come to a bit of a compromise. Photography now, to me, is more than just "spray 'n' pray" - taking a handful of shots and working with what I get. The workflow involves a lot more creative preparation, post-processing, and academic analysis (i.e., I like to use photos to illustrate the "essays" I write). So, instead of taking one photo every day - since inspiration flows more readily some days than others, and I don't want to stifle that (plus, it gives me a break every once in awhile, when the juices aren't flowing) - I've chosen instead to prepare one post for this blog to be published per day until the end of the year, each one accompanied by some sort of photo (ideally of me), or video (recalling that other daily nude project I embarked on a couple years after the first), that is in some way relevant to the themes of this blog (mainly nudity, eroticism, and gender experimentation) - a bit of a cornucopia of daily delights.

I didn't want to announce this project on January 1 because I wanted to try it out for a bit before committing to it, but here we are almost two months into the year, and I'm ready to make it official. I've had no shortage of creativity so far - in fact, for most of this time I've had posts prepared days in advance to give me a nice buffer (so I can put the necessary time in to make each one the best it can be, and to keep me covered in case of vacation or other distractions). It's still early in the year, but I have yet to find myself roaming around wondering, "what kind of photo should I take today?" just to get the daily allotment in. I've got so many ideas swimming around in my head, I can't even keep up with them all! So let's hope this trend continues.


This isn't the first time I've revisited the image that started it all. But comparing this image to the original is enlightening. Back then, I was a greenhorn. A fish out of water. Now, I have a better camera, more experience (both as a photographer and as a model), and the determination and confidence to set up a good shot and not settle for whatever I can get in a few snaps. Knowing what I'm capable of - of the great shots I've taken in the past - allows me to feel justified in raising my standards, without fear of wasting my time on a fruitless effort. I couldn't do this without having that kind of experience. Of course, being able to get those great shots is no doubt itself a function of the experience I've acquired, in conjunction with the technical aid of my superior equipment. Although I'm a firm believer that a photographer's most important tool is the one that sits between his ears, I must concede that you can achieve greater results when you're spending less time and energy generating frustration with a stubborn tool that you have to wrestle with in order to get anything even halfway decent...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fooling Around With Focus

I'm not one to withhold sight of my own nakedness, but it does fascinate me to experiment with contrasts and the power of suggestion in order to amplify the impact of nudity (whether on the page/screen, or just in your head). So I was playing around with narrow depths of field the other day, and I stumbled upon the idea of taking the same shot in and extremely out of focus, then merging the two images in different ways, to play around with suggestion of a form vs. revealing the form. I ended up with three different variations.

Fogged Glass

The first one I call "Fogged Glass", because that's precisely what it resembles - like wiping your hand across a foggy mirror after getting out of a hot shower (which I've tried to take a picture of several times, but it's really hard to work out the angles in time before the mirror clears up). You only get to see certain parts - and it's not the explicit parts - but I think it creates a powerful illusion, like there's something exciting lying just beyond one's sight.

Censor Blur

The second one uses the fog in what is a fairly traditional form of censorship, to blur out the the subject's genital area. It reminds me of the "cloud bikini" cosplay I did once upon a time. Although that was actual material covering me, and this is a visual effect, the cosplay was a simulation of a panel from a comic where the cloud was used in just such a way - as convenient censorship. An interesting question that this image raises, for me, is whether this would actually constitute "nudity". There is nothing between the camera and my naked body to block my genitalia from sight, yet the focus renders it so blurry as to be utterly benign. It's like hiding in plain sight.

Cloud of Anonymity

The third one I call "Cloud of Anonymity", because it uses the fog as in the last one, but this time to obscure the subject's identity, while leaving the genitalia exposed. A lot of people use this technique to share explicit photos online, while reducing the chances of it coming back to bite them in the ass by harming their reputation in some way. I always thought this approach was tacky, and somewhat cowardly, opting instead to own my forays into nude and erotic modeling, but there are certainly circumstances where it provides some measure of welcome security to vulnerable parties. After all, I'd rather someone feel comfortable sharing anonymously than not at all!

Together, these images remind me of a clone shot I did a long time ago, that I've actually been meaning to recreate some day. Soon, I hope - stay tuned for that!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Die, Coke-Scum!



In a world where Coke is the only cola in existence, it's perfectly acceptable to refer to a Coke as simply a "cola". But add Pepsi to the mix, and it becomes reasonable to distinguish what type of cola you're referring to. Is it a Coke, or is it a Pepsi? Most people may continue to assume that "cola" refers to a Coke, but especially in restaurants that serve Pepsi, if you want to actually talk about Coke, it makes sense to refer to it as "Coke" (or "Coca-cola"), and not just "cola", which would be confusing, because Pepsi is another type of cola. Coke lovers don't have to stop referring to their preferred beverage as simply "cola" - the usage of the term "Coke" as a differentiator primarily benefits those who handle Pepsi. Yet, many Coke lovers feel as though they're being "hassled" by this change in terminology, and, feeling victimized, fear that Pepsi lovers are trying to shift the discourse and get Pepsi recognized as the "default" cola.* But this is a strawman fallacy; Pepsi lovers are not campaigning to get Pepsi referred to solely as "cola". That would be counterproductive - their goal is to use clearer language to distinguish one cola from another. This reactionary attitude is nothing more than Coke-privilege in action. All Pepsi-lovers are asking Coke-lovers to do is acknowledge that theirs is not the only cola in the universe. Refusing this minor, yet critical concession cannot be considered anything other than insensitive arrogance, born out of a lazy sense of entitlement, and deserves to be called out as such. Die, Coke-scum!

*Instead of using Coke's biggest competitor, if we replace Pepsi in this analogy with a minority cola - say, RC Cola - it becomes even more obvious that the competitor is not trying to usurp the crowned soda's position, but merely expand the selections available in the vending machine, and that the reigning champ is - far from being legitimately threatened by some no-name soda - merely throwing its muscle around to intimidate the competition, maintain a monopoly, and disguise its feelings of inadequacy.