Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rainbow Party

Happy New Year! This year's theme is...Rainbow Party!!! Pick a color to get started!

You know, I've always felt that rainbow parties were one of the more remarkable urban legends to be born out of our collective cultural phobia surrounding adolescent sexuality. The lurid details seem so weirdly specific as to resemble somebody's elaborate sexual fantasy. I'm surprised anybody ever believed they were a real phenomenon. I mean, how would that even work, anyway? The guys wouldn't be left with neat little rainbow rings on their cocks so much as a messy mishmash of colors, am I right? Still, I'm a sucker for any idea that raises perversion to the level of an art form.

The after-party

Monday, December 28, 2015

Post-Xmas Selfies

Here are a few selfies I took during this year's Xmas festivities.

Taking a bathroom break during a Xmas party.

Getting festive on Xmas morning.

And a couple shots of me in red undies!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Cards

It's that time of year again! My Christmas cards come in four different varieties this year. You can get them in "nice" or "naughty" versions, and there are also two ratings to suit your sensibilities - implied, and explicit. So make sure you're on the right list - check it twice!

Here is the default card.

This one is a little bit naughty.

Here is the version for all of my nudist friends.

And this is the X-rated version.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Don't forget to tip your water boy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Little Loose

It says a lot about a society that visual depictions of human sexual arousal can be considered not just impolite, but criminal under certain circumstances. Is an erect penis intrinsically vulgar, or can it be depicted in a tasteful fashion - emphasizing, perhaps, its beauty, playfulness, and ability to generate physical pleasure, rather than debilitating anxiety? And to what extent does that depend on society's attitude towards the inherent moral virtue of human sexual expression? I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a world where sex is considered to be an evil temptation, and not simply a way in which humans relate to bond and create mutual pleasure. Tell me, am I just misguidedly naive and idealistic? Because I don't subscribe to an agenda that seeks to control the way the masses wield their sexual identities? Or, rather, that if I could, I would enforce methods that would enable individuals to have more sex more pleasurably, while minimizing the risks of infection and undesired pregnancy? Instead of responding to the fear that they would not make responsible decisions by taking their pleasure away from them and replacing it with deep-seated shame? Because they're not only too stupid for their own good, but that they deserve to be punished for it? Please, tell me I'm the bad guy here...

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Try This On For Size

Nothing soothes the wintertime blues like going out to the store and having an excuse to peel off all your layers of warm clothing. You grab a few swimsuits from the clearance rack, take them to the fitting room, and then try them on while fantasizing about those sunny days when the air is so warm that you can hang out in the middle of crowds of sexy people wearing the skimpiest of covering over their mostly exposed bodies. Am I alone in thinking this is one of the supreme delights that life has in store for us?

I swear, I envy girls for their sleek anatomy, that they can get by with wearing the skimpiest of coverings. Even if you examine the male equivalent (exclusively sold as fetish wear, it seems), full coverage requires a very noticeable bulge or pouch. Now, if that kind of thing were socially acceptable, I wouldn't care, but in this male-dominated, allegedly patriarchal society (I say to emphasize the irony and doubtfulness of those statements), you're not allowed to even hint at the suggestion of possessing male anatomy. If ever I were to get sexual reassignment surgery (and it's not on my agenda), it would be for the sake of fashion, and not to assuage any psychological distress at possessing the wrong set of genitalia.

I tried on some tops, too, but didn't get any good pictures. The problem with shopping for bikinis is that you can always find great tops or great bottoms, but so rarely two that go well together. So, you end up with a drawer filled with assorted pieces, and you can't really wear any of them because they don't match...

I also found this really cute dress, that looks very good on me, notwithstanding a little bit of bulge, that's partially (though not totally) obscured by the ruffles. It looks very prom-y, which is a plus, and I got it for a steal! It's got all its parts, too, and it's nice and stretchy, so I don't have to worry about it being too tight around the rib cage, as is so frequently the case with dresses like this. If only I had some place to wear it to. All the better if it was among a crowd that didn't mind the nature of my anatomy. Because why should having a little bit of a bulge prevent me from dressing up? It's not fair, I tell you.

Until next time, thanks for joining me in the fitting room!

Monday, November 30, 2015


Happy Cyber Monday! I wrote more about cybering last year, if you're in the mood to read about that. Suffice to say, today is as good a day as any (and any day is good, really) to promote world happiness by taking naked pictures of yourself and then sharing them with others via the internet. Websites like flickr, tumblr, and blogger all permit the posting of pornographic images, and I'm sure there are others. So cum and join in the fun! Feel free to leave a link in the comments, if you'd like me to take a look.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

House Party

I spent a whole day working on this photo. I do believe it breaks my record for number of clones in one shot, previously set (if I'm not mistaken) by Harem no Jutsu, which featured seven clones. I had planned on using ten clones for this shot, but managed to squeeze in an eleventh at the last minute. I used the nonstandard layout of the apartment to my advantage, although I got quite the workout running back and forth across the length of the apartment for those farthest clones. Anyone who doesn't think photography is work, is clearly not a photographer. Thinking back on some of my earliest clone shots, it was just point and shoot. But that was seven years ago, when I was still green, and excited just to see a representation of myself in a picture. Nowadays, I'm determined to take pictures with interesting poses, that show off the model's body in the most flattering way. Which is particularly hard, when you're a self-portrait photographer. But I've gone into all that before.

I started out with the intention of shooting all of the clones in such a manner as to obscure any so-called "hardcore nudity" - if only just to gain the advantage of potentially being able to show off the shot in wider contexts, but after eleven clones, I started running out of pose ideas, and I didn't want to have them all looking the same. I haven't lost any of my enthusiasm for those "hardcore nudity" shots (which will be obvious to anyone following my work), but there's something to be said for the "implied" or "near" nude approach. The suggestion is thrilling, and where you perhaps can't go exposing yourself wholesale in the public square, you might just be able to get away with drawing a larger audience to a chaster exhibition, while still managing to be titillating. It's one of those strategic tricks where if you go too far, they'll put you in the "adult" category and prevent as many people as they can from seeing your work, but even if you have to compromise on your vision a little to reach mainstream audiences, it'll just be that much more effective in potentially opening new minds.

Not that so-called "self-censorship" will ever be a legitimate substitute for free speech in my mind, but I consider it another tool to toss in my toolbox, that has its time and place. There's no reason whatsoever that the following two images can't both exist simultaneously, just as long as the one isn't necessarily precluding the existence of the other:

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Few Photos

Happy Friday the 13th!

Inspired by a photo I saw on deviantART. In the "non-nude" tradition of showing as much as absolutely possible, while not going "all the way". Also, I thought the shape of the Pringles can was humorously suggestive.

Conversations With A Nudist, Part 3 - The Conversion. Because you knew it was inevitable. Be sure and check out Part 1 and Part 2, as well.

Casual chat on the couch. Only after I took this shot did I realize it's a variation on a theme I've been enamored with going back at least to this shot from 2010, and even earlier. I learned a long time ago that nudity is more stark when contrasted with a dressed figure, and the same is true of erotic subjects. Masturbating alone in private is one thing, but the suggestion of a figure doing so in the presence of others (or, in this case, being so comfortable as to sit completely open-legged with a hard-on) is even more exciting - especially if the other figure treats it casually like it's no big deal, instead of pandering to the stereotype of exhibitionists shocking innocent prudes. Images like this one concoct a fantasy utopia where people aren't afraid of human sexuality, enabling the viewer to let his imagination run wild.

And here's a shot I've been sitting on from a couple months back, that I keep coming back to. I really like it. It's one of those shots where you look at it and you have to admit that even with the blatant eroticism suggested by the erection, it's a beautiful and artistic portrait. How could anyone be offended by this? It's not vulgar. It's not disgusting. It's a compelling affirmation of life.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

To Alice ~

Eat me, and I grow large.

Drink me, then I grow small.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Recycling last year's costume, because it's not every day that you can get away with wearing a bloody prom dress. :-p No extra blood this year (that's awfully messy, and it was kinda chilly out, so I wanted to wear a jacket while out trick'r'treating). If you must, just think of me as Carrie's little sister, who got her big sister's prom dress as a hand-me-down. -_^

Monday, October 26, 2015

Spread Love

I was browsing pictures online one day, and I saw a photo of someone who had written the phrase "spread love" on the soles of their feet. Call me a pervert, but my first thought was, "then how come those legs aren't spread?" And that's when the idea hit me to do a spread eagle shot with the words "spread love" written along the insides of my thighs.

There's just something about a spread eagle shot that is so matter-of-fact. It's inviting, but it's also shameless. I think that's why a lot of people disparage it. It's too blatantly sexual. But that's what I love about it. There's no dancing around the issue - this shot is about sex. Maybe not the act itself, but certainly its direct implication. And there's something refreshing and free about that.

I imagine this image would make a bigger splash if the model were female, but I do what I can with what I have. I think it would be fantastic if this shot started a trend among all those who hold a liberal view toward pornography and human sexuality. Those who think the true obscenity in our culture is violence, not pornography. Those who embrace and celebrate sex and its role in providing pleasure in people's lives.

Or, just all those who love spread eagle shots and want to share that love with the world. So if you're one of those people, go ahead and take all your clothes off. Grab a marker (tip: use a washable marker) and write the words "spread love" along your inner thighs (remember to write from your right knee to your left, unless you're going to be shooting in a mirror). Then spread your legs and take a picture of yourself. Finally - and this is very important - upload it to the internet, and share it with the world!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nudism vs. Naturism

Question: Is there a difference between nudism and naturism?

Short Answer: The terms carry slightly different connotations, but practically speaking, they may be used interchangeably.

Long Answer: There is no official consensus about how and why and in what contexts each of the two terms is used, or where their definitions overlap. In some cases, "naturism" can be understood to be the European analog of "nudism", and so the two terms are really interchangeable. When somebody says that they are a naturist, or are practicing naturism, then unless they go into more detail, you may infer that they are really just indicating that they are a nudist, or are practicing nudism.

That having been said, some people do differentiate between the two terms. Naturism seems to take on an added connotation above and beyond nudism - one that may, depending on who you ask, encompass associations with outdoor recreation and/or a "healthy living" perspective. By this logic, you could consider all naturists to be nudists, but not all nudists to necessarily be naturists.

Some people prefer the term "naturism" because of its connotation with nature - it is a more innocuous (and less conspicuous) word to use in mixed company, and avoids the stigma that many textiles associate with the word "nude". I, however, prefer the term "nudism" in part because I support transparency - if the lifestyle is about going nude, then why not just own up to it, instead of trying to beat around the bush with less suggestive, and thus more opaque, terms?

I also prefer "nudism" because it doesn't carry the added weight of "naturism"'s connotation with nature. Not that I don't like that connotation - as a nudist, I am very pro-nature. But I find that it can be a bit limiting in some respects, as if to suggest that if you practice at home, indoors, or if you live what some may deem an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g., one that involves drinking, smoking, lazing about instead of getting exercise and fresh air and eating healthy), or if you engage in arguably "un-natural" grooming practices (like shaving), or have any tattoos and/or piercings, then you're not really a part of the lifestyle.

As important as I believe nature is to the enjoyment of nudism, the bottom line is that it all boils down to the fact that what makes nudists and naturists different from the rest of the population is that they like to be nude! So why make it more complicated than that? The term "nudism" is pretty all-inclusive - you don't have to join a club and pay membership dues, or follow any kind of esoteric rules. If you like being nude for anything other than sexual reasons, then you are a nudist! (Not that there's anything wrong with liking to be nude for sexual reasons - it's just that that isn't nudism).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conversations with a Nudist

Inspired by this article, today we ask an unconventional nudist his opinion on some common nudist taboos.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Let's start with the issue of "clothing optional" versus "nude only" resorts. Do you have a preference?

A: As a die hard nudist, who prefers to be nude wherever and whenever possible, there are times when even I prefer to wear clothes. So I don't really see the problem with a "clothing optional" dress code. After all, it's a vast improvement over "textile only"! And it's more inclusive, right? On the other hand, I think nudists and would-be nudists sometimes need a little push, to maintain the proper environment of a nudist venue. What's nudism without naked bodies? It should be a soft push - not "disrobe or get out!" - but a push nonetheless. That's why I support having conditional rules, like "nude only" in the pool area, or in the sauna, or during sports competitions, weather-permitting. That way people can opt out if they're not feeling adventurous, but if they want the full experience, they'll have to join in.

Q: As any man who has ever considered engaging in nudism knows, the fear of getting an erection can be the source of much anxiety. How do you feel about nudists' approach toward erections?

A: The default policy among nudists on erections is to cover them up, but I'm not sure this is the best approach. Like nudity, arousal is a state of being, not doing. Sexual behavior is frowned upon in nudist contexts for legitimate reasons, but sometimes arousal occurs unexpectedly. Although it should not be encouraged, rushing to cover up just emphasizes the idea that there is something vulgar or shameful about the male genitalia in its engorged state. On the contrary, like flushed skin or hardened nipples, it is a natural and beautiful part of the human anatomy. So why hide it?

Q: Why, indeed. On the other hand, it could encourage a more sexually-charged atmosphere. Do you think nudists are too strict when it comes to the topic of sex?

A: Not necessarily. My views occupy a subtle middle ground. I think we should strive for a compromise between a sex-positive approach and a family-friendly atmosphere. I don't claim that will be easy, however. What I don't want to see is nudism being swallowed up by the swinger lifestyle. I believe that life is a sensual experience, and I think nudism is compatible with that view, but out-and-out sexual activity is another matter. When I engage in nude recreation, I want to relax with friends, and play outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. I don't want to be propositioned by strangers looking for sexual encounters.

Q: I'm sure a lot of nudists feel the same way. You said that your view of life as "a sensual experience" is compatible with nudism. What's your opinion on exhibitionism?

A: To be perfectly honest, I am an exhibitionist. But before you jump to conclusions, I'd like to state that I don't regard the stereotype of the trench coat flasher with much esteem. I find the idea of "exposure" to be exciting, but not purely in a sexual way. Besides, even the fear of a negative reaction is enough to trigger anxiety. That's why I like nudism - I can be exposed in a welcoming atmosphere. That doesn't mean that I'm constantly aroused - 95% of the time I'm engaged in nude recreation, I'm not even thinking about exhibitionism. But if it adds a little spice to the experience, like the jalapeno on top of your burrito, then all the better. I'd be surprised if a large percentage of nudists weren't exhibitionists to at least some extent. As long as they're capable of behaving themselves, and following the rules against open sexual displays, where's the harm?

Q: I'm definitely getting the sense that you walk a fine line between what one may consider "conservative" and "progressive" views of the nudist lifestyle. Are you more likely to support beauty pageants or body acceptance?

A: I don't think beauty pageants are evil in and of themselves, but body acceptance is definitely important to the nudist ethos. I'm a person who appreciates the beauty of the human body, but I don't believe you need to be "beautiful" by anyone's standards in order to be happy, or to enjoy yourself, or just to be comfortable in your own skin. If you look good (or think you look good), that's a bonus, not a requirement for living. Nobody deserves to be criticized for their looks. Everybody has bad hair days - even supermodels - but that doesn't mean you have to give up on it being a good everything else day.

Q: I like that approach! We've talked about exhibitionism - how do you feel about voyeurism? Is it okay to look at people's bodies?

A: Sure! Witnessing the great variety of bodies people have is one of the hallmarks of the nudist experience. As long as you're polite - no staring or rude insults, and no sexual behavior or creepy come-ons - there's nothing wrong with looking. And occasionally you're bound to see something you like. That's one of the privileges of being a nudist. Being able to acknowledge the beauty of the human body is one of the things that separates nudists from the rest of the population. In the textile world, voyeurism is too often accompanied by an invasion of privacy, but nudists don't consider the sight of their naked bodies to be private in the same way.

Q: What about so-called "gawkers" - non-nudist outsiders who get a thrill from peeking at nudists? Nudists aren't generally kind to them getting an eyeful, are they?

A: No, not generally. Nudism isn't really a spectator sport - unless you're actually playing a spectator sport nude - and having people peering over the fence snickering at you is rude and uncomfortable. Those people deserve a stern warning. But otherwise, I think a lot of people are just really curious about nudism, even if they're not ready to try it themselves. Sometimes they respond in an immature way, but I think that can be part of the long process of acceptance. What the world needs is more exposure to nudism, not less. Except insofar as it protects us from very real external hostilities, I think it's time for nudism to go mainstream, and stop hiding itself behind tall fences in hidden compounds on the outskirts of nowhere.

Q: That's ambitious! Now, you said that nudists don't consider their bodies to be private, and that nudism needs more exposure. I'm curious what your opinion on photography in nudist venues is.

A: I said that nudists don't consider the sight of their naked bodies to be private, but even that is too often restricted to narrow contexts. Nudists seem to have an unholy fear of cameras. As a photographer, my opinion may not reflect the majority of nudists, but I think this is extremely unfortunate. The fact that there are a lot of unscrupulous voyeurs out there prevents me from photographing one of my favorite subjects - nude recreation. And it's ironic, because of all people, why should a nudist care if somebody snaps a picture of them naked?

Q: Right. Why do you think they care?

A: It's a complicated issue. Some nudists keep their lifestyle a secret, and are afraid that they would lose family, friends, or their job, if it should get out that they enjoy nude recreation. Frankly, I think the solution to this is for nudists to come out en masse. There are plenty of perfectly normal people in the population who are nudists - not freaks or fringe perverts - and the more the public realizes this, the less stigma people will be exposed to just for engaging in nudism. That more people would probably become interested in nudism as a result of its increased awareness is just a bonus!

Other people are concerned about anonymous perverts on the internet doing "unholy" things with their pictures. I don't know how to say this more delicately, but...who cares? Who does that hurt? To me, it seems to be nothing more than an extension of the puritanical mindset that envisions sex as a sin and a vice - that for somebody to experience pleasure from an unapproved source is unacceptable, and that we have a social responsibility to prevent that from happening. But if you ask me, if some anonymous stranger who I will almost certainly never meet - or even speak to! - happens to derive a little bit of enjoyment in what could quite likely be an otherwise dull and depressing life, just from viewing a picture of me, that's no skin off my back. More power to them.

Q: That's a noble - even humanitarian - perspective. But are there limits? What about children? Do you think it's acceptable to photograph children in nudist contexts?

A: I think it's important that we all take the necessary precautions to protect our children from the dangers that lurk out there in the "wilderness" of modern society. But I also think it's our responsibility not to take those precautions too far, to the point that they're doing more harm than good. Photographs do not capture people's souls. They're just images. And yet, it's become very rare to see depictions and advertisements of the nudist lifestyle that feature children. And I think this does a grave disservice to the lifestyle.

A lot of people question if nudism is appropriate for children, when the truth that any parent knows, is that children are literally born nudists. They have to be taught to wear clothes. People also frequently confuse nudism for an adult lifestyle. What are we telling the world when the only people who appear in nudist images are adults? We're giving them the impression that when we say nudism is "family-friendly", we're lying to them. And then when people do occasionally see an image of a child engaged in nudism, it's that much more alarming. I think nudists need to embrace nudist photography featuring children, to show the world that we have nothing to hide. Because nudism needs children - they're what's keeping it wholesome and pure.

Q: Thank you for your time. This has been a very enlightening discussion. I'm sure it will give me lots to think about over the next few days!

A: It was a pleasure!

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.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Storm

I consider getting caught in a thunderstorm to be a rite of passage for the summer. Some people are afraid of thunderstorms - I'm not. They invigorate me. So I'm not daunted when I'm out getting exercise and a storm moves in. I think it's thrilling. And there are times when it's more inconvenient to be getting wet - if I've been exercising in the summer heat, I'm likely to be covered with sweat anyway. And minimally dressed (although not as minimally as would be ideal).

It would have been nice to frolic in the rain naked, but at least the car windows fogged up enough to offer me some privacy. Perhaps if I had not been alone, I might have been inspired to engage in some "illicit activity". That's what life is all about, after all. What better way to spend a stormy summer afternoon? As it was, I took advantage of the situation to snap some rare pics with my cell phone.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Stranded in the Fitting Room

With no clothes! I had to sneak back through the store, and grab something to put on, before anybody saw me.

Just kidding. :p This was a cute dress, but I had the all-too-often problem of not being able to zip it up fully in the back. (I would have thought that my wide ribs would have been balanced out by my lack of a bust, but whatever...)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me"

"...thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
Psalm 23:4

I'm always down for some good old-fashioned blasphemy. I don't like to disrespect other people's beliefs on principle, but when they don't respect my beliefs, turnabout is fair play. I consider sexuality to be sacred, but Christianity views it as a sin. Therefore, any way I can sexualize the Holy Scripture feels righteous to me. If that makes me a devil in their eyes, then so be it.

"Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them."
- Neil Young

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Two More Sides

Obviously reminiscent of this post. This is the "workout" version.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pet Peeve: Defenders of Private Censorship

I've talked about this before, but it's something that comes up again and again, so I think I'm justified in complaining about it again. Let's start with this comic.

Now, I'm a huge fan of xkcd, but just because Randall Munroe made a comic about something doesn't mean that it's beyond criticism.

I consider myself a progressive. I also consider myself to be liberal - but in the sense of being in support of liberty, not in the sense of belonging to the liberal hivemind. There are a lot of things that mainstream political progressives have got wrong. One of those is their single-minded dedication to political correctness. It comes from a good place - compassion for one's fellow man, and a desire to oppose bigots and bullies. But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and this approach all too frequently positions itself in opposition to the freedom of speech.

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I'm a pretty staunch defender of free speech. Now, it's a nice fantasy to believe that free speech can be absolute, but even I am willing to make certain concessions. But there's an important distinction here between singling out specific subjects of speech to be disallowed, and specific ways that speech can be used, almost like a weapon. The fact that you can't shout "fire!" in a crowded movie theater (unless there's really a fire) doesn't concern me - because the subject of fire is not being made into a taboo. You and I can still sit down in a movie theater and discuss fire, we just can't use our speech about fire to create unnecessary panic that could likely lead to distress or injury.

Similarly, I sympathize with the goal of progressives in stamping out hate speech, because when people talk shit about other kinds of people, it's pretty ugly. But the same principle applies. If two people want to get together on an internet forum and discuss the reasons white people should be exterminated, for example, I believe they should have that freedom. It's only when they start using that speech to harass other people, by bullying and directing slurs against specific individuals, that it reaches a point where the impact is wholly negative, and retaliation is deserved.

Now, you might have a hard time figuring the positive impact of letting people speak in support of prejudice (in a non-directly harassing context), but that's built into the very concept of free speech. Either you support that concept or you don't. And if you don't, that's okay - it's a perfectly valid opinion to have. But if that's the case, I would appreciate it if you didn't erode the very concept of free speech by claiming you believe in it when you clearly don't. It makes it harder for everyone else to understand just what constitutes free speech after all. If you support free speech, then you support the idea that people should be able to say things that are offensive. Not because you don't care about people's feelings getting hurt, but because you think the freedom of people to think and say things that might be unpopular is more valuable than creating a sanitized, baby-proof society in which nobody is allowed to do or say anything that carries the remote possibility of offending anyone else.

I know, it's hard to justify the merit of certain subjects like racism, and sexism. In my previous post on this topic, the issue was tumblr's exclusion of speech supporting self-harm and eating disorders. This time, the forum that brought the issue to my mind is reddit, and while I don't know the specific details, I think that it may be related to a similar subject - body shaming. Hell, I'm a staunch opponent of a similar form of hate speech - slut shaming - but I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to vocalize sex negative opinions. I'm merely saying that I think people who do are misguided and insensitive. I may suggest they change their tune (because that's pretty much the whole point of debate), but you don't see me advocating for passing new laws to restrict that kind of speech. It's an important distinction.

In the end, the more exceptions we carve out from the carcass of free speech, the more legitimate the act of carving out exceptions appears to be. And the more exceptions there are, the greater the chilling effect that occurs, and the fewer daring thoughts that fewer daring rebels are willing to express. (Consider the vague and odious - yet nearly ubiquitous - restriction against the "sexualization of minors". It would seem that authorities want to restrict you from even suggesting the possibility that a 17 year old could be sexy, and that's not just ridiculous, it's terrifying! Like, fascist regime terrifying). This is dangerous, because it's exactly what free speech protections were designed to prevent. If you want to harass someone - for any reason, whether it's because of their body or their race or their sex or what have you - then I support you being punished for it. But making any of those subjects taboo means we can't even talk about these issues in anything but black or white terms. And that's completely in opposition to truth and reality. I believe in being free to talk about things as they are, even if sometimes the truth hurts people's feelings. You know, that's kind of a characteristic of truth - and I value truth more than I value people's feelings. That doesn't make me insensitive, because I'm actually a highly sensitive person, it just means I have priorities.

Getting back to the xkcd comic I linked. What's being described in that comic - being shown the door - is what I envision as being a reaction to harassment. Also, I agree with the part about the First Amendment not shielding you from criticism or consequences. But none of this is an excuse for making any topics taboo, which is exactly what these arguments are frequently used for. Also, there's this sticking point about state versus private censorship. Free speech detractors just love to harp on this point - if it's not the government, then it's not an infringement on your free speech. Like as if the government has a monopoly over censorship. The fact that free speech appears in the Constitution means that the government's not allowed to make laws promoting censorship (not that it's ever stopped them). But that doesn't mean that private companies can't have a commitment to free speech, nor that private citizens can't have the belief that a commitment to free speech entails private as well as public forums.

Now, this gets particularly muddy when we talk about semi-public forums - like popular internet forums (also, when private corporations become nearly as powerful as the state, but that's another discussion). If you own some obscure backweb discussion group - e.g., eating disorder haters united - then sure, you can practice a regime of censorship and silence anyone who speaks out in support of eating disorders (the law certainly doesn't prevent you from doing that). But when we're talking about massive, major public forums, like reddit, or tumblr, or YouTube, or what have you, then I think the fact that you're privately owned doesn't exclude you from having certain responsibilities to the public. And I guess we have different ideas of what those responsibilities are - I believe they include a defense of free speech, but the people in charge of these forums seem to have latched on to the progressive idea that sanitizing the public forum so as to avoid offending anybody is a greater priority.

Now, at the end of the day, they may have every right to make that decision themselves - and I will go on exercising my free speech right to criticize them - but the one thing that really sticks in my craw is how frequently these places pay lip service by including in their principles a support of free speech. You cannot support free speech by imposing a regime of censorship. If you don't believe in free speech - that's your right. But please, own up to that belief, and stop going around pretending otherwise. Because the result is just more and more confused people who don't understand what free speech is really about, and who start making a bunch of arguments like the one in that comic, and like the ones that are all over reddit right now.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Second Thoughts on Vice

I stand by what I said in my last post - I don't think the state has any business policing vice. But I was thinking about it, and I realized that I may be giving off the wrong impression. I don't live a life filled with vice - aside from the fact that there are naked pictures of me on the internet, otherwise I'm pretty much a real straight shooter. I don't ingest any illegal substances, I don't solicit prostitutes...I don't even indulge in the legal vices - I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't gamble, I don't even play the lottery. At the risk of sounding like an insensitive prick - and, as a disclaimer, I know decent people who indulge in many of those vices, so it's not as if there aren't exceptions - I think those activities are for the weak-willed and the weak-minded.

Now, I have some pretty liberal views on sex, but I'm not even promiscuous. I'm not a sexual anarchist, I just don't believe in hiding or being ashamed of our bodies or our sexual desires. My approach isn't so much free love as it is sexual innocence - not to be confused with ignorance or inexperience (requisite link). And I want people to know that - that if they get involved with me, whether personally or for business purposes, that's not what they're getting into. I'm not all about vice, I just want to elevate erotic beauty to a level of sophistication. And I don't mean to say that sharing naked pictures, for example, is a vice, but that it's okay, because vice is cool. Rather, I'd prefer to change people's perspective so that sharing naked pictures isn't even viewed as a vice, but a natural part of our social bonding conventions that is not uncommon, and ought to be free from any stigma.

If you ask me, activities like smoking and drinking and gambling - and, yes, even promiscuous sex - are dumb and self-destructive. Just because I think you ought to be comfortable posting naked pictures of yourself on the internet, doesn't mean I'm going to try to entice you into those other vices. The thing is, I don't want the naked pictures thing to be considered a vice in the first place, because frankly, I don't see why it should be. Smoking and drinking destroy your body, and because they're addictive, they should be avoided. Promiscuous sex is forgivable if you're safe and responsible, but it's perfectly possible (and less risky) to have a satisfying sex life while utilizing some discretion. But voyeurism and exhibitionism in the form of photography, or non-contact activities like nudism, is safe and enjoyable - and, if you ask me, wholesome - so long as you don't view the basic fact that human beings are sexual, sensual organisms as itself something to be ashamed of. That way, how you indulge your desires (i.e., whether responsibly or not) determines your moral value, and not the simple fact of having them.

I want people to view me as an example of a good role model. The fact that I embrace the sexual side of my existence is merely a demonstration that I accept myself wholly (instead of living in shame and repression - how is that a good example of living?), and the way that I do it is intended to demonstrate how that part of you can be a source of pride and pleasure. That's why I've always stood behind what I do, and took it seriously - instead of blurring my face out and tacitly acknowledging that I'm ashamed of what I'm doing (I'm not). At the same time, it keeps me from doing anything stupid, because I refuse to do anything that I don't have a convincing justification for. That's why you'll never see me hang my head and apologize just because the wrong person found out what I was doing. I hope that's something that people get from me through my photography and my writing. At the risk of sounding like a lunatic (though it probably won't be the first time), we have a long way to go yet before this kind of lifestyle is free from stigma, but it is my goal to serve the role of a sort of wholesome, family-friendly sex icon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Separation of Vice & Crime

"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." - Matthew 22:21

Now, I'm not religious - in fact, I'm a pretty passionate atheist - but I was raised Christian, and there are a lot of Christians in a lot of positions of power in this country, and it helps to know your enemy. Intriguingly, this oft-ignored passage is evidence that no less than Jesus Christ himself was a proponent of the separation of church and state. (But no less than the Mahatma Ghandi has pointed out the difference between Jesus Christ and modern Christians - here, also, is an excellent comic on that same subject).

Another way I like to interpret this passage is as a criticism of the common trend in America towards legislating morality. If you engage in immoral acts, that's something you should have to take up with your God. The state has no business punishing you for it. So when, for example, you rape, murder, or steal from someone, you are infringing on another person's basic rights, and that's where the police and the justice system should step in. But if you choose to watch porn, hire a prostitute, smoke dope, or anything like that, where the only "crime" is against the purity of your immortal "soul", then that's between you and God or your pastor. None of that stuff belongs on the law books.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I Know What You Did With My Photo Last Night

And I don't mind.

I am an erotic artist. You could also call me a pornographer - you wouldn't be wrong; I just don't like to define myself by the pornography I produce, because it's simply not my central focus. It's something I occasionally do on the side, for fun. But erotic art is my passion. Even so, I am not naive about the ways that my audience (at least the part that appreciates what I do) is bound to respond to my work. That's kind of partly the point. A proper appreciation of my work encompasses more than merely a sexual response, but I do not disparage the part that includes that sexual response.

In my time on photo-sharing sites, seeking out other model photographers, I've come across a certain subsection of self-portrait photographers like myself - frequently, for some reason or another, teenage girls, often with quite a bit of talent. Their approach to their work (which does not always include nude or erotic portraits), and their perspective on the accepted range of responses to their work, varies. Many of them, denying their fundamental nature as socio-sexual organisms, do not like the idea of people viewing images of them in a sexual light. Very few, in my experience, are as open as I am (here is a recent, refreshing example).

Some of them occupy a middle ground, however, where they accept the reality of people having a sexual reaction to their work, but simply draw the line at these people communicating their reaction. A sort of "out of sight, out of mind" approach. "You can think it, you can do it, but just don't tell me about it, 'cause I don't wanna know." My own personal approach is informed by the sense of being shamed for being attracted to those who I am attracted to - which has inspired the reactionary attitude that is encapsulated in the ethos of this blog; that is, being truthful about where you find beauty in the world. As a result, I want no part in the machinery of making anyone else feel ashamed for the sexual response they have when (at the very least) privately observing images of the bodies of others.

At first, it was awkward for me, being the subject of sexual comments from anonymous strangers - almost exclusively from people I have no attraction to. (I didn't realize at the time how true it is that men are far more predominantly the consumers of visual sexual material than women, regardless of whether that material features men or women). I've pretty much gotten used to it by now, although depending on the level of explicitness, it may sometimes make me feel a little uncomfortable. But I still don't disparage my fans for that. And the easiest way for me to do that is simply to turn the situation around. I hate the inequality between the sexes as much as anyone, but I'm not sure to what extent women can ever understand what the male condition is like (in terms of sex).

But I can. Whatever my gender might be, and even if I have a low sex drive, I know what male sexual desire feels like. And I know how insistent it can be, and how fantastic it feels to indulge it. I would probably never actually make the sorts of explicit comments I'm talking about, mainly because I know that most women wouldn't appreciate them, and I don't want to make them uncomfortable (and if there are a few who like that sort of thing - which I have encountered - I don't really feel free to jeopardize my reputation in front of a global audience that might be judging me on my overall treatment of women). But when I get a comment like that, all I have to do is imagine that it's me reacting to some internet model that I think is insanely attractive.

And even if, in that case, the model wouldn't be nearly as accepting, I know where that feeling is coming from, I know how powerful and yet harmless it is (by itself), and I would be a hypocrite to criticize it. It's true that you don't necessarily need to vocalize those kinds of things, but I know what it can mean to do so, and especially when the one you are vocalizing it to acknowledges it. So while I'm not going to go out on a limb and feign interest where it's not forthcoming, I will permit such comments to be made, all in the name of being open and supportive of the myriad wondrous ways that human sexuality manifests itself.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Pornographer's Stigma

I find it so incredible that something can be considered so vulgar and disgusting and shameful, and yet give people (not necessarily the same people, but in some cases it is) such pleasure that they actively seek it out.

I'm very liberated, and I'm pretty desensitized to materials of a sexually explicit nature, but I'm not completely alien to the basic foundation of mainstream thought. I think sexually explicit materials can be very appealing, but at the same time, they do probably have a time and a place. Aesthetic beauty is a completely different matter, but I usually have to be in the right mood to appreciate the really vulgar stuff, and even then, my tastes are very particular - so the same kind of behavior engaged in by different people can mean the difference between what I find attractive and what I find disgusting.

Yes, it is true that I am an exhibitionist, but I like it when people get enjoyment from looking at me - I have no desire, and derive no pleasure from, exposing myself to people who are bound to react with displeasure and disgust. I don't see any appeal in that. So, on the one hand, I have no problem exposing certain intimate parts of my body and sexual behavior to complete strangers, in a context where they can seek it out if they are interested, but at the same time I'm not asking for permission to masturbate openly at my next family reunion.

What gets me is the way that people will think less of you if you participate in those activities, even if you keep them confined to their appropriate spaces. And I don't mean the bedroom. Everybody uses the bathroom, and that is generally considered a vulgar and disgusting act, but it is a necessity, and there is no shame in engaging in it. We typically keep it behind closed doors because, barring a minority of perverts, there is no pleasure to be derived from sharing that experience with others. Human sexuality is decidedly different, though - and for a majority of the population (however reluctant they may be to admit it).

If posting a video of myself masturbating on the internet draws in people who derive great pleasure from viewing it, then where is the shame in providing that public service? Does it make me a bad person? You don't have to like it. Not everybody has to like it. But the point is that some people do like it, and it's those people - the people who like it - those are the ones I'm doing it for, not you. So why can't you just let that be? Let those people get their pleasure from my act of public service, and if you don't like thinking about it, then just avoid interfering in that part of my life. Why should that impugn my reputation? I'm not even necessarily saying that I think the same way as the people I'm serving - that I'm the same level of pervert, or that I like the same kind of things - I'm just being kind enough to care enough to throw them a bone. And that makes me worse of a human being? I don't get it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Two Sides

I get self-conscious sometimes about the clutter that so frequently litters the backgrounds of my images. Since the beginning, I've maintained that I like pictures that look like they were taken in spaces that occupy the real world, and not abstract studios. And I genuinely do feel that way, but in the back of my mind I worry if that's not just an excuse for me not having more professional habits.

The clutter is distracting at times, and not always aesthetically pleasing, but I don't have the patience to clear out a work space every time I take a picture, considering that this is the home that I inhabit - it's bound to look lived in. I don't really have enough space to set aside an empty corner to use as a photo studio. And besides, the construction of this building is atrocious, and I find that when I do clear the clutter away, the emptiness just emphasizes how crooked the doors and walls and floors and ceilings are, and that's frustrating in a completely different way.

On the other hand, I want to improve my photography, and produce images that are more flawless, so that more people can admire them and recognize me as a serious photographer. To that end, I'd also love to buy some nicer lenses, and maybe some lighting equipment that I could learn to use, but I'm poor, and photography is not a cheap hobby.

I know what they say - and I'll be the first person to agree - that the talent exists in the photographer, and not the equipment he's using. The same is true of musicians. And I think I've taken enough remarkable pictures with the cheap equipment I own to prove that. But I wonder if there isn't a point at which it's like you're filtering your talent through a cheap lens, and it would just be represented that much better if you had a clearer one.

But equipment is only one of many improvements I suppose I could make. Still, it's one that's pretty straightforward. It's times like these that I resent being self-taught. Which is another thing. I feel so disconnected from any kind of photographic (or modeling) community. Communication with fans on photo sharing sites rarely goes beyond the superficial level, and all the other photographers seem like isolated pockets, absorbed in their own work, with no talk of craft - not boring stuff like what gear they have or what filters they use in Photoshop, but things like how do you find your models, what's it like working with them, where do you scout locations, etc.

I imagine it's even worse being a nude/erotic photographer, because everybody just assumes you're a pervert who shoots porn. Without disparaging the human sexual impulse, I want to be taken seriously, to the point that people want to join me and help me and work together with me to create beautiful art - but not people who are simply perverts looking for ways to get around the normal social prohibitions against promiscuity. "Oh, it's art, so it's okay". I mean the people who share a genuine interest in art with me, even if it's of the erotic variety. Maybe another big problem I have is that I live in the middle of nowhere. But it's not a simple matter for me (mainly due to my anxiety) to just pull up my roots and move to New York or L.A., or what have you. As much as I might dream about it...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Trouble In Paradise

I've been waiting to take this photo for over a year. I scouted this location last summer, just days before the parks department came in and razed everything to the ground (I have no idea why they would do such a thing). It didn't grow in fast enough to appear lush again - like the Garden of Eden - by the end of the summer. So I had to wait the winter out. Ever since this spring, I've been keeping my eye on it, waiting for it to grow sufficiently full, all the while worrying that any day the parks department might come in and raze it all to the ground again.

It's also located in a relatively populated area, so finding it empty enough to go about my business was another challenge (though I was not "illegally" exposed at any time during this shoot, I really didn't want to deal with the stress and the distraction of having spectators). As is always the case when shooting outdoors, the lighting and the weather was another factor. I had to go and do the shoot when the right opportunity came up, not necessarily when every condition was perfect. And I couldn't take a lot of time to tweak every little detail, since every minute I spent there was another minute somebody might walk around the corner and spot me.

All that having been said, the opportunity I had worked out pretty well. I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the result, but at least I can say that I did the best I could under the circumstances. And it certainly doesn't look bad. I really wanted to emphasize the dual nature of my gender, with a focus on my more masculine front, and my more feminine back (more or less). And what more famous minimally dressed male/female couple is there than Adam and Eve? And though I'm not religious, I like the symbolism of the Garden of Eden, as a Paradise on Earth, where I like to imagine that people (if they ever make it back there) can live in sexual innocence (not to be confused with ignorance) once more.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Body Appeal (And Other Issues)

Is it narcissistic to photograph yourself instead of other models? Is modeling inherently narcissistic? I didn't believe I was beautiful until other people started telling me so, so it's not like I started out with an inflated sense of my own attractiveness. But over time, I've cultivated my beauty through hard work - via fashion, grooming, and fitness - like anyone whose career depends on their physical appearance might. I take self-portraits because I am introverted, and I have social anxiety, not because I think I'm the most beautiful creature to have ever graced the planet. And if a lot of people think I'm attractive, does it make me a bad person to acknowledge that - even take advantage of it - rather than insisting upon feigning a false sense of modesty? Am I not allowed to take even a reasonable amount of pride in my appearance? No, that's part of the truth about beauty, too.

(And while I understand how easy it is for attractive people to be unaware of their beauty, there's nothing more frustrating to me than a beautiful girl who won't even let you compliment her, because she doesn't believe that she's pretty. I appreciate girls who are confident about their looks, and not afraid to flaunt their assets. There's no greater crime than a beautiful figure being hidden under unflattering clothes).

Why do I photograph beauty? Because it moves me. It moves me and it thrills me. I suppose that when you photograph beautiful bodies, you're contending with a primal urge to copulate. I'm not saying that only a thin line separates the photographer and the model from rapacious intercourse - after all, if it were sex, and not beauty, that I was interested in, I guess I'd be a player or somesuch, instead of a photographer. But no, beauty is something that you see, and feel - but not necessarily touch. Some people might say, "what is the point of looking at beauty if you cannot take it?", but that has not been my experience of life. I see beauty all around me, practically every day, and the vast majority of it remains out of my reach. Yet, if I could just show the world what it is I see, how profound its effect on me is, that alone would be enough to satisfy me.

A lot of my photography is based around the concept of "aesthetic eroticism", which is a phrase I've gotten into the habit of using to describe the particular sort of aesthetic beauty that revolves around the human body, that therefore may involve an erotic component (as opposed to people getting turned on by pictures of beautiful sunsets). But what is eroticism? I find that eroticism is hard to define. It deals with sexual desire, but I don't think that it's as simple as that. It may be instinctively driven by the urge to copulate, but exactly what part, may I ask, of the appreciation of erotic art (not pornography) involves sexual intercourse?

Is there an overlap between sex and the beauty of the (especially unclothed) human body? When we admire Greek statues as skilled representations of the human physique, are we merely admiring the body as an amazing machine, or are we also recognizing its instinctual erotic appeal? I think it would be stunningly naive to suggest that the admiration of physically fit bodies has no erotic component, and yet these statues stand proudly in public museums all across the world, as a testament to the legitimacy of the experience of admiring them.

But like I've said, acknowledging the erotic component is leagues away from engaging in sexual intercourse (either with the statue, or just inspired by it). Certainly, some may react to the appreciation of a piece of art by engaging in sexually explicit activities (whether alone or with company), and that's fine as long as they're not doing it right there in the museum (unless it's a really progressive museum :p). But now we're talking about what people choose to do with the inspiration that art gives them, and not what the art itself involves. There will always be that one weirdo who feels the urge to touch himself when viewing the Mona Lisa, but we should not treat the Mona Lisa as if it were pornographic as a result.

So is it a legitimate practice to admire the human body, even in spite of its erotic component? When I say "legitimate", what I basically mean is that it does not require the special 'content filter' (in whatever form it may come in) that is usually placed over pornographic and sexually explicit material. "Legitimate" practices can be engaged in (or discussed) in 'polite' company, without restricting access (usually to children). Many people in modern society are of the opinion that nude bodies are not legitimate (by this definition), although nudism proves that belief to be arbitrary. And, besides, mainstream culture is infused with a certain baseline eroticism (what critics call the "pornification" of society and the media), even without the exposure of nude bodies.

So is the appreciation of the aesthetic eroticism of the human body a "legitimate" activity or not? And what about non-traditional bodies? If we acknowledge that the aesthetic appreciation of the human body may carry an erotic element, then is that necessarily true for any body? And should we restrict the kinds of bodies we can display as a result? If some people think it's distasteful to view older bodies with an erotic interest, does that mean we shouldn't depict those bodies out of deference to that view? Also, is there no legitimate reason to study or admire the bodies of children, therefore, on account of the possibility that somebody may exploit that opportunity for questionable reasons? (I happen to think the process of adolescence is nothing short of fascinating, and one of the ultimate secrets of the universe, but I am often made to feel like a criminal for having that view).

Even what eroticism may permeate our experiences as sexual creatures is not the same thing as sexual intercourse (however pervasive that activity may be). If there is an intrinsically erotic element to the unclothed human body, nudists once again prove that its expression in overtly sexual ways is not necessarily inevitable. Should we, then, treat it the same way? I ask these questions - and I'm concerned with their answers - because I do feel as though I am being "lumped in with the pornographers". And while some of my art is undoubtedly pornographic, most of it is not, and I put in a lot of effort above and beyond what any pornographer is willing to contribute to create beautiful works of art - that just happen to focus on the potentially erotic subject of the unclothed human body - and I feel like I deserve to be recognized for that.

I don't want to be seen just as a pornographer, but as a talented artist with an eye for beauty. And I want people to recognize that erotic beauty is not the same thing as sexual indulgence. It is purer, and prettier, and gentler, and altogether more moving on everything but a pure physical level. I want people to respect it as such, and I want people to trust me to apply my photographer's eye to other human subjects, confident that I will be able to find and bring out that same beauty I've found in myself, in others.

I feel like I'm stuck in a world where (almost) the entire population either cannot recognize beauty, or misinterprets it for sexuality. Never in my life have I denied the erotic element inherent in the beauty of people's bodies, but it just seems like so many people see the eroticism and stop there. I don't feel like I'm being taken seriously as a photographer of beauty - I'm just being taken advantage of by people who think I'm hot. And as long as the vast majority of people who respond to my work do so primarily on account of its erotic - and not aesthetic - appeal, I will be lumped into that category, and the people who may be able to appreciate my aesthetic eye, but don't care much for the erotic element, are going to look me over.

So far, I haven't cared much to appease the more prudish elements of society, but enough time has passed that I am beginning to crave wider recognition, and the sorts of opportunities that are not usually handed out to pornographers. I'm caught in a bit of a bind, because I don't in any way want to become conventional or mainstream - I think a large part of the value of my work comes from my unique and unyielding perspective. And nothing inspires me and inflames my passion more than taking pictures of beautiful bodies. But at the same time, I want to be taken seriously by people who maybe aren't ready to hear everything I have to say about the philosophy of art and human sexuality. And so I'm not really sure what to do...