Distinguished members of the board, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:
And I don’t mean just on the Internet. I mean there aren’t enough non-sexual nude images out there in the greater world: in textbooks, in galleries, on TV, on Facebook, in general-interest magazines, on posters, at hospitals.
Why aren’t there enough images? Because too many mechanisms exist to constrain us from taking them and distributing them. Too many forms of censorship, of which self-censorship is often the strongest.
Fact is, nude photography should be taught more often in schools. Why stop there? We need more nude schools, which would mean that having to specify “nude” photography would be redundant, just like the “nude” in nude geography, nude math, nude Chinese, nude literature, and for-crying-out-loud nude health and nude phys. ed. and nude art would be redundant. Not just schools and universities, but so many other places–parks, churches, malls, offices, clinics–should be nude or at least nude-friendly.
Horrors! But wouldn’t that be like giving too much power to nudity? Yep! The healthy, life-affirming, pervasive power that it’s supposed to have–that humanity needs it to have–and not the sinful bogey-man cameo it’s always cast by religion and government. SO MUCH would change for the better if we gave nudity more of this everyday power.
Too many of us live wrapped up in our customs/costumes when we need to be open to the common gifts of humanity. Too many of us live wrapped up like entourage mummies in someone else’s idea of heaven. Too many of us live and die without the fun of nude photos of ourselves doing regular, everyday things.
Honorable members of the committee, it’s time to change that. We need to ENCOURAGE people to take their own nude photographs or videos, the way we encourage people to vote, to donate to charity, to get an annual medical exam, to get some exercise, to eat healthy food. The way we encourage people to have a good day, doing everyday things in the nude: activities like cooking, walking down the street, playing ball, enjoying a moment in the sun, sharing a moment with friends and family. (OK, it’s great if sex is a regular everyday thing, but I’m not talking about nude sexual photos, which are already overabundant for distribution.)
Nude photography provides a kind of knowledge about humanity sorely lacking in our society: knowledge about human variety and commonality, human vulnerability and strength. Not photoshopped nude photography–which is all too abundant and gets fetishized and elevated to billboards and to the tops of the magazine racks–but untouched, natural nude photography, when consenting, and willing to share openly. This kind of imagery, whether produced by the highly-skilled or the barely-skilled, can be just as creative as an expensive ad campaign, as fresh as the images below.
Self-knowledge and self-affirmation and body acceptance. For you, for me, for everybody – all ages and colors and genders and sizes.
You know what? It is said that ignorance is bliss, but I say that being naked outdoors–in the city or in the countryside, alone or with others–can be heaven. And sometimes we need help visualizing ourselves, visualizing just what heaven can be.
6 thoughts on “What Heaven Can Be”
Oh if ONLY!
This is a great post, Will. The Bare Platypus completely agrees that we very much need much, much, more of the everyday natural nudity in photos that you're talking about here. Your idea that nude photography should be taught more regularly is a great one too. Ironically, the Bare Platypus blog has no nude pictures on our site… but it is NOT because we are against nude photography! It's for the kinds of reasons you cite in this piece. There are not ENOUGH regular photos of everyday people out there doing everyday things from ALL walks of life, in all shapes, sizes,race, disability, and age such that we could depict nudism as it REALLY is and should be, rather than cheesecake or sexual. We also didn't want to be taking others' work or putting up images of others who may not want to be on the Net.Encouraging others to be natural about taking their OWN photos of themselves and family and using those more widely is a great idea.
Thanks for your comments! Yes, I wish I had a talented illustrator on staff like at The Bare Platypus! But in general my practice on this blog is that I only post photos for which I have permission, or which I credit in the post. There have been just a few exceptions so far: a few uncredited photos culled from galleries, such as the first one on this post, or the one accompanying \”Need a Swimsuit?\” (Photographers, subjects: let me know if something needs to be removed.)So until we get to a more diverse and abundant range of images, closer to an ideal, then yes, the idea is to encourage ourselves to document and share, and not just on Internet. Nakation photos left discreetly around the house are a great place to start! Or having a nude Sunday brunch and documenting it in imagery…etc.
Update: This post can be read in French in the excellent translation by Cor van de Sande at naturistesduquebec.com. The site requires membership, but it is free of charge, and a simple log-on is all that is required. After logging on go to Salon de lecture, \”Au sujet des photos naturistes.\” Merci beaucoup, Cor!
If I may, I would like to make a slight correction to Will's comment…Most of the forum is accessible to guests without a log-in being required. A log-in is required only should you wish to comment on a post or should you wish to read any of the 15+ 'naturist' oriented short stories and novels that are posted in the Reading Room (called Salon de Lecture).As for the translation to Will's article, here is the link that will bring you right to it…http://www.naturistesduquebec.com/t2524p15-reactions-aux-images-naturistes-du-jour#25328And thank YOU, Will, it is a privilege.
Thanks for the direct link, Cor! A very nice introduction on that page as well!I've added Naturistes du Québec to the list of general naturist sites in the right-hand column.