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.
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.