Monday, March 2, 2009

Amateur Nude

Back when I had internet access – Hell, even when I still had occasional download privileges through my sister’s internet access – I would occasionally snag batches of nude photos off of the bittorrent peer-to-peer network. Folders full of .gifs and .jpgs with titles like ‘RealWives&Girlfriends’, ‘Digital Hotties’, ‘Amateur Porn Shots’, and ‘Nude GFs’.

[Those were the good old days. Now my sole internet access involves me going to the library of a Catholic seminary just up the hill from where I live. A place where the computers have serious content filters.]

I’ve got a digital camera. (A collaborative birthday gift from my brother, my sister, my sister’s fiancé (then boyfriend) and my pal Zorch from several years ago.) This gives me everything I need to start taking nude photographs of my own . . . except for the models. (And, of course, any sort of talent with a camera.)

Have camera. Need models. Hmm. Have camera and a blog, need models. To paraphrase the immortal (and fictional) Spider Jerusalem, “I feel a post coming on.”

The Original Nude Model Scheme

I’ve wanted a nude model since before I had any visual aspirations for one. Way back in the day, Casper (not his real name) and I would sometimes muse about saving up and pooling our money to hire someone to pose nude for us. (In the original plan it was Rocket Girl (not her real name), whom we not only thought might have the proper personality to actually do such a thing, but who we also both wanted to see naked. Go figure.)

Casper is an artist, and therefore had a classic (and therefore legitimate) reason to want a nude model. He wanted to draw her. (He’d actually already modeled a character after her for a comic book project he was thinking about doing.) Me, on the other hand, . . . my reasons were far less traditional. Yet I didn’t see that making them any less valid. I had no talent with visual arts. But as a writer, I wanted to describe her.

Had this little scenario actually happened, Rocket Girl would have been the first woman I’d’ve seen naked. My first opportunity to actually see what it is that a writer is supposed to describe when he describes a naked woman.

I’m not sure why Casper and I never pursued this idea more than we did. It probably had something to do with trying to save money at a time in our lives when bands we liked were putting out CDs for us to purchase, and similar financial follies of youth.

Amateur Nude Photography

Now I want women to pose naked for me so that I can photograph them. Unlike the original plan for enticing Rocket Girl, there’s no small wad of folding green to exchange hands for the privilege. (In fact, any day now I’m going to have to stop breathing because I can’t afford to pay my air bill.)

As the subheading indicates, this would be amateur nude photography, as opposed to regular nude photography. The difference in my mind being my lack of photographic skills.

I look at the viewscreen on my camera, try and make sure that what I’m making this effort to take a picture of is actually visible in the frame, and then push the button. That’s the height of my photographic expertise.

Things like lighting, composition, uh— other things in the same category as lighting and compositison . . . I have simply no clue. Right now, it’s just point and shoot and hope that a half-way decent photo is the result.

Several weeks ago on PostSecret, I saw a submission that was one of the most profound pieces of wisdom I’ve ever encountered. This poor soul’s secret was: “I would do anything to be able to draw, except practice drawing.”

That so perfectly summarizes my relationship to so many of my lacking skill sets it isn’t even funny. Including, I suppose, photography. My determination to become a (semi-) competent photographer is through a trial-and-error process. I’m more willing to have my early photos suck than I am to shoot extra photos just for practice. Just to learn the craft.

Of course, this almost HAS to be the case for my nude photography experiments. It’s not like I’ve got women lining up and striping down to be models, let alone ‘just for practice’ models.

Amateur Nude Models

The end result of a nude woman having her picture taken by an amateur photographer is amateur nude photography. So how much more authentically ‘amateur’ would the photo be if the people were unskilled or nonprofessionals on both sides of the camera?

I like real people. Normal, everyday, you can see them walking down the street type people. Now, I’m not saying that professional models aren’t ‘real people’. They’re obviously real. But in terms of their profession, they’re usually heavily made-up, incredibly well-lit, and then to top it all off, air-brushed. (If not Photoshopped.)

I can’t think of the last time that I bought a porn magazine that wasn’t specific to the foot fetish. Because the normal adult magazines? The Penthouse that was the sexual bible of my youth? It has become replaced. I get my dirty stories from Literotica.com, and I get my nude pictures from amateur picture packs downloaded off of bittorrent. (Or at least I did. If I don’t get an uncensored internet connection soon, I might actually go out and buy a damn Penthouse.)

Now, I’m not saying that I’d ever turn down a professional nude model if they wanted to let me grab some static images of their naked form with my little digital camera. I’m just saying that I’m more than happy creating amateur nude photos where ‘amateur’ is a fully balanced equation.

Motives

Why do I want nude photos? Heh. Why does any mentally oversexed but physically UN-sexed pervert want nude photos?

Seriously, though . . . I do have reasons that I consider to be more legitimate than just having some nice images on the computer to drool over.

I’d like to produce some art. That’s right. Art. The kind of stuff that a trendy person frames and hangs on their wall. I’ve got artistic photo-essay type layouts in my head that require a nude model for me to realize.

Just like the core reasons behind the abandoned Rocket Girl project, I’d like to take some reference photos, to increase my understanding of the female form. Especially since I’ve entered Literotica.com’s ‘Literotica Survivor’ contest this year, and will need to crank out countless works of erotic/pornographic fiction in order to not embarrass myself come the final tally of points.

Lets see . . . art, reference, photos to jack off to, what else? Material for the blog, possibly, if I can find some exhibitionists willing to allow me to post their photos on-line. Otherwise, just more photos for The Private Collection.

The Private Collection

During one of the ‘on-again’ stages of the ‘on-again/off-again’ period of my relationship with CJ, she got a webcam which she used primarily as a means of taking digital photos.

Some of those photos were of herself. And in some of them, she neglected to wear any clothing. On very, very rare occasions, instead of wearing clothing, she would insert a sex toy into one of her body cavities before snapping the picture. I gotta tell you, there were days when I found some very interesting/arousing attachments in my email.

Over the course of several months, I received a total of 20 photos of CJ. She sent the first one only after asking for (and receiving) assurance that these photos would remain in my private collection, and wouldn’t be distributed in any way, shape, or form – and certainly not on the internet.

For years, these photos (with the addition last year of a topless photo of the ex-girlfriend of a friend of mine) have compromised the entirety of The Private Collection. 21 photos, not a one of which I took myself.

As I’ve said, I’d like to photograph some willing exhibitionists, who would let me post their photos in the blog, or on a Flickr account as part of a photo-essay or themed work. (Does Flickr allow nudes? If not, then whichever photo hosting site does.)

But at this early stage, my desire to start taking nude photos is greater than my desire to be able to use nude photos in my work. So I have no problems with simply bulking up The Private Collection with my own work. Not to be shown around to everyone I know, never to be distributed, online or otherwise. Just for me.

Half Nekkid Thursday

I really would like to occasionally participate in HNT, thought. Half-Nekkid Thursday. The day of the week when a lot of sex bloggers post partly nekkid photos (either of themselves, or that they’ve taken) on their blogs.

Although . . . now that I think about it . . . my camera does have a 12 second timer. Which would give me time to put an area in the viewscreen range, click the timer, and then run my half-naked body around to the other side just in time to be immortalized as a digital image.

But then, my goal is to increase my readership – not make the few readers I have now sick. Partially nude 450 lb man? Probably not the original point of HNT.

KinkFest

I’m bringing my digital camera with me to KinkFest at the end of March. Sure, cameras aren’t allowed in the workshops, the vendor’s area, or the dungeon. But I should be able to keep one in my hotel room, right?

There are several people in FetLife’s KinkFest group that I’d really love the opportunity to photograph. I’m planning to make contact with some of these people between now and the event, and get their thoughts about coming to my hotel room (or letting me into theirs) for a photo session.

(KinkFest is once again being built up in my mind as this grand island of potential in my otherwise limited and shut-in existence.)

There are certain people I really want to photograph for various specific projects. (Not all of them even nude – although if they’re willing . . . ) Several redheads. A couple of girls named Stephanie. (‘Girls named Stephanie’ is a common fetish, right? Sure it is.) A handful of others for various physical features or seeming personality quirks.

I’m actually tempted to go through the list of everyone who’s clicked the ‘Yes, I’m Attending’ box on the FetLife’s KinkFest Event Page, then check the profile of all the women, looking for the ones whose fetish lists include ‘erotic photography’ and ‘exhibitionism’. Then send a private message to ALL of those people that include a link to this blog entry.

The Current Working Projects

So. Since I can never seem to do anything simply . . . these are the SEVEN categories (yikes) of ‘project’ that my initial work all wants to be divided into.

The first one isn’t even a nude pornography project, but since I’m seeking out sexy redheads to photograph anyway . . . My pal Zorch has this theory about redheads (which I’ll elaborate on more in my eventual post about redheads) that made me decide it needs photographic evidence. Basically, what I’m after is headshots of redheads with and without their red hair. No, I’m not asking them to shave or dye between photos. It would be ideal if I owned a set of non-red women’s wigs, but since I don’t, I’m going to see what I can find in the way of inexpensive (opaque) shower caps.

Me being me, the second project is the requisite foot fetish project. The photographs could be as simple as a woman’s bare feet. Although I have many non-simple photo poses in mind as well. (Especially if she’s flexible.)

Moving further into the fully nude stuff, I want to shoot a series on tattoos. Close-ups of the artwork, longshots illustrating placement on the body. (I also want to hear the stories behind the tats.) Photos of women wearing nothing but tattoo ink.

The next project is something that I really, really want to do, and I don’t fully understand why. I don’t have a fetish for it. It doesn’t turn me on (although, it doesn’t seem to turn me off, either). I can trace the origin of my interest in pursuing an erotic photo essay of this material to a conversation I had a long time ago. But I honestly couldn’t explain why it feels as important to me as it does. I want to photograph surgical scars.

That’s it. Nude photos of women with surgical scars. Photos of the women. Photos of the scars. There’s art in that. Serious art. I can feel it in my bones. I’m just not exactly sure what I’m ‘meant’ to do with it.

Next up – as a writer (specifically a burgeoning erotica/porn writer) I want to put together a photographic reference to the female anatomy. Not, ‘this is what a woman looks like’, but ‘this is what a woman you’ve gotten to look closely at looked like, remember?’ Everything from encyclopedia-photo quality nudes, to poses, to gynecological shots. Since I don’t have a woman willing to let me explore her physically, I’d really like as ‘next best thing’ as I can get.

Continuing with the writing theme, I’d like to start taking other photos (nude and otherwise) for erotic story reference. Not for the purposes of understanding the feminine geography, but for both character inspiration and models to aid in description of particular physical types.

The final project is more of a ‘catch all’ than a specific category. The description of the photos in the final category is ‘whatever the models would let me get away with’. Would I be happy to take photos of a woman who was naked from the waist up, pushing her breasts towards the camera? Yes. Would I be happier if she were completely naked and spreading her legs for the lens? Yes.

But knowing that I’d be happier photographing her vagina doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten that I’d still be happy just photographing her breasts. I want nude models, and I’ll take what I can get – and be thankful for it. I’ll be grateful for anyone who agrees to pose for me.

That having been said, I want as much as I can get. Full nude, multiple poses, rolling around on a bed? Great. In bondage gear? Even better! In fact, exhibiting all manner of BDSM behavior and accoutrements? Yes, please! Letting me write on her naked body with washable markers before the next photo? Wonderful. Penetrating herself with a banana? Let’s just hope I got the picture taken before I collapsed, overwhelmed with fetishistic joy.

So, anyway, that’s where I want to start. Volunteer nudes. Seven categories. Learning this stuff by trial and error. And hopefully, starting out by snapping pictures in a hotel room at KinkFest.

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