Thursday, April 16, 2015

Previously unseen photos

I dreamed last night that I found a bunch of photos I’d forgotten about and hadn’t posted anywhere. I’ve had this dream before. While I’m having the dream, it’s sort of exciting: cool photos of mine that people haven’t seen before! But when I wake up, I do not like the dream. 

Here in real life, there are photos that I haven’t ever posted anywhere. Some are just not as good as those I did post, or I didn’t want to post 50 photos from the same shoot. Others I think are actually quite good, but the model the model didn’t want me to post them. And whenever THAT has happened, it made me really mad. It still does. I currently have cheap prints (from my printer) of a couple of such photos hanging on my wall, but visitors here are quite rare. 

In the past few years I’ve had a very hard time letting go of my anger at people who’ve disappointed me (like models who’ve said after a 2-hour shoot and quite a few hours of editing by me that they don’t want me to post their photos). Actually, “been unable to let go” is probably more accurate. 

I like taking pictures, but this whole area of artistic exploration has cost me. It's certainly cost me a ton of "facebook friends" but also some real-life friends, of which I’ve never had many. It's definitely cost me some work as a musician, which is ridiculous. I mean, it’s an unrelated field, yet people don’t want to hire me because they think what – I’ll show up naked at a rehearsal? That’s not going to happen. 

Anyway, I’ve probably lost more work than I know, but there are at least two people I know for sure refused to hire me because of my photography. (See "So, what happened to Mississippi?" & "So, what happened with City Arts?" ) In one case it was someone for whom I didn’t care much nor have much respect. But the other was a guy that most of the people I know locally loved and respected. That guy recently died, and it seems everybody was eulogizing him. Meanwhile, I was still pissed off at him, though I didn’t say anything at the time (I’m not completely insensitive), and I think that just pushed me further away from all those formerly friendly acquaintances. 

Well, this has gotten bitter. I am bitter. I think I never entirely fit in the world before, as a composer and writer. But most of the time it seems that my photography – principally my choice of subject matter – has pretty well pushed me right out of it. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

On “#freethenipple”

Instead of just talking to myself this morning, in response to a facebook post I was seeing (Challenge the Way We Sexualize Women's Breasts), I wrote this stuff down. Someone was asking about the agenda behind “freeing the nipple” and how it relates to rape culture, etc. 
Not sure how clear my logic is, but... here it is. 

On “#freethenipple” 

Acceptance of a part of the body, the nipple, is a move toward acceptance of the body in general. We in this culture have a horrible problem with our bodies. There’s still a very strong theme of “our bodies are bad and shameful” running through our culture. It’s very clearly connected to another concept – that sex is bad shameful and needs to be hidden. 

These things are whispered in our ears from infancy, when we can’t even understand the words yet, and they become so ingrained in us, that we don’t even see them. They’re simply threads in the tapestry of what we think it is to be a human and a society. When sex is bad and shameful and the body is bad and shameful it leads people to have very unhealthy relationships with their own bodies, and trouble dealing with other people’s bodies. 

Now, add to that another basic problem of our culture – inequality of women. There’s a strong tradition of women not being considered full participants in human society, of in public society. Men are political leaders, men run businesses, men create art. Women are off on the sidelines or in the background. When you mix in the “sex is bad and so are our bodies” it creates a situation in which women are seen not as people but as objects to be viewed &/or possessed. That’s sexual objectification. 

It’s easy to see in a culture that forces women to hide away, or to completely cover up their bodies in public and not interact with men. But it’s still pretty easy to see, if you’re looking, right here in our country. Men are largely judged on their action and achievements and the content of their character, while women are still largely judged on how hot they are. And while we are still saying that naked bodies are bad and shouldn’t be seen in public, we’ve become mildly addicted to highly sexualized naked or almost naked bodies – chiefly women’s bodies – in movies and TV, advertising, and (of course) pornography. 

If men are humans and women are sexual objects, and sex is bad and shameful and shouldn’t be discussed or even dealt with in an open and reasonable way, you get... rape culture. So, a move toward acceptance of the body is a move against rape culture.