July 01, 2010
Dancing naked in the lupines
Usually when I’m taking naked photos of women, we’re in a hotel room, with little to work with except whatever natural light comes through the window. It’s the sterile conference hotel environment, actually, that has encouraged me to continue the naked photo tradition: for just a few minutes, we step out of the realm of abstract ideas and windowless conference rooms, and we talk about the body, tell the stories of our bodies. It's the stories, and not the photos, that I'm mostly interested in.
On this retreat with eight of my conference friends, there was really no need to for me to take naked photos. Instead of an urban hotel, we were gathered at a remote location in the mountains. We talked while we were chopping onions and basil, while eating fresh strawberries soaked in balsamic vinegar and sugar, while brushing each other’s hair, while walking along mountain trails, or while soaking naked in an outdoor hot tub. In this intimate atmosphere, we told our stories — choices we’d made about our bodies and about our connections to the places we loved.
But still, I told them all, I felt obligated to take some naked photos anyhow. My readers expected it. And besides, it was a tradition. I am a great respecter of tradition. This remote location seemed a great place for some outdoor naked shots.
“Who wants to dance naked amongst the lupine?” I asked. I’d already taken dozens of pictures of the gorgeous purple flowers that grew on these mountains.
“I’ll do it,” said Lilting Voice, stripping off her shorts and shirt. She’d spent her childhood summers in this spot, and her tour of her family’s land had included all kinds of stories about her extended family. She’d had a lifetime of dancing amongst the purple flowers that I’d been admiring all weekend. She’d taught us earlier how to recognize and avoid the stinging nettle – and which fern we could rub on our skin if we did get stung.
So that’s where I took her photo: dancing in the morning sun amongst the purple lupine in the meadow, swaying back and forth above the elk prints in the mud.
(Readers who want to know the history of the naked photo tradition can check it out here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.)
Posted by jo(e)