July 01, 2010

Dancing naked in the lupines

Lupine dance

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.

Dancing amongst the lupines

(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.)

25 comments:

Leslie F. Miller said...

I just love you. I often envy your fullest living of the writing life. Keep on.

jo(e) said...

You know that sooner or later, I'm going to come take your photo, Leslie.

Sandy said...

Wow. Beautiful woman, beautiful flowers, beautiful shot.

LilySea said...

It doesn't hurt that she's--GORGEOUS!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I'd like to see how you'd photograph a nude male among the lupine. (Ha!)

holly said...

Gorgeous.

heidi said...

Your blog isn't letting me leave a comment. This is my third try.

This might be the best of your naked photos series. I just love the movement, the light, and the lupines.

Oh, and I agree that your friend is beautiful.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I also love this. And you are one of the two people I'd let photograph me naked.

jo(e) said...

Jennifer: I just need a male to volunteer. We could pose him tastefully amongst the flowers.

ADM: I"ll take that as a compliment. And sooner or later, we'll have to meet up so I could take a photo.

Moria said...

I haven't commented here in a long time, but I just have to say, I love the naked photo tradition.

My partner and I have a theory: if women spent significant time naked with other women, our culture's complete insanity about standards for 'beauty' would all but disappear. A huge part of our problem is that most women actually have no idea what other women's bodies look like under their clothes. Result? Shame and fear and more hiding. I love your stories and your photos for that reason – how much you validate bodies and embodiment in this space. Hurrah for you, jo(e), hurrah.

Anonymous said...

STunning.

(Blogger won't let me comment under my real name. I think something is going on with Blogger today.)

Amber S said...

I recently bought and wore my first bikini, in time for my 32nd birthday. My body is not as fit as it was when I was a teenager (at that time I had no idea that I looked good), but I'm so much more comfortable and fond of my body now.

I'm striving towards being more fit. I think I will add "posing naked for jo(e)" to my list of motivations :-)

If I ever make it out your way or if you are in the Two Cities on a River in the Midwest, we shall connect.

Amber S said...

In case it didn't come across in my previous comment, I love the pictures.

I love this project. It has played no small part in my increasing appreciation and awareness of my body.

Thanks, jo(e)!

jo(e) said...

Moira: I agree with your theory. We are so inundated with advertising images of women who represent some arbitrary standard of beauty that many of us never see what normal women look like -- and don't appreciate how beautiful all women are.

Anonymous: Yeah, I've gotten several emails from people who are having trouble with blogger today. I hate when it won't let people leave comments. Argh.

Amber S: I'd love to take your photo some day! I love that you are getting more comfortable with your body as you get older.

Rana said...

Beautiful.

RageyOne said...

very nice. i think this is a great tradition and it is very cool that your friends comply!

Krishnan said...

Great photo. But a nude male will really look good too. Lets see some of your male nude photos soon. :)

Great woman and great photo.

YourFireAnt said...

Really nice photo, Jo(e). Now, are you ready for some potato salad?

;-)

T.

p.s. Maybe it's not blogger that's to blame for the comment snafu; maybe it's the word naked. ;-)

jo(e) said...

Oh, that could be. Maybe blogger has been fighting off all the spam that the word naked tends to attract.

Yeah, when am I getting that potato salad?

rented life said...

Your photos are always lovely (naked or otherwise). And honestly, the first think I noticed was the woman's hair-beautiful!

Nadine said...

This may be my favorite naked photo yet. Love the lupines and the "here I am!" feeling I get from how she is holding her arms and fingers.

nonlineargirl said...

That is lovely. I think I might want to be naked more if I could dance in the lupines.

Kyla said...

This reminded me of a book that I read as a child, Miss Rumphius...only with nudity. ;)

Digger said...

All your photos are gorgeous, but I love this series.

Silver Creek Mom said...

You insprie me! Keep on doing that.
Thank you.