Yes, the man in this photo is standing in the snow IN HIS BARE FEET. When he offered to pose for my blog, I told him that my readers would understand if he left his boots on, but he wanted the shot to be completely authentic. “Besides,” he said practically. “I have to take off the boots to get my pants off.” That’s the spirit I like to see during a photo shoot.
I hadn’t really planned on taking a naked blog photo. Sure, I had my camera with me, but that’s because Pretty Colour Lake is gorgeous in the snow. The trails were packed with icy snow, and the trees lined with fluffy snow. I really meant to just take some cliché winter pictures and call it a day.
I was walking with my longtime friend Poet Woman and her husband. Every year, they come into town right after the holidays to visit family, and we go for a hike in the snow. We’d already walked halfway around one lake, the two of us women talking fast and furiously while Tall With White Beard put a word in whenever he could. We stopped at the edge of the second lake, a favourite place for skinny dipping, and that made me think about the naked blogging project.
“It’s too bad it’s so cold,” I said. “Or we could take some naked photos here.” I knew that in warmer weather, they’d both be willing. Poet Woman once spent three days completely naked hiking in the mountains on some kind of vision quest. Her husband, a tall man with long white hair, seems comfortable with his body. They’re both in their 60s – and I’ve found that the older people are, the more likely they are to pose for me.
We were just chatting about the concept of a naked photo — really, I wasn’t even putting any pressure on – when Tall With White Beard said suddenly, “Sure, I’ll pose.” Honestly. I didn’t bribe him or coerce him in any way. There we were, about a mile along a hiking trail, on a cold winter day, in what was a fairly public intersection, the spot where anyone on cross-country skis or snowshoes would cross to get to the second lake, and he was offering to take off his clothes.
“It’s going to take awhile,” he warned me. He stripped off his gloves, took his camera from around his neck, shed his coat, his thick outer shirt, and then his t-shirt. Then came his boots, several pairs of socks, his pants, and his underwear. I think he might get the record for how many items of clothing he had to take off to pose.
I snapped quickly. Some cross-country skiers had appeared at the horizon, but I wasn’t worried about them so much as his feet. I’ve stood with bare feet in the snow, and I know just how cold and painful that can be.
The skiers were young and bundled in warm winter clothing. They took one look, turned around, and went back the way they came. Perhaps the long white beard unnerved them, like seeing Santa Claus naked. Poet Woman made admiring comments about her husband’s physique – and it’s true those long legs made it easy to take a good photo – but the thing that still impresses me the most is that he braved the winter cold to pose. That’s true dedication to the naked blogging tradition.
Read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.