July 19, 2013

And he sang from his soul

Stark naked, the man stood on the deck of my friend’s beach house, preparing to serenade his wife as soon as she came out. He glanced at me over his shoulder, “Hey, grab my guitar.”

It wasn’t a metaphor. I hesitated for just a second. Then, with my camera around my neck, I reached over to grab the guitar. Thankfully, I managed to complete this task without touching any body parts.

I usually try to keep a discrete distance while I’m taking a photo of a naked man. I’ve always assumed that there’s some kind of etiquette that helps keep my photos in the category of art rather than sleeze. But this man, whom I’d know for less than 12 hours, seemed unconcerned with propriety.

“The Red Hot Chili Peppers once performed naked with socks on their junk,” he said. “Want me to do that?”

When I showed him the photos I'd taken, his biggest concern was how his fingers looked. Yes, his fingers. “See, in this photo, you can see that I’m actually playing,” he said. For the record, he was singing as well. 

But there never seems to be enough time 
To do the things you want to do 
Once you find them 
I've looked around enough to know 
That you're the one I want to go 
Through time with.

His wife loved that his henna tattoo showed in the photo. It was a practice tattoo, he said. He was testing out the image — the outline of guitar, with his initial and his wife’s initial inside.

“I’m liking it,” he said, “except that our intials are N and J, and everyone keeps asking, why you got New Jersey tattooed on your arm?”

Once we’d picked the photo for the blog, I told him he could choose his own pseudonym. He didn’t hesitate. “I’ll be Mr. Tanner.”

I must have looked puzzled because he explained right away. “It’s a Harry Chapin song.” He sang the refrain:

But music was his life, it was not his livelihood, 
and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. 
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. 
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole. 

That seemed just perfect.

Mr.Tanner You can read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.

11 comments:

Ellen said...

LOVE this tradition.

Sarah Sometimes said...

jo(e): You are such a tease. i was hoping for a Red-Chile-Peppers-esque photo! But, great photo, great guy! He was born to be photographed naked by you.

robin andrea said...

Another great naked photograph. I think "grab my guitar" could become a metaphor after this!

mommo4.5 said...

You lead SUCH an interesting life. Thanks for the smiles. :) :) :)

Magpie said...

It's great. And tell him to reverse the initials. No one will say New Jersey if it's J & N.

Jeff C. said...

When I showed him the photos I'd taken, his biggest concern was how his fingers looked. Yes, his fingers. “See, in this photo, you can see that I’m actually playing,” he said.
--> I love it! The dude was concerned more about his playing looked rather than him naked.

“The Red Hot Chili Peppers once performed naked with socks on their junk,” he said. “Want me to do that?”
--> Hmmm. I remember the Chili Peppers doing that; call me crazy perhaps it might be better to be stark naked versus having a sock arranged like that. :)

And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole.

--> Well said!

Anonymous said...

Love this tradition.

Annette said...

Go ahead, ask me how much I love these posts...just ask! Mr. Tanner rocks!

beemama said...

I love both those songs . . . and the tattoo, though I agree with Magpie, if he just reverses the order it will eliminate his dilemma :) Another excellent entry for the naked photo tradition!

Amanda said...

Love it.

Chauncey said...

Gorgeous!