“Do I have to take off my shoes?” he asked.
I’d been looking down discreetly, fiddling with the settings on my camera the way I often do when a man is stripping off his clothes to pose naked for my blog. I mean, I don’t want to stare. But his question made me look up — and then roll my eyes.
“Yes, OF COURSE you need to take off your shoes,” I said. “It’s the NAKED photo project. Sheesh.” We were standing within twenty feet of a very public parking lot – but PracticallyKin seemed unconcerned about any people that might come strolling by. No, he was worried about the tender soles of his feet.
“I always try to include the whole body in the photo,” I explained. “I don’t photoshop the photos – or crop out body parts. Even feet. That sort of defeats the purpose.”
We’d just taken a walk around Pretty Colour Lake, a park we’ve both known since childlhood. Our conversation had jumped from kids to jobs to friends and landed somehow, inevitably, onto the naked photo project. “One reader complained that I don’t have enough diversity,” I said to him. “But I think the real problem is that when you take off people’s clothes, they mostly all look alike.”
That’s when he said, “Do you have any gay men in the mix? Take my photo.”
I’d left my camera in the car (I know! What was I thinking?) so I couldn’t take the picture until we were back at the parking lot, which was filling up with cars as we neared the supper hour. I grabbed my camera and looked around for something, anything, that would give us just a bit of privacy. The old stone building near the picnic area would have to work. We stepped behind it, and he took off his clothes – and then, with some reluctance, his shoes. I stressed that we might want to take the photo fast before families began arriving with charcoal and burgers.
“Jump up and down,” I said to him. “We can make it an action shot. Like you’re about to fly to the roof of that building.” He jumped obligingly, his body in fluid motion against the solid stone building that’s been there since before either of us were born.
“Perfect!” I called to him. We looked at the photo on the back of the camera — and it did seem perfect. PracticallyKin is in his 50s, at the point in his life when he feels free to be himself. It seemed appropriate that his naked photo shows his body in flight.
You can read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.