It’s a tradition. Whenever I go away for the weekend, whether it’s an academic conference or a weekend with my friends, I cajole someone into posing for Project Naked. I try to find someone who is willing to get naked outside: the body looks best in natural life, and the whole point of the project is to celebrate the human body. Of course, I live in a cold climate, which means I’ve asked friends to pose barefoot in the snow and naked in subzero winds. Really, I have the most cooperative friends.
We’ve had such a warm fall this year that when I asked Quilt Artist to pose for me, I figured it would be an easy shot. We were in the mountains and the gorgeous sunny weather felt like summer. In fact the weather was so lovely that the summer camps still had docks and boats in the water. The lakefront camps hadn’t yet been boarded up: people were out strolling along the roads, sunning themselves by the lake, and enjoying the last bit of summer.
“We might not have much privacy,” I warned Quilt Artist. We were walking along the road, looking for a spot for a photo, and it seemed like suddenly, there were people everywhere. She shrugged. She’s posed for me before. And it seems, somehow, that the more often a woman poses for me, the less concerned she gets about passing strangers witnessing the photo shoot. After all, once your naked photo has been posted to a blog for the world to see, why worry about the occasional tourist catching a glimpse of your skin as you undress?
I gestured to a lovely old house set back against the woods. We knew the owners, and we figured they wouldn’t mind if we borrowed it as a prop. A tall wooden staircase rose past the roofline: I figured that had potential. After all, a staircase could be symbolic. But when I began walking up the stairs, I realized my mistake. They were in the shade.
“If I’m taking off my clothes, it’s got to be in the sun,” Quilt Artist said. “I don’t want goosebumps in the photo.”
I looked out from the top of the stairs. “The only place in full sun is the roof.”
I was kidding. But Quilt Artist climbed up, hoisted herself over the railing, and scrambled onto the roof. “Perfect!” she called to me, and promptly stripped off her clothes.
“Be careful!” I yelled as she trotted across the shaded parts of the roof and towards the edge. One misstep and she’d tumble two stories to the ground.
But I didn’t really need to worry. Once Quilt Artist reached the sunny patch, she sat down, safely away from the edge. I relaxed, and so did she. “I can see right up into that pine tree,” she said. “This is pretty cool – even if I am getting pine needles on my butt.”
Read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.