April 07, 2016

Skater Girl poses

Skater Girl

I’m at conference party where everyone is jammed into a hotel suite drinking booze and squinting at each other’s name tags in the dim light. Several male friends start making promises about how they are going to pose naked for my blog. They are going to pose together, a male buddy naked scene, preferably with fishing poles. Their banter gets ridiculous as they start inviting everyone at the party to pose with them. Of course, the guys know they’re safe because it’s night time — no natural light for a photo — and I’ve got this rule that anyone posing for a photo has to be sober.

A young woman stands next to Tall Editor. I noticed her right away when she came in because she was carrying a skateboard, not a typical mode of transportation at an academic conference. While the men are conversing loudly about whose turn it is to pose, Skater Girl says quietly, “I’ll do it.”

That’s how these naked photo sessions come about. Often I’ve got any number of drunken friends PROMISING to pose for me. But their plans are always too unrealistic. “I’ll get up at dawn and we can take the picture at the hotel pool,” a certain red-haired editor said to me. I know he meant it too. But I wasn’t surprised to wake up in the morning and find a text that he’d sent at 4 am, admitting that the dawn time slot was a bit ambitious as he hadn’t yet gone to bed.

I knew that a photo of Skater Girl was my best bet. When I met her at the book fair in the cold light of day, she was still willing to pose. The only problem was finding a secluded spot. We were too far from my hotel, and the warm sunshine meant that every outdoor place was crowded. I turned to Tall Editor, who was staying at the hotel close by. “Hey, can we borrow the key to your room?” He handed it over without a word.

A naked photo shoot always leads to conversations about body image. As we walked over to the hotel, we talked about the ways that women are pressured to wear clothes that are uncomfortable and shoes that are crippling. When I mentioned high heels, a pet peeve, Skater Girl laughed. “Yeah, I need shoes I can jump onto a skateboard with.”

The hotel room itself was pretty unremarkable. The little loveseat next to the window was the only spot with any kind of natural light. Skater Girl pointed to this funny little stuffed animal balanced on the cushion, and I speculated as to which of the two men sharing the room might have brought him along. They are both fathers so it could have been either.

Talking about our bodies led, as if often does, to a conversation about place. Skater Girl grew up in a dry, arid climate. But she’d visited the northeast, where I’m from. “All those lakes,” she said. “All that water. It feels like rolling in money.”

As we walked back to the conference bookfair, she told me about a raft trip she’d taken through the Grand Canyon. “That’s where I learned to be comfortable with nudity.” As we talked, I kept thinking about how good my body feels when I'm swimming in icy cold water or lying on a sun-warmed rock to get warm, how great those outdoor experiences make my body feel. Then we walked back into the frenetic conference scene, where thousands of attendees were racing about under artificial light, checking their phones for text messages.

Read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.

21 comments:

Maine Writer said...

Beautiful and profound: just like both of you. And clearly Red-Haired-Editor needs to step up his game.

Susie said...

OMG...your males pals are funny. Yes, for pete's sake sober by all means. Naked ...well I am old not so much for me. LOL. You nasty boys. Take care Jo(e). xoxo,Susie

jo(e) said...

Oh, people of all ages pose. I've taken many photos of women who are grandmothers. I've actually found that the older a woman is, the more comfortable she usually is with her body and the more willing to pose.

jo(e) said...

Maine Writer: Yeah, I think Red-haired Editor owes me some kind of terrific outdoor shot next conference. No matter how cold it is!

robin andrea said...

Another wonderful naked moment, in every way.

Cindy said...

Oh, she's beautiful! I love this series.

Liz said...

I love this story!

Debbie said...

interesting...i'm not sure i would be comfortable on either side of the camera (that's sad)!!! it is a beautiful picture!!!

jo(e) said...

Debbie: Often women who say, "Oh, I would never pose" do eventually pose for me. It just takes some time to get used to the idea.

Anonymous said...

Another gorgeous photo! She's beautiful. I love this project.

T.

Elephant's Child said...

I think this project was how I first found your blog. Love it. And it nudges me towards being more comfortable with my body.
Thank you - and a big thank you to the beautiful Skater Girl too.

Marty Damon said...

What can I say? I simply love this.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Well done and she does have great legs:)

kathy a. said...

Another work well done! What is that thing at the end of the sofa?

jo(e) said...

Kathy A: Some kind of little stuffed animal that was in the room. It wasn't my room -- we'd borrowed it from a couple of guys who were at the conference. I think one of the guys had brought the toy along because his child had asked him to.

Jeff said...

Gorgeous light and wonderful image. The stuffed doll adds a nice quirky element to the composition.

Sarah Jones said...

Love this! <3

Zhoen said...

Strange to see someone so young in this project. We really can't see how lovely we are at that age so often. I couldn't, certainly. She fits in, perfectly, though. Courageous young woman.

Lomagirl said...

Have you seen this artist? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-business/11177680/Naked-women-What-painting-portraits-of-nude-women-has-taught-me.html
It struck me as familiar when she said it was harder to get men to pose nude, and I realized it was similar to your experience.

jo(e) said...

Thanks for the link. I've seen her work -- but not that particularly piece on her.

Lomagirl said...

Funny linkage now that I look at it- a category of "women" and then "women's business"- I guess this isn't a man's business? Hmmmm.