Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homoerotic Photography

I have a couple of friends who live down in central Tennessee. Last June I drove down there for several days of visiting. They live on 100 acres in the middle of the riverine limestone karst country of central TN. We drove around a fair bit, so I could do some photography and video work in the very beautiful State Parks nearby. Their land is secluded, and they're pretty much nudists. So since it was 90 degrees or more most days I was there, clothing was not much in use by anyone.

There is also a cave on a cousin's land, which we spent some time exploring inside, again nude. These are some photos from my visit.


Cave Shaman

Evening Stroll

I regularly engage in outdoor nude photography with some of my gay men friends as models. I've been doing this since 2000, and have compiled a few distinct bodies of work from these sessions. I love the secluded outdoor locations involved, especially in summer's heat, and I really enjoy working with my models, all of whom have been wonderfully open and giving to the artistic process. Working with nude models is a collaboration. Things happen that I never planned, or discovered in the moment, some feature of the land or light, which I never could have found without my models' presence and input. I like working with friends because I am interested in real people, with real bodies, not airbrushed icons of advertising perfection. I prefer natural ordinariness to idealized and unreal perfection.

This photographic work is an important part of my life as a gay man in rural, smalltown Midwestern America. These connections. These dialogues. They fuel my creativity for months after each collaborative encounter. I especially find it rewarding to work with other gay men who live rurally, who share my interest in naturism, who are comfortable with their bodies and sexuality, who are open and casual in demeanor.

This is a growing body of work that is increasingly important to my visual artistry. The key elements are, of course, rural life, outdoors life, being naked outdoors, open to the wind and sun and the touch of grass on the skin. What this is really about is the beauty of the human form within the beauty of the natural landscape. The contrasts and connections between skin, stone, water, green growing things.

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