We are all naked underneath our clothes. It is a simple statement but is undeniably true. Our timid nature towards our ever changing bodies and the way we hide behind garments goes much beyond fashion statements. They are safety blankets for our miniature battles in the world. The notion of rudeness of being nude ties to our insecurities. Our need to be desirable as sexual tension tingles in the clothes we wear. But this is not about clothes, but their mask. They mask ourselves and add another layer, a layer we are in full on control of.
When we are unclothed we are exactly what we are when we are clothed. The only difference is the covering up process. Our shape still fills our clothes and we cannot hide from our naked-ness. We are designed to be ashamed of our human form. The notion of streaking reeks havoc in the news, arrest warrants are given to people who bare all. But why? There is an element of shame when vagina's, penis's and breasts meet the air.
I was waiting to be photographed and I had my own ritual regarding the public appearance of my general nudity. I had been prepping with the idea I'd run three times in the week to get to a shape that is passable in my own eyes. This failed. As life took over, work bogged down my need to get energetic for positive sensations.
The preparation was to be clean and presentable for this photograph. I wondered if I would smile, put a serious face on or close my eyes. I had the image of myself like a pasty whale, as my nipples would lie there unattractively. Did it help the photographer would be female? Tension is naturally drawn between people when nakedness is involved. No one has really seen me naked in my more mature years.
I realize though, I am always naked. Clothes are merely hiding the finite details that makes me naked. It stops me being obscene to the public.
The second preparation took place as I woke up a little flustered, looking at 10:45 thinking I'm probably going to need to get up. I had slept naked last night, like I always do - and I had not quite thought about the feeling I might experience showing everything to everyone. It was a strangely calm sensation. As I paced, like I have a tendency to do nowadays, my shorts swung in the wind. Doors crashed as I chucked my clothes on the bouncing branches of weeds in the garden. The sudden rush of air coupled with the talk of film speeds as her tripod did a sort of robotic dance in the gusting wind. I paced once more.
My leg began to shake. She stayed calm and hid her face behind the camera. Looking up to analyse the situation, her eyes were calm and conversation flowed. This was against the grain to my anticipations of what it would be like to take my clothes off in front of a woman.
It doesn't happen often.
Through pacing up and down I felt at ease. It was not an alienating experience but in fact a profound one. We've all done it, walking around the house naked, either from the shower or waking up. It is our natural state.
Although, the legs on the idea can surpass the trends of nakedness within art. This is not about genitals, breasts and precious parts of our body. It is not made to shock - it is not made to seduce our desires as people. It is the gentle acceptance that this is our body, and our bodies carry our lives.
Following up with conversation, we talked of our pinnacle years. Our physical prime and how our bodies might never look so youthful as they do today. But they are deeper than that, they act as memories that are organised not made. They are encounters that have a purpose, as each stride she takes to experience the rush of the wind upon her body and the body of others. It is liberation, excitement, anxiety and anticipation. Like we might get nervous when we unclothe a lover, their skin upon ours. This encounter carries a surreal gesture of acceptance. It is the ultimate form of acceptance.
I get the feeling the subjects she approaches are revealed but rewarded as they see their insecurities printed onto paper, placed into a publication and put among words upon a platform of critique. They are neutral. No judgement is made and a seduction is not taking place. After the experience of putting your clothes back on you feel different. You walk around knowing that your body is the way it is. All our need to impress goes out the window as you wish you could be naked all the time as clothes feel constricting. For many this experience is taboo and will send a shudder down their spine. But it is liberating and needs to be done.
We are naked, that is a fact of life, but somewhere down the line we missed something. We introduced clothing through practicality, our bodies need cover. But somewhere along the way we got something wrong. The association with sex and crude acts associate with being naked, but being naked is the most natural form we have. To wear clothes is actually the strange part. It is a form of expression yet when we are naked our personality has the potential to be read through our body language and the way we hold ourselves. The subtle details reign.
But the photographs are individual and personal - propped up with 'are you comfortable?' and reassurance that everything is alright. Her nature as a person affects everything in the photograph. The company she keeps, what they are to her as a photographer are important reading points in the work. They are a personal record for her but discuss something we never address. It is too simple to say it is about being naked, it discusses a variety of issues surrounding our culture towards acceptance of the human form. Our form represented in the medium of art and fashion has attempted to sculpt this 'body' type and the work does not attempt to delve into this cluster of opinions on a sensitive issue - instead it looks to celebrate the human form in the form of a physical print/publication. It inspires us to avoid our frailties and embrace our nature as human beings leaving us with a comfortable idea of our physical presence.