Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Art of the Nude: All in the Family

This is a story about a high school senior in Syracuse, NY, who is coming to the Big Apple in the fall to go to the School of Visual Arts where he'll major in photography. His hometown paper, the Post-Standard, reported that the student, Brett Messenger, recently had a solo show at his high school and won an award for his portfolio from Scholastic.

The interesting part of the story, for barebrush, is the following quote from the young photographer:

My 87-year-old grandmother is one of my favorite models. She's got a lot of personality in her body language, and her face.

My most shocking image is a nude photograph I did of my grandmother. It's very discreet, but it's something that showcases her.

Now I'm sure that many people would be horrified at the idea of a teenager photographing his grandmother in the nude, and that is why I'm including this story at barebrush.

What do you think? Comments welcome.

There are comments on this post. To see the comments or make your own comments, click on the post title (above).

To read the original story, click here


Anonymous said...

The notion that nudity in the family is bad is a recent invention based
on myth and specific unfounded fears regarding sexuality. It's part of a
social control that goes too far and is in fact dangerous. The shame-and-
hide attitude regarding bodies, especially within families, is partly
responsible for the hide-and-peek sexual obsession that characterizes
America today, not to mention the epidemic of body-image and eating disorders.

The notion that nudity of older persons is bad is in the same category.
The purposes of nudity are many and by no means limited to sexual
functioning. (Even so, that older persons think and act sexually may
come as news to those under 30.)

It is a fine coincidence that the photographer in the news story lives
in Syracuse NY. In a little over a month, his city will have an
exhibition of The Century Project by Frank Cordelle. Included in that
stunning series of nude photographs of women of all ages, shapes, sizes,
and conditions is a simple black and white one of an 87-year-old woman
sitting on a large rock. Here is the text that accompanies it and forms
an integral part of the whole:

"Else passed on a little more than two years after I made this
photograph. Though wonderfully sound of mind, she was by now trapped in
a very painful body. Her politics and philosophy were
never particularly conservative; she believed strongly, for example, in
euthanasia, and ultimately chose that option for herself.

Her full name was Else Maria Rosetta Charlotta Outzen Cordelle.

She was my mother."


Paul Rapoport

Ilene Skeen said...

I received this comment via email. I did not know how difficult it is to leave comments on this blog. This will be fixed!

From Meena Iyer:

I want to share my experience of being naked.

Experience of being naked. By Meena Iyer.

In my childhood days I watched opposite to my apartment little urchins jumping naked in joy in the little pool of water stagnant in the areas of land dug for building constructions. The sight of joyous little naked innocent urchins who had nothing to lose and had no identity to be scared of and their enjoyment caught my attention and wanted to feel that experience.

As years passed and I moved to US for further studies and the first encounter of being in a clothing optional beach transformed my awareness completely. We were students then and we just casually planned to visit one of the California beach. We were unaware of this trend of clothing optional beach and even felt leaving immediately. The beaches in California had a textile beach on the south side where it is mandatory to be in a swim suit but in the northern side it is clothing optional or completely naked. We were from a conservative background and in our conservative swim suits and did not even dare to wear a two piece bikini. We strolled from one end of the south beach and walked to the north end taking courage holding our hands giggling and feeling our nerves. The sight of naked couples and singles guys and gals strolling with the bare body uninhibited left a blush in our face. The sight was cool with all shapes and sizes of human bare body. I was questioning myself as to how to experience the bliss of being naked without catching anyoneʼs attention. The lack of privacy, gawkers and hidden cameras were definitely a show stopper for me in experiencing being naked with the nature. We left the beach satisfied with new experience of watching naked folks enjoying the subtler aspects of life.

I was longing to experience nakedness with nature in a more solitude and secluded place where privacy is respected. I sought looking for private naturist place where privacy is respected with photography banned. I took courage and requested my class mate to join me in the quest of experiencing and feeling the divinity within us. My class mate was reluctant and once I convinced her that it is clothing optional place she agreed to give me the company. We visited one of the hot spring resorts and we did not have enough money to stay in the rooms but there was a provision of bringing your own tents and we just would pay for using the facilities. The place was all silent, meditative with the people polite and greeting us with ʽNamasteʼ and I wondered where could have this namaste be coming from these American folks. I later found out that there were lots of Yoga institution and they teach yoga and the culture of greeting could have been passed from the yoga teacher. The hot springs required us to be completely nude in the pools and my friend initially stayed back as a spectator. I was also nervous as I headed to the dressing room to undress and the dressing room happened to be a co-ed changing room. I immediately stepped in to the rest room sighed, relaxed with a deep breath and slowly undressed and left my belongings in the lockers and headed out to the common shower with my eyes still not wide open and felt the shower over my body and watching all the naked folks around felt electricity running in my spines. There were three kind of hot spring pools; warm, ice-cold and hot pool. My friend was giggling at me as I walked passed the shower naked in to the warm pool and just the feeling of the warm water over my body relieved all the tensions in my mind and body. I hopped from the warm hot spring water to the ice-cold spring water and I could stay in the ice-cold only for 2 minutes and immediately hopped in to the hot spring water and continued my meditative session hopping from one pool to another. The whole place was quite and even the whisper was silent. There was no sign of any sexual overtness among the seekers. It was very important to detach yourself from any Identity (Self), Emotions, and Intelligence and be with the experience of feeling the ʽPranaʼ or subtle energy around you.

The whole experience was rejunavating and I felt a sudden flow of electric current in my body and felt transformed. I could experience and feel my suttler body. My friend later took the courage and she experienced the same transformation and it was our experience of life time and cherished this moment of life. I remembered my grandmother preaching 'Taking dip in the Ganges spring water cures one of all sins'. Hee Haw the experience of life has become wonderful.

Meena Iyer