Marble

“Dear God! How beauty varies in nature and art. In a woman the flesh must be like marble; in a statue the marble must be like flesh.” Victor Hugo

Exposed_1776.72

This photograph is by the wonderful Nicolas Laborie (The Photographer). He’s starting a new wetplate project exploring gender equality and the depictions of different body types in nude art. He’s looking for women and men of all ages, shapes and abilities to take part. I have only good things to say about the experience of being photographed by him and I have learnt so much about how I should regard and celebrate myself from his images of me and our conversations. You can find him at @Nicolas_Laborie or drop him a line at info@nicolaslaborie.com if you’re interested. You know you want to…

Sinful Sunday

Flesh and Bone

(What are you afraid of?)
And what are you made of?
(Flesh and bone)
And I’m running out of time,
(Flesh and bone)
And what are you made of?
(Flesh and bone)
The Killers

I loved this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt! Oh the joy of the shuffle button. I read the prompt on Sunday night, shortly after arriving in Tbilisi for a week-long  shoot. The song it threw up for me was Flesh and Bone by The Killers. Oh I so wanted to write something thoughtful and meaningful for this. It somehow felt like ‘flesh’ and ‘bone’ should be significant in the context of a body positivity blog. Flesh (fat) for obvious reasons, but more so because of ‘bone’.

Bone. Skin and Bone. “She’s all skin and bone”. The negative language that exists around very slim, slight or androgynous women is something that I absolutely think should be talked about and addressed as part of the body positivity movement. Body positivity narrative is something that, at the moment, seems to be ‘owned’ by those of us that are more flesh than bone, but are very slim women not equally vulnerable in the face of ‘perfect’ bodies? And men, too. Why is it OK to build a whole insulting advertising campaign around the Mr Muscle caricature? This train of thought will go somewhere soon and if you want to add your thoughts or images to it then do shout – this isn’t an area from which I can speak from experience! But not this week. Work wins!

I promised Marie I would try to meet the deadline, secretly knowing my schedule meant there wasn’t a fucking chance. But sometimes it’s better to be late to the party than not turn up at all, so at 6am this morning, on the treadmill, I started wracking my brain…

Graveyards. Of course. I love graveyards. The peace, the history, the loss, the sadness, the mystery, the amazement of long lives lived, the sadness at lives cut short, the awe at being in the presence of greatness when stood in front of a famous resting place, even if they are just bones by now. I first started photographing graveyards in my final year at uni when there was a huge one at the end of my street. That was 1995. I have photographed so many graveyards since, in many countries around the world. My first naked shoot in a graveyard was 20 years on, though. Last summer. My flesh. Perched upon the memorial to someone else’s bones.

Flesh and Bones.

IMG_4818 (2)

Wicked Wednesday

 

Beads

Another shot from my lovely friend The Photographer – thank you! This one made me smile when it hit my inbox as the glistening beads make it feel strangely reminiscent of one I took of another lovely fellow last summer. As I have written before, I do love it when you see little connections unintentionally forming between photos.

This photo has been sitting in my folder-in-waiting for a couple of months now, without a story to go with it. The two photos popped into my mind today as I plodded along on a long run, slowly and full of cold. It’s me who is training for a marathon now and today I thought, as I so often think when I feel the glorious bite of cold wind and the first raindrops my face, ‘I bloody love winter running.’ I really could never train for a marathon in the summer heat.

E40_0349.72

Sinful Sunday

Shoe Power

 “I bet you’re allowed to wear red shoes now, aren’t you?”

Shoe FlowerI looked blankly at the sales assistant and then to my Mum, who was chuckling. I was about 15 and visiting her during the school holidays (I grew up with my Dad). It turns out the sales assistant remembered a three-year-old me having a tantrum in the shop because Mum made me have sensible brown shoes and not the shiny red ones.

It seems shoes were a thing for me from a young age.

You wouldn’t necessarily look at me and think they were a thing these days; my default position when it comes to footwear is Converse, biker boots or flip flops/thongs, depending on what the weather is doing. But they so are a ‘thing’! For me the right footwear can provide that subtle boost in the way some women draw on the power of a good dress, statement jewellery or the right lipstick.

I was chatting to a friend once about why I love shoes so much. I talked about how if you’re bigger and can’t guarantee walking into any shop and finding clothes that will fit then shoes are a failsafe option for looking and feeling good. That’s a plausible reason for sure, but I can’t work out now whether I still believe it. Certainly anything that draws attention away from my middle bit and to my legs is a win, but I do have a tendency to imbue things with unnecessary meaning. I think maybe I just love shoes!

Shoes help orchestrate the mood. 40th birthday party? Damn right I am going to wear silver glittery heels. Nobody has better shoes than the birthday girl. Off on a work trip to Africa? Slipping on Birkenstocks as I leave for my flight will instantly get me in the zone. Serious and dull work meeting? Fuck that – pink shoes! A shoot with a youth charity? No chance of holding my own fashion-wise but the silver loafers will at least help me pretend.

And I get stupidly sentimental about footwear. My first marathon runners will probably be in my coffin! I still have the lilac heels I wore to my best friend’s wedding 15 years ago, but it was the first time I’d spent proper money on a shoe and handbag set. A few years ago my Dad convinced me to throw out the walking boots that went round the world with me in my twenties. I regret that bitterly. They walked the Inca trail with me. They gave me grip to clamber onto the roof of a train for an awe-inspiring journey through the Andes. They were on my feet when I skydived out of a plane (with two broken arms!) above Queenstown. They were my spirit shoes for a year!

But I don’t have shoes for everything.

“You don’t have shoes just for sex?” asked my friend, incredulously.

 “Er…”

Shoes just for sex? That just seems the most bonkers idea to me. Of course certain shoes make me feel sexy. I’ve had sex wearing shoes. Against walls, in pub toilets, on a ferry to Ireland. Quickies. Outside. Snatched moments. But the idea of having shoes that never leave the bedroom, that you put on for sex? Well, I think that would just make me giggle self-consciously! I may have found the part of my life where shoes just can’t boost my mood…

Red ShoesBut I do have red shoes now. They have 4 inch heels. When I wear them I’m 6′ 2″. They make me feel fierce!

 

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Tied

I don’t want to be tied or bound to one man.  But if one man wants to tie or bind me, that’s quite fine! Happy Valentine’s Day to all you beautiful people.

Red (3)

Sinful Sunday