The final photo of my week of tributes is @19syllables helping me out with a Francesca Woodman shot. Woodman took her first self portrait aged 13 and by the time she committed suicide in January 1981, aged just 22, she had a body of some 800 images, many of them nude self-portraits.
As an artist who died young and without having given hundreds of interviews about her life and influences, there is much speculation about who the ‘real Francesca Woodman‘ is. She however is said to have influenced Nan Goldin, who in turn is said to have influenced Tillmans. I personally do not see the similarities between Woodman’s delicate other-worldly black and whites and Goldin’s harsh and gritty captures but I can see echoes of Goldin in some of Tillmans’s work.
Those linkages weren’t intentional in my choosing of the photographers to focus on this week – I just chose my favourites who I knew had a big back catalogue of nudes I could rifle through! I hope you’ve enjoyed my week of tributes and the little mini essays. It’s felt completely self-indulgent and I’ve loved every minute of it!
Last summer I was photographing a friend in my flat when she grabbed one of my old cameras from a display shelf and starting posing with it. She didn’t realise she was channeling a shot by Robert Mapplethorpe, one of my favourite photographers, and one that Exhibit A and I had recreated just a few months earlier. Tonight I watched a fabulous documentary called Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures and remembered that I hadn’t yet shown off this sumptuous shot.
@Kinky_Gent first expressed interest in participating in E40 back in spring 2016 when he was over in the UK for work and we met for coffee. Our paths haven’t crossed since so I’ve yet to photograph him myself but in early December this self-portrait appeared in my DM with a question about whether it was of possible interest for the blog. Yes, it most definitely is of interest! As soon as I saw this weekend’s prompt I knew I wanted to save this shot for today – after all, what is more routine than pulling on our underwear?
Although I’d messed around with wearing a girlfriend’s knickers many years ago, and not in a particularly kinky manner, during 2017 I experimented more and more deliberately.
A special lady knew of my curiosity and shared an interest in men wearing lingerie. Neither of us are into full transformations or cross dressing but rather discrete wearing of knickers and stockings in private or under everyday dress. With her to encourage me, I explored this more and more in 2017 to the point where she kindly gave me these Marks and Spencer specials from her collection, which had a visible impact as you can see!
It surprised me how many women enjoy the idea of men wearing (their) lingerie and it’s certainly made me wonder how many more are open to that. Usual vanilla depictions are often of a wife being appalled and running for the divorce lawyer – I’d be curious how many would actively encourage their men to try it?
To that special lady – thank you so much for what you brought to fruition last year, let’s do more in 2018!
I have a guest post for this week’s Sinful Sunday, from this man. I love this little homage to how brilliant technology can be. I’m certainly enjoying what technology is offering he and I, and it’s enabled him to influence one or two of my previous photos, but this is the first post written by him. I’ve had this photo for a couple of weeks and was always planning to use it this weekend but when I earmarked it for today I hadn’t realised it was also her birthday weekend, so welcome to Exposing 40 and happy birthday! Xx
Ones and Zeros From Afar
Technology is amazing. Technology allows us to stay in touch and communicate with people across the globe in unique and different ways. Utilizing technology to say I’m thinking about you and appreciate you is where things get tricky. The very access and convenience that technology provides can at the same time emphasize the disconnect between two people in two different places. A free moment for one person may for the other be a frantically busy day. So what do we do? Instead of bothering those we love and care about, we fire off texts that accentuate the bullet point nature of our lives.
This is the situation my wife and I found ourselves in a little while back. She had back to back conferences and was out of town for a week. On my end, this meant being solo-dad to my two girls; managing work, school, extracurricular activities, and making sure we all ate too! After about day three or four it was clear that my wife and I just weren’t connecting. The phone calls and texts made clear that we were operating on different planes of existence. Even when we both had a down moment, her excitement to catch up was met with my desire to lay in bed and mumble incoherently.
Ever the astute one, my wife realized that words were not going to improve the situation. The next afternoon, she excused herself from her conference, took the elevator to her room, undressed, took a picture, and sent in off to my phone. No words, no emojis, just her sending a sequence of ones and zeros from afar to say I love you.
Yesterday I read this smoking hot guest post about the effect of a leather skirt over at Girl On The Net’s place (if you haven’t read it yet go and check it out and then come back!). It reminded me of some photos that Exhibit A took of us way back in early 2015.
This morning I went looking for them. I couldn’t find them. They weren’t in the folder with all the other photos we took in that hotel room. Then a little creeping dread came over over me. I remembered deleting those shots. I didn’t like them. I didn’t like the way my tits looked, the weird expressions on my face or the roundness around my middle. I kept them for a short while but every time I looked at them they made me feel bad so eventually I deleted them. After much rummaging in my recycling bin I found them and recovered them.
So what do I see today?
I see a snapshot of a really hot moment and remember a happy 24 hours. I think my tits look pretty good actually. I like the way he’s gripping my leather skirt. I smiled when I saw the green wristband that was such a part of him for so many years. I chuckled at the memory of his dinner turning up with teeth in it. I remember it was the first time he talked to me about Livvy and I feel a little bubble of happiness at everything that has happened on that front since. I think about walking in the New Forest and playing pool. I recall being annoyed that they’d run out of croissants by the time we went down for breakfast and picking all the chocolate out of a pain au chocolate. I grimace that we were charged £42 for two gin and tonics!
And I feel sad that it’s taken almost three years to appreciate the photo.
How many of us have deleted a photo in haste not realising that with it we have closed the door on a whole host of happy memories? How often do we take a photo then fail to appreciate the nuances of the shot because we are focusing in on our perceived flaws? Why are we not kinder to ourselves?
I’m glad I read that leather skirt post. I’m glad I fished this photo out of the recycling. I’m glad I’m sending it out into the wild. And I’m resolving to not delete in haste again and to zone in on the memories of moments, not the bits of me I don’t like.
A bar. Probably in a basement. Dark. Intimate. A slightly sleazy feel to it. A small stage in the corner. The kind of place I’d spend hours in when I was younger and life revolved around live music.
The bar is past its best and quieter than it used to be. Tiny venues like this don’t appeal to artists or punters anymore. But tonight there is an audience and there’s the familiar crackle of anticipation found in any crowd before a live performance.
You. On stage, blindfolded, on your knees. Your cock hardens under the eyes of a roomful of strangers you’ll never see. You’re ready for tonight’s performance too.