Headland

I’m spending bank holiday weekend in Cyprus with one of my oldest and closest friends. I had thought we might get a photo adventure at some point – find some quiet beaches and spectacular headlands for some creative fun. Turns out that quiet beaches are something of a thing of the past in Cyprus and sneaking off anywhere when you have an energetic and effervescent seven-year-old in tow is impossible. Still, where there’s a will there’s a way and although today’s beach was four deep with sun-loungers and teeming with families it didn’t stop me wandering down to its far reaches where the sand turned to a rocky headland and sneaking a quick holiday snap.

Sinful Sunday

Collaboration

I describe Exposing 40 as a collaboration. My strapline is ‘Friends. Photography. Adventure.’ So I really couldn’t let this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt go past unmarked. In the true spirit of the word I decided to produce a collaborative post. I chose my favourite photos of four amazing 40-something women and asked them to send me some thoughts to use alongside them. I don’t really know why I was surprised by their words as all four are so generous with their love, but they made me laugh and cry and I now feel a bit of a plum for creating a post that’s one big love in. I hadn’t intended this to be a willy waving exercise! We hope you enjoy our collaborative post!

Honey
Exposing 40 is a force of nature when it comes to collaboration. I was naked in front of her camera the second time we met – although that time, I’m not sure I was the most easy and relaxed model. Since then, it has been so much fun giggling around places with less and less clothing. I know it is an Exposing 40 day when I am making sure I can whip my clothes off in a flash (and whip them back on again-but that is less exciting). One of the brilliant things about photo adventures with Exposing 40 is the combination of amazing ideas that she comes ready with, or thinks of in the moment and the fact that she is also up for any chaotic ideas of my own. The best thing though is that out of a day of outrageous, soul nourishing giggling and mirth, there is suddenly later the ping of amazing images landing in an inbox. It takes a lot for me to completely relax when there is a camera pointing at me, and yet, Exposing 40 knows that I can’t wait for another chance to strip off and cavort for her. I think that is the gold standard of collaboration. The fear is gone (although there is the tingle of fear of being caught) and the joy of creating together shines through. How she manages to get crisp images of giggling models is her secret to tell.

Maria
When I visited the UK for Eroticon ’17 I knew one of the main things I wanted to do was go on a photo adventure with Exposing 40. I long to take outside photos when I’m on my own at home but for some reason, I’m paralyzed by fear of being seen or getting caught. But when I was with Exposing 40 I felt like I could easily whip my kit off anywhere and the fact that we were together was a magical form of protection. Partly because we were having so much damn fun and partly because I knew that Exposing 40 could talk her way out of any legal or awkward public scrape we might encounter. We took our photos in the loveliest overgrown cemetery, there were sometimes people only yards away, but I felt secure and confident and had the time of my life. Having my photo taken by her, specifically, gave me new eyes to see myself. A pose or angle that I normally would have cut if I were taking the pictures of myself suddenly became beautiful because I was seeing myself, my figure, through her eyes. I felt beautiful in ways I hadn’t before. The other thing I love is that she includes non sex blogger friends on her blog. I am still intensely private about mine at home, so seeing her open up to let people in that way is lovely. And something I am still aspiring to. What breakthroughs could be made in my long-standing friendships if I opened up to them about this aspect of my life?

@19syllables
On our recent daytrip to the seaside Exposing 40 and I made getting a shot for the Sinful Sunday diptych prompt our mission. A diptych is often described as a matching pair of images, but this is not true. The two parts of diptychs are never matching; they are always different but together tell a story. This reminds me of our friendship. Exposing 40 and I are two things that that complement each other, not a matching pair. We have chosen to structure our lives very differently. I am married; committed happily and whole-heartedly to one man for decades (and forever), in what looks from the outside to be a relationship constructed on the traditional, establishment model. Exposing 40 has crafted a more unorthodox, non-monogamous structure for herself which is bespoke to her preferences. She is also actively and joyfully child-free, whereas a central, defining and love-filled part of my life is that I am the mother of four. Sometimes it feels as if the media would like women like us to pitch ourselves against each other; the traditional against the bohemian, but we’re having none of it. She is resolutely happy for me, quick to celebrate my family’s triumphs and console me through inevitable bumps in the road, and I only feel admiration for her choices and the way she conducts herself. Honest to herself and those she connects in a way I have not encountered close-up with anyone else before.

Tabitha
I have always struggled with body confidence – my photos for Sinful Sunday are always carefully curated, 99.9% being trashed. I was so nervous when Exposing 40 approached me for a photo. What if she indeed exposed the truth I felt about my own body? She didn’t, she exposed the beauty I didn’t believe was there. I am so grateful. I love even more when we do a shot together, giggling as the timer goes off. Just lovely. Being photographed by Exposing 40 is thrilling beyond belief- not only at the time where, for that naked half hour your world vibrates with the excited buzz of possibly getting caught – to the moment the photos are sent through. To be photographed from angles you never see of yourself, being able to recognise yourself through another’s eye. To look at a photo somebody else took and not be horrified. It is liberating, exhilarating and has changed every walk I now go on. Now I’m always scouting for the next Exposing 40 location. Thank you my friend, you’ve changed the way I see myself – it’s actually life changing x x x


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

Dark Passage

Me: “What shall I call your bottom?”

@19syllables: “Dark passage!”

This was the final location on mine and @19syllables’s day trip to Margate at the end of June. The Shell Grotto is a great mystery. A deep and narrow underground passage winding 70 feet down to chamber and decorated with 4.6 million shells. A tiny space where it would seem foolhardy to get naked, for sure. But the echoes of visitors descending the stairs to the passageway are heard long before you see them so why not? I’ve been saving this one for today to mark the birthday girl’s latest orbit of the sun.

Sinful Sunday

Lido

Today has been earmarked for one of mine and Exhibit A’s weekend photo adventures for a good two or three months – we tend to plan them around Livvy’s weekend shifts so we know quite a way in advance when they’ll be.

Our last weekend outing was to Luxembourg so today had quite a tough act to follow! Various destinations were put in the mix, from long walks to wild swimming spots in rivers and outdoor ponds. In the end a combination of factors meant we didn’t settle on a location until after midday today. First we thought it would be too hot, then it was going to storm…in the end we were both enjoying chilling out in our own spaces so much this morning that we didn’t fancy going too far afield.

We settled on Tooting Lido. Neither of us had been there before so had no idea what a perfect location the changing rooms – reminiscent of 1950s beach huts – would be. Would we be daring enough to snap a nude shot in a busy London lido on a July Saturday? Of course! Would Exhibit A be adamant that I needed to be in the pool shooting up, not on the other side? Yes! Would I make us keep retaking the shot until that bloody red door stayed closed? What can I say? I’m picky! As Exhibit A said afterwards – we make a good photo team!

Sinful Sunday

The Edge

I’m spending the weekend in the Peak District celebrating a friend’s 40th. This morning we went rafting on the River Derwent, ate roast beef sandwiches in the pub next door to our cottage for lunch, then took an afternoon nap. We’re now enjoying a cold bottle of prosecco at Baslow Edge overlooking the rolling fields and Chatsworth House. We rather like the view!

Sinful Sunday