POLISHED

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This project is intended as a critique of the social taboo of becoming what you desire.  In this case, the male photographer becoming the female model.  The following statement is by the artist written from the point of view of the model:

POLISHED

This guy has been photographing nude women for a while now.  He approached me about a project to shoot in the woods nearby where I live.  “I want to shoot in the woods near this park in the suburbs,” he said. I checked it out on my maps app and it seemed like a decent spot.  There are a lot of trees, “nobody will be able to see us,” he reassuringly said. Being out in the middle of nowhere with a stranger concerned me, but he has a gentle face and his tone of voice was calm and respectful.  There wasn’t a sense of being overly sincere like a salesman or journalist trying to get the story at all costs, which made me much more comfortable.

“I want to see you pose clothed”, continuing “and reveal yourself to me by pulling your clothes away from your privates.”  I thought he was on the border of being perverted, but he didn’t ask me if it would be ok if he got naked or to touch me.  He kept his distance from me.

When I met him for the shoot we made small talk.  I think my outfit shocked him.  It was an immodest tank top and super short cutoff jeans.  I looked good but didn’t fit in the suburban neighborhood park environment.  Then he said “let’s shoot right here.” We were under an overpass on a pathway between the parking lot and the woods.  The path bent toward the creek away from the main road slightly out of sight.  “Sit over there and face me,” he said “now pull your shirt to one side,” I revealed my breast.  I could see people in the park on the other side of the creek.  I was a little embarrassed and a little frightened. “Let’s try a couple more and try to be more seductive like you want me to come to you.” We took a few more shots then continued down the path.

As we got deeper into the woods, the vegetation became greener.  “This is the best time to shoot” he said “late march is the perfect mixture of greens and browns.  There is also just enough cover so that people can’t see you naked.  Anything later in the year and it gets too dense, the bugs make shooting nudes impossible.” I enjoyed being unclothed in this place at this time.  We came to a large tree where he asked me to pull my shorts off “push out your pelvis like you want me to go down on you.” I did what he asked because he pays well and doesn’t harass or touch me.  It felt good to be naked outdoors anyway.  I blush from head to toe and feel a rush.  He explained further “I want you to expose your genitals to me so that I can rub them out of the print later.  By rubbing the genitals out I attempt to remove your gender.  The prevailing thought of the model/photographer relationship is one established by sexual desire.  I think it is true that desire brings us together and places boundaries around us, even outside.”

Since no photographer I worked with put this much thought into shooting me, I was intrigued.  “Rubbing out your bush speaks more about desire, making this gesture a double entendre. Removing the genitals by rubbing one out, or polishing a knob reveals a sexual tension driven by desire for the other.”

It’s a strange act he described to me.  Later in the shoot he asked me to be naughty, to act naughty.  I laughed and had fun with it, rolled around in the mud with my pants down.  He kept his distance never leaving his place as photographer.  He respected my vulnerable place as model.  This complicated his voyeurism.  I expected him to make an advance at me.  Instead he advanced at the prints he made of our time together.  Rather than rubbing his hands on my body, he laid them on the print, rubbing in all the right places until there was nothing left to stroke.  It’s as if the photographic print became a body.  This new body has an impact on the place it is hung.  Just as my body left an impression on the muddy, wooded place where we both stood.