Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To Paula, From Bare Men

I welcome the direct notes and emails about Bare Men that I receive. To my relief, they are positive and supportive. Some people share their appreciation of the art, others are advocates of nudity, I hear from men who want to participate in the series, while others who contact me are explicit in their arousal upon viewing the photos.

A couple of the recent notes I've received recently:

"I was absolutely blown away by your Bare Men project and wanted to offer my sincere compliments. I found you on the website "Naked Men, Happy Women". It is a site I check out occasionally, and certainly your work just jumped right of the page! I do love your non-judgmental philosophy, not insisting on ideal or perfect body types. Your talent in this field is most evident!"

This one - Subject: Ekue's wisdom - I received from a man in the Midwest who was passionate about nudity the misconceptions surrounding it:

Abigail, I am a young man from Minnesota. Society deserves no apology for your support of nudity!!!

The human body is not indecent!!! It is a gift which provides opportunities for its occupants to pursue good lives. We all pretty much have the same bodies. We are born nude, we dress nude, we shower nude.....and under our clothes we are nude. Pornography also is absent when particular persons issue zero portrayal of sexual material (for arousal).
As such, nudity alone IS NOT about intercourse! And while enthusiasm towards sexual penetration often is a kind emotion, every person simply can/should avoid such penetration if/when negative results are possible. No harm is done via comfort in our own skin, either.

Clothes are often necessary due to bad weather and dirty conditions. Yet, humanity can exude civility-our first duty-both when clothed and when bare. Clothing is no promise of maturity, whereas nudity issues no guarantee of foolishness.

Although we should utilize clothes when needed, we should not buy the notion that clothes are always essential in front of each other. We should not hold a belief that every person is making harmful decisions without covers.

In short, society needs (a) more gratitude for human anatomy (b) fewer accusations about absences of clothing (c) less censorship against nudity.

Here's one I received a few days ago from "Paula" (the name entered in the contact form on my website). Her message stood out because many women don't contact me directly about Bare Men. They're more apt to like and comment on photos I post on social media.

The subject link simply read "Thanks".

Hi Abigail. Just wanted to say thanks for investing time in male nude photography. I am not an artist but see society fully focused on the young female nude. It's everywhere in all visual media forms. I worry about the message it sends to our youth. I'm so glad to see someone is working on making male nudity more acceptable and normal in our society. We need so much more of it. We need more gender balance in nudity in film, TV and art.

Here's what I wrote in response before I realized she didn't include her email address so that I could send my thanks in return.

Hello Paula:

Thank you for your lovely note! Yes, the imbalance of female to male nudity was a big part of starting my project. The idea that male nudity isn't desired or ugly has an effect on every one. I've learned through the project about the negative self esteem and body image issues many men carry as a result. I also think being exposed to the female nude leads to the expectation or demand that women be nude and available in some regard. Here's hoping my work is part of a cultural shift. 
Please share my series/work - - with anyone else you know is a fan of nude photography. And if there are men in your circle who you think would participate in Bare Men or want a private shoot, send them my way. 
And feel free to reach out again, Paula!

If you happen to read this, Paula, thanks again for your message. The comments I receive from always seem to come right when they're needed most and help me to keep going with my work.

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