book of blue's picture

Another blue world

This is part of a continuing series describing experiences of sex, self, identity and intimacy of many kinds at Burning Man 2009.

Photo by Eric Francis.

Previously filled with the moans of Julia and Mike, and the raw emotion of Lucille’s masturbation, suddenly was silent as if time had stopped.  I gazed at Lucille through the mirror.  We seemed to float facing one another; upright all the time, but unburdened by gravity.

I was not sure she could see me; a moment earlier, it seemed as if she could only see her reflection, though anyone could gaze into her private world.  I looked through the glass toward her, and imagined she seeing herself.  Every word she spoke to me, she was saying to herself.  Yet her eye contact penetrated me.

Guide your desire toward liberation.

I considered that; the idea seemed wise and intuitive.

That is the idea, and she smiled so slightly.  Her eye contact seemed to impart another aspect of that idea.  Water filled up my senses: light water, moistening my concepts.  She nodded slightly, and continued to fill me with this quality or substance, though sacrificing none of her own.  Her presence expanded as mine softened. I relaxed and let go of some pain I didn’t know I was carrying.

book of blue's picture

Apropos of Cats

One of the reasons I love vulva portraits is because they combine feminine energy with conscious intention. We use the term ‘pussy’ to describe that which allegedly lacks will, intent, integrity or strength; you are not looking at a pussy in this photo, you are looking at a woman displaying her volition.

This is the big controversy; this is the big deal. It’s not the blameless vulva (in the words of Alice Walker), the gateway to life, that is somehow considered lewd; rather, it’s the power of the gesture of revealing that the woman connected to it might have plans for it; that she might claim herself and perhaps have some effect on the world, or on someone.

I find it amusing that some, not all, feminists would likely be the first people to take issue with this image. Amusing because to me it’s the ultimate expression of feminism, in the philosophically authentic version of that idea: of female power; of the idea that women possess the right of will, and are entitled to express it. That they are in control of their bodies, as debated so hotly in the debate over ‘choice’. I (as a male photographer, for instance) am more likely to be ‘blamed’ for this image’s existence than the subject of the photo is to be credited for co-creating it or using me to make it herself.

The predominant accusation would be that I have turned my friend into pornography, strictly for male gratification, rather than photographing her doing something entirely natural, of her own accord, in celebration of her own beauty; as a statement to other women. As a statement to men: Guys, I’m at the helm.

(NSFW image in full post)

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