Codename: Lucille | We weren't alone
I didn’t take my cameras out of my bag till I had a really good reason to, and that reason was Lucille.
This is her modeling codename and it’s taking a little getting used to; I know her by a different name. It doesn’t really matter. As one trippy boy who was an astute scholar of the occult announced one evening, Lucille was the embodiment of Venus on the playa.
There was something blissful and as-if-I-were-dreaming about this girl, with her floods of red hair and unabashed openness about sex. Young (23 years old), gorgeous and a delightful mix of sweet and salty, she seemed to be around Poly Paradise every time I walked into the main tent, though her real home was a dance-themed camp across the street.
(NSFW image in full post)
All I ever saw her wear was a khaki denim tool belt, which clasped her adorable hips, and to which she attached her flashlight, dust mask, goggles, canteen and various souvenirs, such as her Genital ID card that some camp was producing. You could get your genitals photographed and the picture would be made into a form of identification; typical Burning Man logic.
She was fearless and friendly and all love. I adored her. So I asked her to model; she was the first person I approached. Specifically, I asked her to do a mirror session with no special plans for what would happen; only photos of her looking into a mirror – the basic Book of Blue warmup, and she said yes without hesitation.
We found one another in the main tent when the time came, I got my cameras out of the car, and we walked over to the Sex Dome, which seemed the obvious place to create the photos.
We weren't alone
I prefer to create photographs in a one-on-one situation with my models. I find that the rapport is so subtle and at times fragile that it’s easier to create a safe container when it’s just the two of us. Initially my traveling partner wanted to be in the space with us, and this was fine with Lucille; but I knew it wasn’t going to work for me to have someone watching. When we arrived in the space, there was a couple on one of the air beds, and a guy I didn’t recognize taking a nap in another one.
We were in a communal erotic space, so I went with the circumstances. The energy felt light and flexible. I began setting up my pristine cameras. Lucille opened up some space in the middle of the floor, and put down a white towel. She found the big oval mirror that I brought from Reno and, using a squirt bottle of vinegar and some newspaper, washed off the coating of playa dust that had gathered on its surface. One of the themes of Burning Man is surrendering to the dust. We spend a good bit of our lives trying to get rid of dust, and photographers in particular specialize in this. We have all kinds of blowers and mini-vacuum cleaners and cleaning kits designed to remove the little bits of the dissolving universe that collect on our gear.
Once you got to the playa, you could barely do this at all, and never for long; but she got the mirror pretty clean. For my part, I set up my lenses and cameras in a way that I knew was a good configuration and, wanting to keep the dust out of the camera bodies and the interiors of the lenses, never took them apart until I was back in my hotel room in Reno a week later.
Lucille began exploring her image in the mirror, without the least hint of inhibition. She told me that she had been fucked by one of her lovers a little while earlier, which got my heart pounding. I glanced down at her belly and pelvis, and envisioned her straddling him or leaning back and inviting him to take her; I could feel her craving for pleasure and her willingness to bestow it on others easily. She told me, I am sure, because in one of her first conversations I revealed that I was curious about the erotic encounters of my female friends. It had the feeling of a gift.
As she related to the mirror, she was curious and intense, which soon melted into a gentle sweetness with herself. In the bed near us, the couple was getting warmed up. From where I was, I could see them; Lucille could not, but she could hear them. They were not inhibited. They did their thing, and clearly they wanted people nearby when they did.
As Lucille began to explore herself, they began to explore one another.