Monday 24 March 2014

Nude Photographic Session

Nearly two years ago I wrote a blog-post on the sensitive photo-art of Manuel Delgado. In a recent article of his own, the wonderfully calming and very affable Manuel (pictured below) put out a request for men to model nude for his latest project.

I come from a family of five in which everyone strolled about the house naked except for yours truly who kept tightly buttoned up in winceyette pyjamas (pajamas). Nudity was not a preferred state of mine. Yes I was the prude of the clan. In fact it has taken me a very long time to relax about my body (I am nearing my half century!). A few years back my then partner and I tried nude sunbathing on a mixed sex, mixed age naturist beach near to Marbella. Interestingly, I was the one who was first to remove his clothing. However, I shall let you into my secret: since being a wee bairn (small lad) whenever I took off my spectacles I believed no-one could see me; a little of this spell still works for me…

Anyhow, it is a big leap from being naked with hundreds of other folk, especially when surrounded by every conceivable shape and size of human being, to being photographed one to one with the potential that the artist can do whatever he likes with the image.

I wrote to Manuel. Here is part of my letter:


¿Podrías estar interesado en un chico con discapacidad, aunque no visible, por tu proyecto fotográfico?

Para mí, mi cama es una celda, una cárcel, por lo que una ‘cama-celda’. Debido a mis diversas discapacidades y enfermedades, la gran mayoría de mi vida se gasta atrapado debajo de las sábanas y dentro de las cuatro paredes de mi dormitorio. La ventana de la habitación me permite ver la vida pasar por mí. A través de ella yo oigo: las voces de niños jugando; mis vecinos disfrutar de festines al fresco; sus coches que llegan y salen, llevándolos a trabajar, el cine, el teatro, ... ; vehículos de reparto con lo que los artículos comprados en las tiendas; aviones teniendo la gente a los lugares lejanos. El paso del tiempo se repite por los cambios de luz y oscuridad. Y todo el tiempo estoy metafóricamente encadenado a mi cama; incapaz de moverme sin causar dolor.

Mi cama es mi comedor, mi baño, mi báter, mi oficina, mi salón, mi gimnasio.

Mi cama es una casa de muñecas.

Mi cama es un microcosmos de toda la vida humana.

Me pregunté si mis posiciónes en la cama sería de interés para ti: durmiendo; descansando con una almohada; trabajando / socializando a través de mi portátil; ejerciciando con mi bastón con ejercicios ideados por mi fisioterapeuta y algunas posiciones de yoga.


Might you be interested in a disabled guy, even if not visibly so, for your photographic project?

For me, my bed is a cell, a gaol; hence a ‘bed-cell’. Due to my various disabilities and infirmities, the vast majority of my life is spent entrapped under the bedclothes and within the four walls of my bedroom. The window in the room allows me to see life passing me by. Through it I hear: the voices of children playing; my neighbours enjoying alfresco repasts; their cars arriving and departing, taking them to work, the cinema, the theatre,…; delivery vehicles bringing goods bought in the shops; æroplanes taking folk to faraway places. The passing of time is iterated by the changes of light and darkness. And all the while I am metaphorically chained to my bed; unable to move without causing pain.

My bed is my dining-room, my bathroom, my toilet, my office, my drawing room, my gym.

My bed is a doll’s house.

My bed is a microcosm of all human life.

I wondered whether my positions abed would be of interest to you: sleeping; resting with a pillow; working/socialising via my laptop; exercising using my walking-stick using exercises devised by my physiotherapist and some yoga positions.

Manuel was delighted to have me on board, but wondered why I was interested. I responded:

Estoy esperando que la sesión fotográfica podría ayudarme a ponerme de acuerdo con mi propia carne.

I am hoping the photographic session could help me come to terms with my own flesh.

Manuel asked me to elaborate:

De hecho, estoy viendo el proyecto como potencialmente poderoso para mí. En los últimos años he estado aprendiendo a enfrentarme a mi pasado, mi psiquis, mi mortalidad, mi aspecto físico (ya que interactúa con el espacio). Ahora tengo que aceptar el cuerpo que me ha fallado, en una manera de hablar. Quiero llegar a un acuerdo con y hacerme amigo de esta carne debilitada y en su defecto, a aceptar que es tan parte de mí como mi mente.

Durante muchos años he estado intelectualmente atraído por la filosofía del holismo. Me parece que ya es la hora de que pongo en práctica la teoría en lo que respecta a mí mismo.

Indeed, I see the project as potentially empowering for me. Over the last few years I have been learning to confront my past, my psyche, my mortality, my physicality (how it interacts in space). Now I must accept the body that has failed me, in a manner of speaking. I want to come to an accord with and make friends with this weak and defective flesh, to accept that it is as much a part of me as my mind.

For many years I have been intellectually attracted to the philosophy of holism. It seems to me that now is the time to put the theory into practice in respect to my self.

On Saturday 15th, in a village-like barrio of Málaga, I entered the space in which the photographs were to be taken having already removed most of my clothing other than my briefs and socks. The photos below demonstrate that depending where in the room one is positioned how one perceives the light. Manuel has set it up so that soft, natural light cascades on to the subject from a slightly raised window. All the background is white, so that flesh tones are enhanced.

Manuel warned me that the session would be quite long lasting up to two-and-a-half hours, which it did. But oddly how speedily time passed. I gradually warmed to Madame Cámara, slowly giving in to her charms until I was directly facing her on my belly, lower legs swinging in the air. I was actually disappointed when the session came to an end.

Liberating. Invigorating. Affirming.

Manuel showed me some of the images he had taken. I teared up, as I had never ever even imagined my body could look æsthetically attractive.

At the end I was permitted to replace my glasses and Manuel took some snaps with my camera. The viewer can perceive just how relaxed I was. These are not positions that were taken in the main session; but they give a sense of how the scene was set up and the wonderful colours.

[WARNING: nude images below]

Me - beautiful !?!

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