Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta body image. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta body image. Mostrar todas las entradas

lunes, 26 de enero de 2015

Gods & Monsters

-       I tell you what. Fuck you!

 Alfie stood up and left, not waiting to be dismissed. He just wasn’t into doing this anymore, this work, this stupid pretending act that he had begun two years ago. Yeah, he loved being a photographer. But that didn’t meant he had no voice of his own or a clear opinion of the world. Of course, she had a point on thinking he wouldn’t mind doing anything she asked: the other photographer’s were just as simple-minded and shallow as she was. They would ever stand up to their beliefs, if they had any that is. They were just empty heads, filled with glamour and sparkles.

 Yolanda stood up right when she saw Alfie walking her away. She didn’t need a word from him, she knew her friend to well to need any statement. He only smiled at her and she answered by pointing at her phone and saying in a low register “Later”. He nodded, walked to the staircase and, moments after, walked down the street. The good thing was that his contract was about to expire, so he wasn’t really losing anything new. He was just appalled that someone would ask him the same things over and over and would not even look at his proposals.

 As he walked to the bus stop, Alfie went through it all in his head: he had woken up that morning very happy because he knew this was the day one of his proposals was finally going to end up being actually done. Normally, someone else’s idea was chosen but this time, his boss had told him it was going to be one of his ideas that would be chosen as the other photographers had all had a shot at it. And Alfie was not mediocre at all, he was a person that loved detail and accuracy so every proposal was just on the spot, with every single information needed to make a proper photo shoot for the brand that needed their work.

 So he just went crazy with ideas and chose three that he thought were best suited for the product. The first idea was just about the makeup related to the product. He had investigated the colors he wanted and the faces he wanted to portray. The second idea was all about the dresses, explosions of color and imagination that he knew would attract a lot of people to watch the publicity.  The last one, however, was the most daring but the one he loves the most. It involved a group of four people. All stark naked and with different body proportions and personal styles. All the proposals had something in common though: he wanted to work with real people.

 As he took a seat on the bus, he looked around. Those were the people he had wanted to use for every single one of his ideas: real folk. Just everyone and anyone. Old or young, fat or skinny, tall or short, black or white… It didn’t matter. He needed real people.
 But no. He got angry, remembering the meeting he had just come out from. Apparently the company had decided not to accept any of his idea because they were “too radical”. At first, he asked his boss to define that because he didn’t found anything radical about his work. If anything, he thought it was real and true to his ideals. And then came the real argument: the women that was his boss told him that the owners of the product had not asked for ideals but for their product to be well promoted.

 As calmly as he could, Alfie asked if he needed to apply other ideas but she said they had already gone with a shelved proposal by a photographer called Harry. But his name wasn’t Harry. It was Percival. But he had decided to call himself Harry because he told everyone he looked like Prince Harry. Of course he didn’t but no one told him that because he was one of those star photographers. Everyone wanted to work with him, he knew everyone, and he always had ideas that people would qualify as “marvelous” or “genius” but that were rather stupid in Alfie’s eyes.

 Harry, or Percival, would always make the same photo-shoots: a bunch of “perfect” male and female models, all in underwear and disguised as angles or something like that. Or maybe just shirtless and doing that stupid “duck face” Alfie hated so much when taking pictures. His ideas were what the boss said was “what the people wanted”. If people wanted to stare at perfect faces all the time, Alfie thought, they would just watch porn 24/7. And even porn had different types of bodies and faces, for everyone.

 He laughed alone on the bus at the memory of an idea he had had when beginning in the firm: he had made a whole proposal using porn actors to promote condoms. And he had looked for all kinds of actors and actresses who ere actually thrilled with the idea. But his company, and actually all other companies he tried to sell the idea to, were not interested in showing people that were not attractive enough “for the camera”. The good thing was the Association of Adult Films had contacted him and he finally did the shooting, as he wanted. The money was great but the audience wasn’t that big: the pictures were only used in sex bars and discos.

 Alfie, nevertheless, was proud of that work. It had been his only real job, the only one he had done that showed his potential and his urge to do something new with photography. But when he came back to his job, he realized that just wasn’t his real life. Everyday he would shoot pictures of mediocre TV stars and local movie people. Maybe some professional models, who had great stories but not much deepness in their minds and souls. The number of interesting models he had worked with was certainly very low.

 Yolanda, who worked as an assistant, knew very well who Alfie intended to be as a photographer. She had worked there for several years and told him, right away, he should be doing something more with his skills. But Alfie needed the money and decided to sacrifice his ideals for it, because he needed experience first to be considered good. That, for them both, was a stupid thing. Some people have had many jobs but that doesn’t mean they’re good, it just means they’re better at being annoying.

 Alfie stepped down of the bus and walked home. Before he entered his place, he stopped by a bakery and bought something to eat later. When paying, the young man realized he needed to check his financial condition because he needed to pay rent and having quit, he wasn’t going to collect unemployment. The moment he got home, he pulled out his laptop from the backpack he had went with to the meeting and started to check for jobs. But after a few hours, he realized it was a waste of time. Nothing.

 The phone then rang. It was Yolanda.

-       Hey
-       How are you?
-       Guess everyone knows by now, right.
-       Kinda, yeah. She’s not as pissed as I would’ve thought.
-       Good for her.
-       What are you doing now?
-       Looking for a new job.

 Yolanda giggled. That annoyed Alfie but she had her reasons.

-       I need you to call the following number. – Said Yolanda.

 Alfie noted the number and his friend told him he had to ask for Peter Hurt. He was a teacher in a university and he often needed assistants and so on so maybe he would have something, at lest temporary, for Alfie.

 The young man called Peter and they decided to meet that same afternoon. When they did, Alfie realized he was, what he called, a real photographer. He had done everything: fashion, publicity, journalism, art… But he had decided his thing was teaching. He told Alfie it was a miracle he had called because he really needed a replacement right now. To Alfie’s stunned face, Peter explained he had received a great offer abroad to do a series of shoots all over the World for a prestigious magazine. So he needed someone to teach class for a year in his behalf.

 Alfie had apparently lost his ability to speak. Teaching, he thought, was a very good answer to the question “What the fuck I’m I going to do now?” He asked Peter if he needed references and so on and Peter laughed in his face. He explained Yolanda had called earlier and told him all about Alfie, his current situation and talent. Yolanda had even sent a few proposals she had on digital format. Peter showed those to Alfie and he realized Yolanda must’ve taken the files he had left for his boss.

-       The job is yours if you want it. Of course, I can help you with some of these ideas and you could use the university studios for them. I think these ideas would make a killer exhibition.

 Alfie took the job, still a bit surprised. In one day he had lost a job and got another one. And he had Yolanda to thank. But also, he knew he owe it all to his ideals and being true to himself.

 Going back home he realized he would never have to do a stupid shooting anymore. No more gods and monsters of fashion for him. It would only be about real people, the ones that mattered and wanted to recognize themselves in the subtle art of photography.

miércoles, 17 de diciembre de 2014

If I couldn't write, I would go insane

I used to like being naked a lot, taking pictures. I was rather popular for it. People would ask me why I did it. Well, here's why:

First, and I think I just realized this, I loved the attention. I had tons of pictures, good quality, up on Flickr. And people would mark them as favorites and even comment and I will important somehow. People would like me and that felt nice. At least at first.

With time that attention wears out. You just stop needing it or maybe you want more or different. I have no idea. The thing is I just stopped liking the attention. I had that account for five or six years. It was an important thing in my life, as funny as that may be.

I have to clarify: not all the pictures were nudes. I would upload "urban" shots too or maybe just portraits or whatever I found was nice to look at. I guess I wanted to make others see I had talent for something. Of course, I didn't. I'm a professional photographer and my "work" on Flickr lacked any real quality. I knew that all along and never really cared about it. It wasn't the point.

I would love to post one picture per week, normally I would post at the first second of a new day so the statistics would more accurately show how much a picture was liked. When I uploaded an urban view, a building or trees or whatever, the picture was not that well received. Maybe a couple of people would say "yay, it's great". And that was it.

But me, naked, showing maybe my ass or my penis (never an erection, mind you), was always received by what I can only call "critical acclaim". Of course this acclaim came from people I had never met, mostly men. All men to be honest. And they were all horny. I mean, I should be an idiot not to see it.

I used to be more naive, more innocent if you will. When I remember those times, I don't know if it was a good way to be back then or if I should've been more intelligent, more perceptive.

Like, when I was nineteen I think, I went out with this guy. Just cute, not really a beauty or anything but you know. We went to a gay café and chatted and kissed and I felt awesome. It wasn't muy first time kissing but it felt right and beautiful and all that shit. Any way, it ended soon after and I never really understood why. Why he behaved like he did, always distant and weird.

He was fucking (or being fucked, who knows) others, kissing others while dating me. He actually kissed another guy that same night I was in the café with him. Somebody would later tell me all of this and I just understood it all. I also understood men were not to be fully trusted as, it is true, a man always acts commanded by his dick first, then his brain. And it's even more real in gay men and they know this is true.

Many people judge me saying "Hey, why haven't you been to a gay parade? Have you really never been in one?". And my answer is simply because I don't believe in it. It's not a casual walk to just show how proud we are to be who we are. That's what is SHOULD be about. But it isn't. That parade has mutated to be many people's chance to just rub in the faces of everyone what they do with their lives. Well, good news: no one gives a flying fuck.

There are homophobes. Of course there are. But there are others that just don't care. They don't think twice if someone is sleeping with a man, a woman or a horse. They don't care. And I don't think that is a reason to be pushy and annoying. I am fucking gay and the only person I need accepting me is myself. If the world doesn't, believe me, I don't care.

There's no gay marriage, that does not exists. The only thing that does exist is two people who get together to sign a paper that says they must share everything and live together. That's it. It's nothing more than that. You're not selling yourself there, in any sense, and it shouldn't matter who does it. Who cares?

But I digress. I made those pictures, the naked ones. And all that attention and it felt nice for years, yeah. I don't like discos or whatever they all them now. I just don't, I feel like an octopus in Japanese restaurant. Just like that. I've gone to a couple and that was enough for me. So I was happy to have some guys attention.

But that faded away. I got bored. To be honest I'm bored and fed up with people every second of my life now but that made me even more bored. All those empty comments and no one coming to me in real life to say "hey, you cute". And before you give me shit, I say "coming to me" because I deserve that. I won't crawl to a guy simply because I won't give an inch of myself to someone who would just expect everything.

The thing with gay guys, and all guys I guess, is that you must test them. And no, that doesn't mean annoying them and being jealous 24/7. I mean asking them things, getting to know them for real. Just being interested to get to know the person, take time.

But no. Most people fuck after 24 hours of meeting, if not before. I'm not saying people should be nuns and monks but, come one, love yourself.

And then I started having problems with the Flickr people and they ended up closing my account. You know why? Because it happens I didn't only do those pictures for the attention. I also did them because they were like therapy for me. I have hated myself for too long and that outlet made me feel good about myself. I almost fully stopped having crazy crisis every month.

And, besides that, I personally think the human body is beautiful. I don't believe in a god so I say nature is pretty smart and resourceful. Just get naked in front of a mirror and stare at yourself. Take a good look at the details, not the superficial shit of society but your actual biologic body. It's a work of art, inside and out.

So, that ended for me. It stopped existing, that outlet, that I needed so bad for so many years. To be honest, when it ended, I said "Fuck it, I have something new now: writing". So around that time I started working on some small things and it all came down to this blog with which I have a really hard relationship.

Today, for example, I had more than five ideas. I couldn't write more that ten lines for each. I felt awful, like an idiot, because this is my thing, my only thing. And if I couldn't write, I would go insane. Simple as that.

miércoles, 19 de noviembre de 2014

The bare facts

Barcelona was beautiful, that couldn't be doubted. But after walking all around town, visiting museums, churches, squares and even the zoo, Liam was exhausted and in need of some time to relax.

So the day before leaving for home, he decided to visit the beaches of the city. He grabbed a backpack, put everything he needed in it and walked to the nearest metro station. In the train, he watched the people, as he always did. He loved to do that as he felt it gave him a vision of what people truly were and if the world was doomed or not.

At the next stop, a guy and his girlfriend (Liam inferred this from seeing them holding hands) entered the train. They were both really good looking: the girl had auburn hair, big eyes and a curvy body and the guy had nice legs, great arms and really sexy lips.

Liam stopped watching soon as he thought it would be most unsettling to notice a 28 year old guy looking at you as if you were a god or something. Instead, he checked his cellphone to see how many stops there were left.

Fifteen minutes later, he got off the train and walked up to the surface: the station was blocks away from the most popular beach. He walked a few meters but started to see loads and loads of people, coming in from every street and side. When he got to the boardwalk, he realized the place was packed.

Liam was alone and couldn't afford to leave his backpack where there were at least two hundred people watching. He was not only worried about being robbed, though, As he walked along the boardwalk, he also remembered how self-conscious he could be about his own body. He hated it but that was the way things were.

He walked, looking for an emptier part of the beach but that appeared to be useless. He crossed a marina and then a park and, finally, got to a much nicer and calmer beach. There was a huge rock in the entrance, possibly to make it a little less noisier for everyone.

Liam stepped on the sand and walked a bit until he saw the perfect spot by the ocean but with a good view from the water to check the backpack if it was needed.

He looked at both sides, seeing very few people and then took off his T-shirt. He put it in the backpack and pulled out a big blue towel. He sat on it and started to put some sunscreen on his skin when he noticed something peculiar.

A woman, maybe in her sixties, laid in the sand topless. She was not very far and Liam couldn't understand how he had not seen her before. The woman seemed to have fallen asleep as she was enjoying the sun.

Liam ignored this and continued to put on some sunscreen. He laid on his towel and put on his headphones to listen to music as he tanned with the sun. He sure needed it as his skin was very pale and in urgent need of some color.

He was starting to doze off when a volleyball hit him on the side. He was more scared than hurt but the young man rubbed his ribs anyway. Someone came running on the sand and grabbed the ball.

 - Sorry man. Are you okay?
 - Sure...

When the guy started to walk away, Liam gazed upwards and stopped faking he had been hurt. The guy was naked. Stark naked. not even wearing sandals or a watch.

Liam looked at him walk to his friends, who were also naked, and start their game again. He couldn't believe he was witnessing a naked game of volleyball.

Then he looked in another direction and he saw an older man walking a dog and behind him a couple playing with their baby. All of them were naked too.

The young man grabbed his phone and quickly wrote, already too nervous, the shame kicking in. Yeah, just what he thought. He had apparently walked straight into the only nude beach within the city limits.

To be correct, nudity was allowed but it wasn't exclusive. People could wear clothes if they wanted to and some were, mostly women wearing the lower part of their bikinis.

Liam looked for his T-shirt and put it on. He put everything back inside his backpack and started to walk when someone called him. And he knew they were calling him because they were yelling "metro boy".

Unbeknownst to him, the guy and the girl from the train were not very far from him. He hadn't seen them either, like the topless woman. For a moment, that seem to go for ages, he had no idea of what to do. But he had no other choice when the girl came up to him and greeted him, as if they were long time friends.

He grabbed him by the hand and took him to were the guy was. They said they had seen Liam in the train and that he looked foreign. He confirmed it and they told him they were foreigners too, from New Zealand. And they were brother and sister, so he had gotten that wrong.

It was all very nice but Liam was too uncomfortable. The girl had her top off and the guy was totally naked and, as expected, they both looked great. They had to be models or surfers or something like that.

 - I have to leave. Sorry. - said Liam, after 15 minutes of chatting.

They begged for him to stay but Liam insisted he had to leave.

 - Maybe you would feel better without the shirt. - said the guy.

Liam looked at him with anger but also with shame. That was maybe true but it wasn't that easy for him. Fed up with everything, he decided to be honest. He told them how uncomfortable he was at the moment and that he'd rather leave than make everyone feel awkward too.

The guy told him they had decided to speak to him because he seemed nice and he was alone, like them. He insisted on him taking off his shirt and talking to them. He clarified it was their first time in a nude beach too but that bodies were overrated.

Liam sat down and asked the guy to explain that to him. He responded that people that were really into people, had no trouble getting naked as they knew bodies are just a fraction of what a person really is.

 - An important fraction. The one you see at first glimpse. - replied Liam.
 - True. But you don't stay for it. And if you do, you're just a shallow idiot.

This made Liam smile. He then changed the subject and talked to them both for hours, about heir lives, their countries and what discoveries they had made in the city. They played UNO and, finally, Liam took off his shirt to swim with them.

When night was arriving, they went for dinner to a restaurant and then had some drinks. When he got to his hotel, a bit tipsy, Liam realized he had made new friends and, even if it only ended up being a "Facebook friendship", it didn't mattered. What was important was the fact he had decided to listen what others had to say and that opened more doors than the doubts he had.