Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta photography. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta photography. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 15 de octubre de 2016

Change of pace

   Nicole had been watching birds professionally for about five years. Before that, she had been working in some laboratory where she helped create many types of perfume. But after so many years, she had grown very annoyed by the smells and also the tense environment in the workplace. Not many people would think that working creating the world’s most delicious scents would be tense but it was and she wanted out but didn’t know how to do it. She couldn’t just quit because she could lose many benefits but working there longer was not an option.

 As she decided what would be her alternative path, Nicole decided to take advantage of a two week paid vacation leave that she hadn’t used during her time working for the lab. She thought the best place to go was a quiet one, where people would not be all around her asking things and talking all the time. Nicole certainly did not appreciate that at all. She looked it up in the Internet and soon discarded going to a grand European capital or to one of those luxurious seaside hotels. Too many people in both. Instead, she chose a retreat in the forest, more private and adequate to her needs.

 Nicole arrived a Friday afternoon to the retreat and realized she had chosen the right place to go and relax. Even the staff of the hotel was gentle and not scandalous. The man in the hotel’s reception told her that they owned almost thirty cabins all around the forest and that they were all connected through dirt paths. A young man grabbed her suitcase and put it in a golf cart and helped her to her assigned cabin. It was beautiful, very small but very cozy at the same time. She had asked for a one bedroom one and it was just perfect.

 It had a small bedroom, a very modern bathroom and a living room with a small kitchen space, which worked on electricity. There were not television sets, radios, phones or any type of Wi-Fi connection in any of the rooms. The only place from which a person could do any of those things was the reception structure. As the boy left after leaving her suit case in the cabin, Nicole checked and realized she was really disconnected from the world: her cellphone had no signal whatsoever. She finally felt free and seemed very excited for what may happen.

 As she had arrived in the afternoon, it wasn’t a good idea to wander around the forest, as darkness would be upon her soon. Instead, she decided to use the bathtub and enjoy it thoroughly with hot water and the relaxing sound of the wind among the trees. After that bath, it was very easy for Nicole to just get into bed and fall asleep in a very short time. She never did that back home but she felt so tired from the road trip to the hotel that she fell asleep right away. She had a dreamless sleep that lasted for several hours.

 When she woke up, it was ten past ten. When she saw the time in her watch, she got scared for a moment but then remembered she was on a holiday and not working in the laboratory. She could sleep for as many hours as she wanted and waking up at six in the morning was not mandatory anymore. She decided to check out the kitchen and, just as the brochure said, you could pay for it to be fully packed with things from day one of your stay. So she decided to cook herself a scrambled egg breakfast with some orange juice.

 As she ate it all in a small table by a window, she heard the forest: there was no silence but a magnificent amount of sound coming from every direction. She wondered if that would help her think or would come against her at some point. Nicole decided to take a walk after eating and wandered around the paths for several hours until she realized she didn’t quite now where she was. She had not been smart enough to borrow a map from the reception and asking someone for directions didn’t seem to be a real possibility.

 It was just then when she heard a whistle and the distinctive sound of a photography camera. There was someone near her. She walked around trying to identify the source of the sound but she couldn’t find anyone. Growing a bit desperate, she stepped into some rocks and her feet glided over them ass the moss covering them was very slimy. Nicole stumbled to the ground, hitting her behind hard against the ground and one of her legs being seriously hurt. It wasn’t long before a bearded man, about her age, appeared very close.

 He didn’t ask her anything. He just grabbed her as if she was weightless and carried in a jog to the reception, where they had the infirmary. The doctor there told Nicole she had twisted her ankle but that it wasn’t too bad. She could prevent swelling with a special cream and should prevent movement at all costs. He offered her some crutches to use around but she declined, saying she did feel like she needed them. She would rather enjoy the rest of her stay by just being careful and resting a bit for the next couple of days.

 Nicole wanted to thank the man that had carried her to the doctor but he had left in a huff. Apparently there was something much more important he had to do than checking if the person he carried was all right. Nicole tried not to think a lot about that, instead just been taken to her cabin in a golf cart. There, she decided to rest in bed for a while. When she about to fall asleep, she heard something like a whistle again. She hadn’t solved that mystery before and she wanted to know what was it.

 She stepped out of her cabin once again and tried to hear where the sound was coming from again but there was no more whistling. Instead, she could perfectly hear the wind passing through the trees, which was a very soothing sound. Breathing slowly with her eyes closed, Nicole realized how precious it was to be in a place where the sound of the wind could take you to so many places at once. It was the best experience ever. She had never been in any trip where she could actually distance herself from her life but this time it seemed different.

 The next day, she was lucky enough to stumble upon the man with the beard. She found him reorganizing some things by the main path. Nicole thanked him for his help and tried to shake his hand but he didn’t even look at her. He seemed immersed in something she couldn’t understand. When he finished whatever he was doing, he left the path immediately and started walking towards the deepness of the forest. Not really understanding why, Nicole decided to go after him, almost having to run in order to not to miss him among the trees.

 She finally reached him in a clearing where he sat down on the floor and, with a gesture, asked Nicole to be quiet. He grabbed a camera from his backpack and waited, apparently only hearing the sound of the woods. She heard them too, trying not to make a sound. Then, the man whistled in a very specific manner. When he did, it seemed to be very precise. And it was. Out of nowhere, a flock of small birds flew over the clearing, some of them landing among the dried leaves. The man took several pictures before the birds left.

 When she realized she could speak again, Nicole asked the man how he knew what sound to make in order for them to come and what was he doing in that place. He told her he was a ornithologist, a bird expert and that he was creating a complete catalogue of every bird in the forest. He told Nicole that it was a very difficult job but that it was very rewarding as birds weren’t as selfish and evil as men. He confessed he didn’t really like people. After he said that, he looked Nicole straight in the eye and stretched her hand to hear. His name was Quentin.


 That day, and all the following days in which Nicole had decided to remain in the woods, Quentin would tell her all the tricks to get the best pictures of the birds. He would also take pictures of other animals and of the trees. He found nature fascinating at it most simple. Nicole was so enthralled by all of this that she decided it was time to make her next move. When she came back to the city she quit her job and applied to one in the university to be Quentin’s assistant. The pay was better making perfume but her life felt so much lighter and improved in the forest, in peace.

jueves, 16 de junio de 2016

Below

   The walk couldn’t be too long. They were allowed to reach a big boulder on the top of the hill and then go back almost instantly. There was no way to really enjoy the moment, although no one got out for a walk to enjoy themselves. They did it because it was necessary to walk, to train for longer walks in the future. The funny thing was that the distance had not change in a year so they couldn’t really know if they were able to do more in the suits or not.

 Helena arrived at the Boulder and looked up, to the sun. The veil that covered the sky was especially thick that day, blocking most of the sunlight from arriving to the ground. The sun appeared to be cold, as if it didn’t care of what had happened. And he certainly didn’t because everything that had happened had nothing to do with the sun but with the planet and its inhabitants. They had always been a real danger but no one ever thought something might actually happen.

 The alarm begun. She had enough oxygen to go back to the Hut and couldn’t waist more time looking at the sun or at the reddish sky. She wanted the oxygen tank to be bigger, she had asked that several times. But they couldn’t do it. They had no materials and also no interest in letting anyone wander to far off. The truth was that the government of the Hut was not interested at all in reconquering the surface, only in surviving for a hundred years or more.

 When she stepped into the entrance and the airlock decontaminated the chamber, she felt sad. The world outside was no different than in the books and the images she had on her computer. Yet, there was death and desolation all over the place. As a team of people cleaned her outfit with a variety of chemicals, she wondered if the human race could ever be what it once was.

 As she removed the suit in the next room, Frank came to talk to her. He was the person that controlled every walk outside and had some questions, the same questions they always asked people. It was some kind of an obligatory test for every single person that asked to have a walk. There weren’t many who did, not all wanted to go back and see what their house was like now or what the world looked like. Some had actually moved on.

 She answered the same as always: there was no plant life, no animal life, the concentration of particles had not changed and the deterioration of the different materials was advancing as scheduled. She was obliged to take pictures but this time she hadn’t taken any. She told the man it was because her earlier walk had only been a week ago and nothing had change out there in such a short time.

 Frank wasn’t happy about the pictures. He wasn’t really the boss and he knew someone else would get all over him because of that. But he didn’t insisted. Helena was one of the few people that dared to go outside and walk around, they needed her more that she needed them or at least that was the way he saw it. So he wrote in his report that the camera inside the suit was damaged and that they hadn’t realized before she had stepped out. That way, the questions would be less.

 Helena thanked him and, walking slowly, she went directly to the food court. According to her mother, that wasn’t the term they should use but it was the one promoted by the government. They wanted people to feel they were in a safe and fun environment, even if it was below ground. And “food court” was one of those terms that reminisced something good, or so it seemed, from a long time ago. Everyone ate there although they didn’t have many options, only one.

 As always, the young woman did the line and the cashier scanned the code on her wrist to check that she hadn’t eaten earlier. She received her tray and some minutes later she had hot food and was looking for a place to sit down. Luckily, her friend Patricia was finishing her meal so she sat down with her. Patricia was alone, as it happened very often. Many people thought she was obsessed with the outside.

 During the following twenty minutes, Helena discussed with her friend every single thing she had seen outside. Of course, it was nothing new for the scientific team but it was new to Patricia, who was not allowed to go outside on mental health grounds. She had always wanted to do it but from the first time she asked for permission, it was denied. And after many times trying to apply, they finally told her why they wouldn’t let her out.

 She loved to hear every detail about the outside and Helena knew how much her friend like her tales so she tried to make as entertaining as she could. The tale ended when she arrived at the boulder and looked at the sun. Patricia was smiling and her eyes were full of water. She told Helena she was very lucky to have seen that because the world, as she knew, was very beautiful.

 Helena did not really know if the world was beautiful. In theory, it was. The millions of pictures available to them seemed to tell the story of a bright world were people were happy and lived very complete lives. Yet, those same people had been the ones to destroy it, her parents for example. So she always had problems processing that. Besides, the world outside was dead and no sign of that beauty remained.

 After lunch, both women went through the Market. It was a large and long corridor filled with different stores. Each one of them sold something different, so there was no competition. And the amount of things each store sold was very limited. Yet, most people loved to stroll around to check if they had pulled out something new from their vaults or something. People still had hope that things would change suddenly, even if they hadn’t changed at all for so long.

 But that day, the fifth store on the left was filled with people in front of it trying to look for something the vendor had put in display. It was the store that sold paintings and pictures and such things. Most of the things the man there sold were made by him or his family. But the little image in the transparent urn he had put on display was something another walker, the people that go outside, had found in a recent walk.

 When they were able to get closer, Helena and Patricia realized the image was very small. It was a black and white photography, probably a very old one. It pictured three baby boys, or so it seemed. One of the babies was crying, while the other two held hands and were apparently playing with some cubes with letters. The most intriguing part of the image was a shadow behind the crying baby. It seemed to be the arms of an adult, or maybe the legs.

 They could only see the picture for a while before those who had just arrived pushed them aside to have a look. They talked about the picture all the way to the dormitories, wondering if the shadow behind the babies was really another person or maybe even an animal. It was a very weird picture too: who would take a photo of a crying baby instead of taking a look at what he needed.

 Patricia concluded that it might have been a fake. Maybe the vendor had taken the picture and he said they had found it outside. That was very hard to do, thought Helena, but not impossible. They separated in a corridor, as Helena lived further ahead and Patricia lived one floor below. They committed to see each other the next day and then parted ways. Not a minute had passed when Helena fell to the ground.

 A very large, very powerful earthquake was shaking every single part of the complex. It had been built for that but that didn’t mean people wouldn’t get scared. It was the first one in a long while. Helena could hear screaming behind the doors, where people lived. When it stopped, she stood up fast and ran towards her home. But she never made it there. A general alarm was issued: the compound had been breached.


 No one knew what that meant. Was it toxic gas or something like that? What did they mean with “breach”? Helena wasn’t sure she wanted to find out but, instead of going to check on her mother, she decided to turn around towards the laboratory. She had to know what was going on.

jueves, 2 de junio de 2016

Self-made woman

   Sam had always being a very confident person. She wasn’t he most beautiful girl in the world or the most athletic or anything like that. She was just an average girl that never really had a problem with her own body. When she was at school, she saw many people being bullied because of how they looked or how they dressed or things like that. But the bullies never got to her because she simply did not believe anything they said. Maybe it was the way she was raised or maybe she had been born with a very thick skin. The point was no one could take her down.

 As she got older, she decided to try a little bit of everything. She did theatre and always went to a summer camp not far from home. She would also love to help recycle and clean the parks of her city. She earned some money by walking her neighbors’ dogs and she had at least five pen pals from all over the world. Sam lived to be active and to feel she was doing something. She even approached the kids at school that were bullied and tried to help them by giving them more things to do. Sometimes, she succeeded.

 After graduating high school, she entered a proper acting academy where she was always one of the most advanced students in the class. She got the directions of the teacher very fast and knew how to connect with a character in a matter of minutes. She became that person fro a while. It was amazing to see her as all those characters, no matter if they were men or women, young or old or foreigner. She always knew exactly how to do it.

 The school lasted for years year and by the third year her parents announced to her that they had financial problems and that they wouldn’t be able to give her money for transportation and food for her third year and that they had no money for her fourth and last year in the academy. For a moment, she was very worried. It was the first time in her life that Sam didn’t really know what to do right away. She spent a whole night without sleep thinking of solutions.

 However, the solution came to her the next day. Her acting school was part of a larger university, so when she went to class she always walked by a big board where people would pin down what they were looking for. She checked the board to see if there were any jobs she could take part time in order to help her parents pay for her stuff or pay it herself in any case. She read many little papers looking for something good and a blue one got her attention.

 Sam had never cared about what people said about her. She had never really had second thoughts about what she wore; how her body was build or the things she had to do to get somewhere. She was a fighter and very hands on kind of a person. So after class, she went straight to the classroom written in the blue paper. They were looking for men and women that would pose for the art students.

 It was in an area of the university she rarely went to. Outside, there were about three people waiting. When the door opened, a woman asked her name and physical data. She wrote those down in a sheet of paper on a clipboard and then closed the door after one of the people that had been waiting had entered the room. Sam could only see one other person inside with the woman: a middle-aged bald man who probably was the teacher for that class.

 She waited for an hour until the other two people had passed. Apparently the “audition”, or whatever it was, could be very exhaustive. When they finally let her in, they immediately asked for her to remove all clothes and to step up in a square that was about thirty centimeters tall. She did exactly that, feeling a little scared at first. The woman, who was probably an assistant, was doing some kind of sketch on her clipboard. The man just turned around Sam, looking at every single inch of her body.

 Suddenly, he asked Sam to pose in three different ways. He showed her three different paintings and she had to imitate the positions of the models in them. Sam wasn’t very into painting as such but she knew those pictures were rather classical. So she immediately knew there not going to do anything very modern in that class or at least not from the first day.

 After the first ten minutes, she was very comfortable posing as a goddess shooting an arrow at a centaur and then being seductive, half covering herself with a very silky and transparent tissue the teacher provided for her. They were there for more than an hour until the assistant told her she could grab her clothes and dress. They told her they would call her in order to know if she had gotten the job. She asked if she could know how much they paid and the mentioned the number. It was a very good one.

 She got the job and worked there for her whole third year. She had to arrive to some early classes, which was awful because of the cold, but the teacher was always kind enough to bring a portable heater for her not to freeze. Then she would go to her classes and sometimes she would come back late in order to pose for the advanced students.

 Sam didn’t really tell many people about her job. She certainly didn’t tell his parents. They were happy enough seeing their daughter knew how to move around in the world. And only a couple of friends knew. They even went once and told her how odd it was that no one really saw her but instead saw her body as if it was some other person. It was very strange.

 That year, se won a lot of money. With that and a job she got the following summer, she was able to pay her last year of acting school. She kept modeling during that year but she didn’t do as many hours because the audition part of her life had begun and she really had to be looking for all the parts possible. Once she graduated, she began to do so more actively, landing roles in plays and even movies.

 Her breakout role was the one of the heroine of a post-apocalyptic story involving zombies. She signed on for one movie but two more were made. After that, she did more elaborate stuff like a costume drama that happened in Africa and another where she was a woman that had a very awful disease that was deemed incurable for many years. For that one she received the most praise and Sam was even considered for many awards. It was the best time of her life because she got to travel a lot.

 When she turned 28, she got the role of a woman trying to save millions from genocide in a war that people didn’t even talked about. Sam researched the role and actively pursued it for many months until they chose her over many better-known actresses. She was careful about every aspect of the role and was able to do her best performance ever. That year was a whirlwind for her as everyone praised her work and called her a “revelation” and things of the sort.

 She began being nominated for many awards. Every time it happened she would call the director of the film, a woman called Flora, and they would chat for hours about it. However, something happened that would sour their happiness for a while. Someone had gone through Sam’s past and had found the portraits she had posed for and some pictures too, as she modeled for the photography students too. The tabloids had a field day and everyone else started to talk solely about that and not the movie.

 Sam apologized to Flora but the woman told her never to do that. She hadn’t done anything wrong and it was nothing that would affect her forever. She encouraged Sam to be herself and confront the issue as herself and as no one else. And so she did. She released a statement and even made a video that went viral, when she explained how she had always trusted herself and wanted everyone to feel the same way.

 She showed everyone that she was not ashamed but rather proud of being a woman that did not have to hide or feel bad because others wanted her to feel like that. She had made a life by her own hand and she was also proud of that. In her video, she invited every woman to be comfortable in their skin, take nudes pictures or just looking themselves at the mirror and accepting who they were because everyone is one of a kind.

 Many attacked for the way she saw the world, mostly men. But she had decided she would never care about what destructive people thought. She knew most people were not like that, she knew they would all see what she meant, where she was coming from.


 Her chances of having a great career were never harmed after that. She eventually won an Academy Award and went on to pose for magazines naked, in order to prove that they couldn’t take her down or shame her. Sam was there to stay.

jueves, 16 de abril de 2015

A story of nudes


   I wanted to make myself visible. I had to do it in order not to feel imprisoned in the shadows, away from all that happened in the world. I needed to feel alive and wanted. So I started taking pictures using the few notions I knew of photography. At first, they were only pictures I had taken for assignments. They could be qualified as casual but also as artistic. I didn’t wanted them to be just pictures but also proof of what my life was like. So everywhere I went, I carried the camera. My father had bought me one and the moment I got it in my hands I started shooting. Every interesting plant, every nice sunset, every park or animal. I would take pictures of everyone of those and more.

 But at one moment I needed to do something else, something others were not doing and by others I meant the people around me. And the answer was obvious: nude pictures. No one was daring to do them. Was it maybe because I was twenty years old? Or was it that people are generally afraid of their own body? Who knows? But what I did know was that I needed a way out, a way to feel like myself, even if I had to do it all alone. I had tried dying my hair blue, changing my clothes, just being different from who I had been the past years, the last ones of school and first ones of college. I needed something to be only mine.

 So the first picture I took naked was of my legs. I wasn’t actually naked but it was the beginning of that time for me. I tried different tricks with lights and editing in various ways. I also took some shirtless pictures, never revealing my face. After all, everything that goes into the Internet may never be truly erased. People were going to see me and, even as much as I wanted to be out there, I wasn’t ready to show my face.

 With those first pictures, friends and other acquaintances praised my attempts for a more personal photography. They liked the way I edited my pictures and how I posed in them. After all, they were very personal and did tell tales about me to people. I was very happy to see that they were liked. Not universally but, after all, I was just learning. I didn’t wanted to be a photographer and did not pretended to be one. But I was learning so much about it that I immediately felt fascinated for an art that I had never truly reflected about.

 Back then; I liked it because it was something I could do alone. I love cinema but that needs a team to become a reality. I’ve never cared about the making of music so that wasn’t really an option and my hands are not made for the subtle and gentle work of a painter or a sculptor. No, it had to be photography. How the camera felt, the various shots to get the one I loved, the experiments I did based on what I was learning. It was all so attractive to me and, to some extent, it still is.

 I took the following step almost a year after opening a public Internet account to show my pictures. I had put on flowers, landscapes, sites, and my headless body. So the next step was showing more. I decided to show my face but not my penis. I didn’t want it to be the center of attention, not that it is anything special. But human nature is always governed by the animal feelings and it is obvious that people looking at a naked picture will always stare first at the genitals and then see the whole picture. We all do it and there’s nothing wrong with it but I wanted that distraction out so I took all pictures covering it or cropping the picture just right or even just turning around and showing my butt instead.

 Comments started pouring on the website. They were all very kind and many even racy, which I appreciated too. Friends and others were not as enthusiastic, rather focusing on the fact that I was naked and not so much on the pictures as such. They asked me if I wasn’t afraid of showing my face naked in public but I answered that there was nothing people could do with those pictures to me. They couldn’t threaten me because I had taken the first step. I’m not ashamed of my decision and I stood by it. And if someone sent one of them to my parents, as improbable as that would be, I would acknowledge my art and leave it at that.

 I have to clarify myself, though. The pictures were also an experiment for something else. They were not just about experimenting photography and having an artistic outlet that I had lacked for a long time. It was also, nudity to be more specific, a way to make people see me and judge me. I wanted to put myself out there and be bombarded with comments, good or bad. For a long time, a very long time, I had dealt with insecurity issues and I felt nudity would help me with those problems. And it did.

 With those pictures, and seeing so many more taken by a variety of men, I realized I wasn’t hideous or awful. I understood that the wide range of body types is what makes the human body beautiful. Of course, being gay, there is a beauty standard as there is one for straight men too. But homosexuality is more focused on how you look and any gay man who says they had never had an issue with that is lying. We judge each other harder. Maybe it’s because of the stereotypes that had been imposed for years but there is a certain idea of how a homosexual man has to look like and just be. And that was why I needed those pictures. I needed to prove myself and others that I could be who I am and people would like that.

 Yes, I did to receive approval. And that was the rotten seed that I never really paid attention to. It slowly grew for all those years, more than six to be exact, in silence. Meanwhile, I was successful with my experiment. People liked the way I got naked. At one point, I decided to post one picture fully naked and it was clearly one of the more successful ones in the account. After that, I just kept experimenting: shadows, lights, colors, places… It was all about the body. I still uploaded some other types of pictures that I liked but people seemed to be not very interested in them. Back then, I started to notice mostly men were adding me as their friend and the number grew a lot during the years. I have no idea how many contacts I had in there but I know they were thousands. Yes, thousands.

 Then, people got bold and started to ask for types of pictures, even more revealing ones. I said no to all of that. I was going to make a porno picture just because people wanted it. It wasn’t what I was looking for, to arouse anyone. My goal of helping myself with the pictures was, I believed, successful. Oddly enough, it was a time I had no one to share my new securities with. That was when I realized there was something wrong. Why were they thousands of man complimenting me online but in real life not even one dared to say anything to me? I tried giving the first step and that was always a failure. I cannot remember how many failed dates I’ve had. All of the crumbling fast after just a few words have been exchanged.

 Then came the people that denounced my pictures on the site where I had them. Each time I uploaded a picture, I left it without any safety advice on in order for more people to see it. After all, it was a picture of the human body, not from a corpse, or sexual or a violent act. But no. People started pouring saying my pictures were not adequate for the website. A website that had thousands of users pouring in only to check out naked men and women. If there’s something that I hate is hypocrisy and that was just the best example of it I had ever seen.

 I finished college and the rotten seed then activated, still silently. My old worries came back. Every picture I took was mediocre next to the other older ones but I decided to ignore that and do something else with my life. I traveled, I did other stuff and I even did some new things with my pictures and people liked them but less than before. And the opponents were still there, trying to push me off the edge.

 When I came back home one day, I realized they had succeeded. My account had been erased. The details are not important but I then suffered a very great depression. The rotten seed had finally won, all because I had made the wrong decision years ago. I kept failing in life, the future looked pitch black and now, what had been my only creative outlet for years, had been erased permanently. I was angry and outraged but also sad and vulnerable. A failed attempt to have a relationship pushed me to an abyss, from which I barely came out.

 Eventually I found out photography had lost most of its appeal to me. I still like to look at them and appreciate them but I haven’t held my camera in some time. Selfies, sure. Artistic photos, not really. I also found myself another outlet, one you are witnessing right now. And, to be honest, I hope I never have to leave this one, as it keeps me going, as photography never did. It was a stage in my life but that is the past. The present is this and the future… Well, let’s hope it’s there.