Guidelines for Safe(er) Erotic Modeling

After the topic came up on a favorite podcast of mine, I wanted to lay out my thoughts on precautions and guidelines to consider when you’re looking to model for sensual/erotic/BDSM/nude work, particularly if it’s a TFP (trade for pics) shoot.

While there are plenty of artists out there who do this sort of thing for the art, there are also a shit ton of skeevy folk (mostly, but not exclusively men) who are shooting for their own personal spank-bank, the power trip, or worse.

Participating in this type of shoot can be empower and fulfilling, but it can also leave one feeling awful, or be downright dangerous. So with that in mind, here are some guidelines to consider:

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The Dawn of 2017

 

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The sun at last has set on 2016, and I’m glad to see it go. It was a year that saw a seemingly endless cavalcade of personal, cultural, humanitarian, and political horrors. From my mother’s cancer battle, to my father-in-law’s suicide, to the protracted shit-show of the US election, and so many other individual and collective struggles, the last twelve months have been simply brutal.

www.winterwindphoto.comAnd although it is tough to summon up much optimism for the coming year, the dawn of 2017 nevertheless found me watching for the first light of a new year, having returned Camp Ellis, where I shot my Solstice vigil photos. There were other places I might have gone, but after my dispiriting Solstice dawn, I wanted to try again for a joyous sunrise, rather than the miserable one that ended the Long Night.

There are two reasons why I shoot the sunrise of January 1st every year, and they are both so vitally important to me:

The first is that shooting the sunrise is itself a profound act of hope. Against a black sky, it is difficult to know what a sunrise will look like. Even with weather radar and satellite maps, the sunrise is something of a mystery until it happens. When I am packing up my gear and loading everything into the car, I am committing to a course of action based solely on the hope that the sunrise will be worth the effort. And if there is one thing above all else that I have to hold close to my heart going into the new year, it is hope.

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The second reason is intimately linked to the first. It may not be possible to live without hope, but it is equally true that it isn’t possible to succeed without making the best of the hand that the Fates deal us. I made a commitment both to shoot the sunrise of the new year, and to share that sunrise with all of you. With that as a given, I have no choice but to make sure the results are worth being seen. That puts me under no small amount of pressure, but I need to be able to use that pressure to make myself and my art better.

In the divination system of the magical/mystery www.winterwindphoto.comtradition I belong to, we talk about the Left Hand, in which we hold close the things that we use to shield ourselves from an often harsh world, while in our Right Hand we hold that which we put out into that world. Making an effort to be mindful of what I’m holding close to heart and what I’m putting out into the world is a perspective I find particularly useful to my mental and emotional well-being.

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And so as the sun rose on the first dawn of 2017, I held hope in my left hand and hard work in my right.
I suspect that we all will need an abundance of both before the last sun sets on the coming year.

Through the Long Night in Three Photos

Of all the celestial holidays, none resonate as strongly for me as the Long Night of the Winter Solstice. Poised at the cusp between the waning and waxing year, the Long Night is a pause in the flow of time. That moment between birth and a baby’s first breath when all things horrifying and glorious feel equally possible, when the world holds its breath, waiting for an answer to the eternal question of “what’s next?”

For several years, photographing the sunrise that ends the Long Night has been a tradition of mine. It is my way of acknowledging the return of hope and light in a dark world. This year however, I decided to incorporate my art into the fullness of my Long Night vigil.

Part I – Into the Dark

The sun is already near to kissing the horizon when I arrive at the Camp Ellis pier for the first of my three shoots of the Solstice. The night’s cold fingers are already caressing the dock when I get down to the place I’ve chosen for the first of my photos. Against an almost painfully empty sky, save for a few flaming clouds in the west, the dying sun’s warm rays fight a loosing battle with the cool blue of fast encroaching shadows.

Then, so fast one could blink and miss it, the sun is gone from the world; the Long Night has gripped my little corner of the world.

Part II – Heart of the Night

The midpoint between dusk and dawn sees me back at the pier, but this time I haven’t come alone. Despite being unwell, my husband has elected to join me for this part of my photography-vigil. Neither of us wanted the other to be alone in the deep of the Long Night, when tradition holds that we gather with friends and loved ones to shelter against the darkness.

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My Summer’s Dawn

Summer's Dawn

The winter’s dark and cold have finally relinquished their hold on us, and not a moment too soon. Here in southern Maine, Beltane marks the turning point passed which snow, while not impossible, would at the least be a surprise, and wouldn’t last long.

We’re into the time between Beltane and Solstice, a fertile time for growth and beginnings. It’s a scary, but also exciting time in my own life right now. My day job, which I’m generally fond of doesn’t pay enough to cover my share of our bills. In six months, with my folks’ retirement, we will lose the generous financial support that has helped keep us afloat.

The pressure of needing to look for more income has forced me to finally actively pursue answers to some of my lifelong health issues, in the hope that new management strategies could make it easier for me to stay healthy enough for work.

It’s also led me to ask some of the really big and complex questions about who I am and where I want to go with my life and my Work. My Lady affords me quite a lot of freedom in many ways, and that freedom can be both heady and scary.

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