A bit sad

One of the sub-groups that I really wanted to photograph for the #barenakedtruth project was gay families. One guy I know expressed an interest in joining in the project but ultimately he did not but when he said maybe I thought he and his husband would be great. We did photograph several couples and they were some of the most rewarding for me. Seeing that genuine affection and connection was beautiful. Nearly everyone of the 100 that we photographed were nervous but seeing that nervous energy turn into playful affection with the couples really made me smile.

When I thought of my friend and his husband I also thought it would be adorable to shoot the two of them with their gorgeous little son that they had through a surrogate about 4 years ago. Then I remembered that the world can be a sad and vicious place and people would see a beautiful discreet nude photo of two loving fathers and a son and cry about child porn or pedophilia.

Sure, there are bad people in the world but they are far outnumbered by the good ones and these two guys are working damn hard to keep a very happy, loving home life and their little boy is a very happy well-adjusted little kid. A while ago I wrote about a photo I had seen on instagram of a father and his two little boys, nude on the shore of a lake in Sweden. It was an adorable photo of a much healthier attitude towards nudity than the U.S/Australian one where parents can’t be nude in front of their children without vile accusations. I still won’t post that photo for fear of recrimination.

As a result, there is a bit of a gap in our photographic project which is a shame, but a necessary omission I’m afraid.

Selfie therapy

The #barenakedtruth project was a fantastic exercise in body image and accepting yourself. Sadly it would seem I didn’t get the memo. The 99 other people dived into the project with an open mind even though some of them have been completely at odds with their own bodies since birth and others wear their scars or stretch marks with pride.

On Saturday morning before the first of the volunteer models arrived, I had my photos taken by the guy organising the project and today I’ve been in a horrible mood because I hate how my body looks. My body and I have always had a bit of a strained relationship. As a kid I was self conscious because I was so skinny and now I am unhappy because I’m struggling to keep weight off. All those years of taking my body for granted and it’s now fighting back by not doing all the things I want it to do. I’m a self confessed vain queen and I’m really struggling with the aging process.

What am I doing about it? Trying new things in the gym to motivate myself and get some results is a start. Eating healthier is another step that I am struggling to take. Discipline with food has never been a strong point. The last thing that I’ve decided to commit to is self portraits. That sounds weird I know but I’ve toyed with the idea of a range of self portraits before as a purely creative exercise but now I want to do it as a way to grow to accept my changing body if not learn to like it. Once a month I’m going to create a fully finished and creatively executed self portrait. Let’s see how it goes.

And that’s a wrap

After five long days of shooting, the #barenakedtruth project is finished the photography stage. Yesterday was a day that threw some curve balls at us. Josh that is the instigator and driving force behind the project was feeling ill yesterday and that developed into some very concerning chest pains so he spent the vast majority of the day in hospital being checked up. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be anything serious although he’s still not comfortable.

That meant I was greeting, doing release forms, herding people through and doing the photography from about 1pm to 10pm. Thankfully the inspiring, amazing, sad, fascinating stories of the people I was photographing more than made up for the stresses. When you hear about peoples stories it really puts some of your own problems in perspective.

Before this project I’d photographed one nude woman and two topless women. Now that number is closer to 30 or more plus a surprising number of trans men and women at all different stages of their transitions. To see all these people of all different shapes and sizes, some of them who have been at odds with their bodies for years, embrace this experience and put themselves out there has been so much fun and very enlightening.

I know nude women isn’t the usual material for this blog but I’m very proud of this project.

It’s in his kiss

Kissing. It’s a very personal thing and it seems very susceptible to chemistry. I’ve had people that I could kiss for hours without going any further and I will be turned on and as satisfied as it’s possible to be. Other guys I might be able to have some hot sex but the kissing is just not there. Usually if the kissing is off then the rest is off but not always.

Some guys save kissing for a relationship and when it’s just a casual encounter they don’t bother. I don’t apply such rules. On my way home from a friend’s place just this evening, I stopped by a football field grandstand that is between our houses that is a bit of a cruising area and found a guy getting a blowjob from another guy. The guy on his knees was doing a good job by the looks of it and the guy on the receiving end beckoned me over to join in. There wasn’t much I could do because they had a rhythm going and both got across the finishing line they were aiming for. While he was getting a good blow job the one that beckoned me over was groping my butt, and I his. I would have happily had a good kiss but he wasn’t up for it.

A good kiss while getting a blow job is great fun but he was a guy that just liked to be serviced I think. Seems a shame but I guess it is what it is. Since they both got what they were looking for I’ve come home without a kiss or anything more. Standard.

When did it change?

Over the course of the last two weekends I’ve photographed 74 people for the #barenakedtruth project and the vast majority of them I don’t know. Some of them I’ve photographed before but that would only be about 4 so far. Others I’ve known through friends or they have become good friends of mine themselves. Of course they are posing nude so there is a slight awkwardness at first when they take off the robe to start the shoot. So now I’ve seen a few more of my friends nude than I have before. Obviously for me it’s not an issue as I’m always going to nude beaches and hanging out with nudie mates.

There are still some friends that I’ve not been nude in front of and would feel very odd about it if I were. That is mostly because it would be very uncomfortable for them given their different attitudes towards nudity etc. One friend in particular still comments 9 months after I posted full frontals of myself on here about how he’s scared to read the blog just in case.

In years gone by it was perfectly normal for male friends to be nude together. YMCA swimming pools were mandatory nude swimming for men and by all reports it just was not an issue. When did it change? Was it a growing visibility and acceptance of homosexuality making straight men more uncomfortable? Or has it been the increased pressure to have a certain physique adding body image issues to the mix that women have had to suffer for a lot longer? Maybe in recent times it’s been compounded by camera phones and people worrying about being photographed.

Whatever the reason it’s a real shame that people are so uptight these days. If the #barenakedtruth project has taught me anything, it’s that no matter what your shape you can love the skin you are in and be comfortable with it. I’m still learning to love my aging body but working on it.

Gymspiration – Roo Hamer

When DNA share their Insta Stud I usually have a quick look and move on. A few of them have made my Instalicious posts and joined the list of people I follow for a good perve. Every now and then they share someone that stops me in my tracks. We all know I’m a sucker for the ridiculously pretty guys and Roo Hamer is one of them, but instead of serving up the usual affected boredom facial expressions of a lot of fitness models there is a twinkle in Roo’s eyes and a smile at play not far from the surface.

Given that I’ve just eaten a fast food meal with only 5 days until I have to pose for my own photos for the #barenakedtruth project I really do need a bit of gymspiration and I think Mr Hamer fits the bill perfectly. He’s ridiculously hot, with an unattainable body that I’ll never have and nor would I ever make the sacrifices necessary. Food and a nice glass of wine or a cold beer are far too pleasurable.

If you are interested, Roo is a bodyweight personal trainer in the UK and is a model and kite surfer in his “spare” time.

A beautiful tribute

In a beautiful tribute to the victims of Orlando, a month on these two gay circus performers created this video. It’s a duo Cyr Wheel routine which is an apparatus usually performed solo. As circus performers they have been told on many occasions that two men showing intimacy in an act would be too much for the audience but that was the whole point of this video. To stand strong in the face of adversity. Visibility and education is the only way to reduce discrimination.

You never know

Today we start the second (very full) weekend of photographing people for the #barenakedtruth project. It’s been a very rewarding and eye opening experience for me so far. The idea behind the project is that you can’t hate someone whose story you know. People’s stories have been fascinating. Norrie is the pioneer who transitioned from male to female who then stopped hormones and now identifies as somewhere in between. To Tom who said that he used to feel like a passenger in his own skin and that his reflection disgusted him.

One of the guys who is posing today is an actor and a very good looking guy with a really fit body but he is still nervous. He and I were chatting on facebook about the shoot and the topic of insecurities came up. He said he had plenty of those. That comment confirmed something that I’ve been thinking for a while. I’ve photographed some of the most beautiful guys in Sydney and a lot of them are just as insecure as those people who don’t fit the hot model image.

This project has given me faith in the people of the LGBT community. Some of the most warm hearted people have come and left themselves vulnerable in front of my camera. Vicki posed last Sunday and yesterday she had a double mastectomy in her fight against breast cancer. I am very grateful for everyone bringing their vulnerability and using that as a motivation to be bold and expose their #barenakedtruth for this project.

Freedom Trailer from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

Bless Berlin

On the weekend I found these images via the Accidental Bear. There is very little in formation to go with them. I am guessing from the little information that I have that they are the work of photographer Manuel Moncayo. I really love the relaxed, easy nature in which the men are all nude with each other. That is probably from a combination of two things. Their German-ness and the fact that (I’m assuming) they are a group of gay men who have probably, or will probably hook up.

I don’t say that in any judgemental kind of way. A lot of gay men, including myself have become great friends with people I’ve dated or hooked up with in the past. Most gay men have slept with at least some of their friends.

The relaxed way these guys are all just hanging out exploring the fields and woodland nude is so lovely. This pretty much epitomises the feeling I get from social nudity and relaxing nude in the sun. When I try and explain how liberating and freeing it is to people who haven’t tried it, this is the feeling I’m trying to express. Yes, we all look and check out everyone’s junk to see how we compare but that’s it. It’s another part of the body. Now let’s relax.

Hands off

As a photographer, when I deliver the final product to the client or, for my own creative work it is the final product. During a shoot of an hour or so I will take about 300 images. Then I will select the ones that I think are the best and begin the editing process. Sometimes that means lots and lots of work, adjusting colours, bringing out more details, reducing others and making lots of creative decisions to fully suit my creative “vision”. As the artist I am fully within my rights to change my mind and revisit that editing down the track but once it’s online that is it.

Today a model that I photographed reposted one of his images which I always appreciate. Unfortunately he adjusted the tone of the image making it much lighter and cropped out the watermark thereby cutting any credit for myself out of the image and making what is a larger project, all about him. It’s a very disappointing thing for someone to do. In this day and age of digital imagery and Instagram filters it is an unavoidable reality but it is one that I do not agree with.

I have now photographed this model twice and both times he has been late and a bit unprofessional. I have also seen some other behaviour on social media that doesn’t really sit well with me so I think I will step back and just not work with him again.

As a word of advice to anyone who has had professional images taken by a photographer, by adding filters, cropping or altering the image you are reducing all the photographers hard work, training and skill to very little. We are paid to do what we do because we are good at it. Hands off. I won’t tell you how to do your job if you don’t try and do mine for me.

P.S. The model is none of the lovely models in the images above.

Progress on the challenge

I’m a bit late in posting this but that’s mostly because I was late taking my photos. We are a month into the fitness challenge and I’m sure I’ve gone backwards. Last week I was sick and didn’t train at all. This week I think I’m almost back up to speed and just a bit tired from the weekend so I hauled my arse out of bed for the gym this morning. Visually there is no change for the better for me yet. That takes more work than I’ve been putting in. Gotta get back in that saddle.

Damien, on the far right has lost four kilos already (nearly 9lb) which is fantastic since he has some health issues stopping him hitting the gym. He’s been making good food choices and trying to get out and about. Great work Damien! It’s great to note that as someone living with depression, Damien has just picked up his life with his husband and moved back to the U.S. and has been smiling a lot more in his photos. The change has been good for you buddy.

Derek has joined in the challenge. He’s a reader from SoCal and also has a medical issue stopping him hitting the gym in the form of a hernia. Derek basically wants to just tone up a bit to feel better and be (even) more comfortable than he already is naked down at Blacks Beach with his mates.

What a weekend

This weekend I began shooting for the #barenakedtruth project. Prior to this I had photographed exactly one nude woman several years ago. There were a couple of other pregnant women that went topless but nude, the tally was one. In the space of one weekend I have now taken that tally up by several. I’ve also added a few members of the trans community to that list as well and to be honest I feel very privileged.

While I’ve often felt like the LGBTIQ+ community is fractured and not all that cohesive, this weekend I’ve seen the other side. There really are way more reasons to feel like we are all part of a shared journey than walking separate roads. No matter what our coming out story is or when we have done it in life, we have all faced uncertainty, fear and mostly a sense of relief once we are out. There has been a real sense of liberation, unity, joy and fun in the shoots so far. 32 portraits down, 50 next weekend and more the following Saturday.

I’ve had the honour of shooting a 57 year old trans woman who is two years into her transition and has a brand new vagina. I’ve shot two couples, one of them gay, the other lesbian and that was beautiful. One of the most inspiring stories was the gorgeous funky lesbian who is battling breast cancer, gave the most amazing hug when she arrived and is facing a double mastectomy this week. She’s emotional but brave and she may even come back and shoot after he surgery.

Getting people out of their comfort zone, nude, in front of a camera seems to inspire a sense of freedom and playfulness rather than fear and I’m very grateful. Sadly I can’t share any of the images just yet, but as they go live tomorrow I’ll show some of them later in the week.

Aussielicious Men Trailer from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

Just a cheeky flash

Those lucky buggers in Scotland are always just a gust of wind away from a good flashing. You have to love a country that has a piece of clothing for it’s national dress that is easy to flash and is traditionally worn without underwear.

The kilt has been hijacked by gay men to wear at dance parties fairly regularly over the years and in their camp hey day they were really short. The longer more traditional kilts look great on a sexy rugged man and even better when those sexy men sit down, legs wide and forget about the view they might be offering. Of course the sporren is designed to keep them modest but as these guys show, that’s not always in the plan.

 

More of Andrew

Last weekend’s shoot with Andrew was a photo shoot in two parts. The first part with the billowing shiny fabric I posted earlier in the week. The second half was a bit like a more boldly coloured throwback to my Tribe series or even the Shrouded series. I ordered some coloured powder online which turned out to be a hell of a lot more bold in colour than anticipated. It also had more effective coverage than anticpated. Neither of which was a bad thing. Andrew was such a good sport and willingly let me throw this almost flourescent  powder all over him while standing nude in a big chilly photographic studio.

I didn’t really have a specific image in my mind with this part of the shoot but we both had a laugh and I think got some pretty cool images. Are they going to win any awards? Probably not. Are both Andrew and I happy with them? Yes indeed.

It’s always a pleasure to work with models who are just happy to be a part of the creative process. Andrew has a great “real” job that keeps him busy but doing photo shoots like this satisfies his creative urges.

Got my hopes up!

A few days ago I saw this link but didn’t read the article or watch the video. When I saw the headline that a nude gym had opened up somewhere in the world I smiled at the thought that maybe it would spread across the world. It’s no secret that I love the idea of a nude gym.

Then I watched the video and it’s just a piss take, funny video from a bunch of South African youtubers. It still looks like they had a lot of fun filming the video even if you can’t really tell whether they were actually nude or not. I know there are sports centres in places like Paris that have nude sessions. When is that going to migrate down under?