It’s over to you

Nearly a month ago I posted that as part of learning to accept the aging process and grow more content with my body, I was going to do a creative self portrait photo once a month for a while. Well, four weeks later and I haven’t made a start. I haven’t changed my mind at all but there has been a snag. I’m completely devoid of ideas. Life has been so busy in the past few weeks that attempting anything elaborate just hasn’t been an option and apart from a cheeky nude selfie when I was location scouting on Saturday, there hasn’t really been a good opportunity to do anything, let alone come up with a concept.

This is where you all come into it. Lots of you have been reading this blog for years and I really love your ongoing support, encouragement, comments and sometimes the challenging feedback about things you believe I might have gotten wrong. As a friend said to me on the weekend, I share a lot on this blog. Possibly too much. Those of you that have been reading the blog for a long time now have a pretty good idea of who I am and I’m sure you have some ideas on how you think I should photograph myself.

The challenge is now being thrown to you. Keep it legal but I want to hear how you see me portraying myself in a creative sense. Photoshop and a bit of trickery is more than allowed, as are raw and simple, honest ideas with no smoke or mirrors. The ideas don’t have to be nude either, the photos above are just some beautiful self portrait examples from (left to right) Alex Stoddard, Mikel Marton, Nick Turner, Lars Stephan and Stephan Tobias.

And… GO!

Somewhere new.

Two weeks ago I visited somewhere new. It’s always been somewhere that I’ve thought about visiting but didn’t think I could ever get there, that it was even a possibility.

It all came about from having a long conversation with a very dear friend. It was one of those deep and meaningful conversations that flows naturally and ends up somewhere quite unexpected, like where I am now. The friend I was chatting to is one of those people who has a real knack for cutting to the heart of a conversation and pulling out the important bits while making you see them in a new light.

So what did he say and where am I that I’ve never been before? Well, the first part of that question will remain unanswered. It was a long and insightful conversation during which he challenged me in the nice, non-confronting way that he does and the discussion itself isn’t important to the story.

The place that this conversation has delivered me to is one full of freedom and relaxation. It is a magical land where I have realised that I am perfectly comfortable being single. Sure, a bit of romance and physical intimacy would be wonderful but a shift in perspective has let me see that my life is great as is and if that person never comes along, oh well. There are bound to be times where I feel lonely again but hopefully I won’t dwell on it so much. On the weekend I saw a guy that I haven’t seen in about 18 months. In the past he had said to me that he could smell the desperation for a husband coming off me. This weekend he said that I look really relaxed and different.

Good times to come.

But… why?

This afternoon I was having a lunch up at the local pub with Andrew after the photo shoot this morning. We walked in and the pub was packed with people and very quickly we realised there was some kind of pay-per-view hyper-masculine sporting event on because there were extra tv’s set up in the pub.

It turns out it was an MMA fight featuring Conor McGregor (pictures from this year’s ESPN body issue). As you might expect the pub was full of mostly straight men all glued to the event, very invested in the outcome. I’ve never understood the appeal of boxing as a sport and that comes with padded cloves. The appeal of Mixed Martial Arts is even more elusive to me. McGregor’s opponent, despite being a clear contender in the close final result, was covered in his own blood at the end of the fight.

What is it about straight men that a sport where to men kick, punch and wrestle each other to the point of considerable injury, is something they get passionate about? We were watching completely mystified in the appeal of the sport. Sure they are supremely fit and tough as hell but why do we celebrate that kind of violence? Andrew and I kept thinking when they were up against the side of the arena grappling that it looked more like they were stopping for a quick tender hug before having a bit more of a fight. Of course if we’d mentioned that to any of the crowd in the pub we’d have been thrown out, possibly as bloodied as the loser of the match.

Sorry, but it’s just senseless.

The exciting part

Every time I really start to plan a trip, there seems to be two phases. The first always seems to have been about 15-16 months out from the end date when you first decide on roughly where you want to go and when. Then there is the phase I’m just entering. About ten months from now, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be jumping on a very long flight to Reykjavik, Iceland for the first of three nations I plan on visiting.

This weekend I’m catching up with a friend who is probably going to join me in Iceland to talk about what we want to do and vague logistics. Then in the afternoon I’m catching up with a very good friend who is going to join me in Greece. We just need to decide if we are going to sail with the same people I sailed with in Croatia last year or do our own thing. I’m inclined to do the sailing trip. It’s a nude trip and sailing seems to make sense in Greece.

There is a bit in between where I will take myself to Germany, probably Cologne and Berlin, to soak up the friendliness and nakedness of Germany.

This is the really fun phase because it all feels like it’s really happening. Once I’ve discussed all the details with friends, I’ll lock in holiday leave. Four weeks in one go is a lot to ask of my boss but I think he’ll understand. It makes sense to take that much time if I’m going all that way and I have lots of holidays owing already, let alone in nearly a year’s time.

The photos above are from my naked adventures in (left to right) Croatia, Spain and Denmark last year.

They just keep giving

We all know the people of Finland gifted the world with the magic of the traditional sauna where people sweat out their worries and leave their inhibitions outside, if they had any to start with. This video from Youtuber Timo Wilderness (what a great name!) also tells us that they are gifting the world with nude swamp mud wrestling. Sadly this video is censored but maybe the mud was cold. It is Finland after all.

The thought of all those Viking types wrestling nude in the mud isn’t exactly a terrible image to have in your head. I like that Timo even flies the drone from in the swamp at the beginning of the video and later you can see him below the drone standing nude on the path leading from the swamp to the house/sauna.

Ah Europe, you are the naked gift that just keeps giving. People wonder why I’m planning on going back!

Paper whimsy

This weekend I’m doing a second photoshoot with Andrew. Last time I photographed Andrew was in the studio and we did two different setups, with silvery fabric and another with red powder. This time we are heading outside and continuing a vague theme I’ve been playing with, paper and whimsy. Sometimes I think it’s sad that adults get caught up in the tedious day to day and forget how to play and have fun like kids.

In the shoots above, with Laria, Stephane & Ben and Tim I photographed them with paper/origami props and this weekend I’m photographing Andrew with a hand made kite. The kite is still to be made but I have the necessary equipment ready to go. I just need to make the time to see what I can do.

It always makes me smile when models come back to do more shoots with me. I guess it gives my ego a bit of a boost to know that people feel comfortable coming back to work with me again. There have been so many stories over the years of photographers touching models inappropriately or being really sleazy and I do my best not to be like that.

Fingers crossed the beautiful weather we’ve been having continues and we get some great photos.

Lots to learn

I’m the kind of person, it would seem, that needs to keep setting new challenges for myself. At work there isn’t a lot of work to be done at the moment so I’ve set myself a new challenge and given myself a new skill to learn. Video editing is something that I’ve wanted to learn for a long time bit it’s always seemed a bit daunting. This weekend though I finally started. I’ve watched a few introductory videos for some software that I have access to and dived in. Kind of literally.

Armed with some very basic knowledge, I’ve thrown together this very basic video from my sailing trip in Croatia last year. It’s far from good but it’s a start. It’s something I’ve done in just an hour or so today so in reality I could have spent a lot more time on it but I didn’t actually have very much footage from the trip. Sometimes no matter how daunted you are by learning a new skill, you don’t realise just how much you have to learn until you start to learn it.

Now I know that I need to learn how to colour grade the footage to make it all a bit more uniform, edit more closely to the music and to find the right resources to find free music. Then there is the whole process of actual editing with more finesse. I think that might be a longer process so in the mean time, enjoy this short, clunky video. There is nudity!

Sailing Croatia from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

What’s the problem?

A few days ago British divers Chris Mears and Jack Laugher took out the Gold medal in the synchronised 10m diving competition in Rio. That made them the first non-Chinese gold medalists in diving at the games so far. They weren’t expecting to win and understandably the boys were very excited and showed it in their celebrations on the side of the pool with Jack jumping up to hug Chris. The Daily Mail in the UK seemed a little put off by that comparing them to their Chinese counterparts who had a “Manly pat on the back” suggesting the British boys were going a bit too far.

Really? Is the British stiff upper lip so threatened by two straight men hugging in celebration of a fantastic achievement? It’s headlines like theirs that continue that myth that men aren’t allowed to show emotion. Most people have moved forward and realised that attitude hasn’t done well for mental health over the years but apparently people like the Daily Mail, not so much.

I personally, am all for people being able to express emotions freely. I cry in movies easily. I’ve even been known to cry in tv commercials. It warms my heart to have a hug from a good straight mate who doesn’t care about masculinity or sexuality. These guys live together, they own an apartment together, their girlfriends all hang out and they are best mates who train for hours per day together. Why not celebrate their win?

It’s classic Bruce

Bruce Weber is an iconic photographer and one of the stylemakers of a generation. He has a very distinct style and brands with money go to him when they want something distinctly Bruce. He is the man who essentially created the look for Abercrombie and Fitch and photographed all the models for their infamous quarterly “catalogue” that didn’t have a lot of clothing in them.

What is Bruce’s style? Think a lot of black and white, 50’s styling with masculine leather jackets, impossibly beautiful fresh faced models both male and female. He uses lots of sports references like wrestling and basketball. Throw in some jazz music and a solid dose of homoeroticism and you are there.

The new video for Versace’s “Dylan Blue” fragrance has all the hallmarks of Mr Weber. Gigi Hadid is the star but let’s face it, Bruce is an older gay man who knows how to beautifully capture men. There are kisses all over this video, Gigi kissing a male model and for good measure there are two gorgeous male boxers throwing in a quick kiss. For the gays it’s a nod to our fantasies of the rugged straight man being open to experimentation and for the less evolved straight men who might baulk at the homoerotic nature it could be justified as a psych out tactic by the alpha male. Either way, the advertisement is sexy in a West Side Story meets Grease kind of way. Classic Weber.

"Dylan Blue" for Versace from Bruce Weber on Vimeo.

Mystery hotness

Today I was having a discussion with a mate about body hair and grooming. A new acquaintance that will potentially be a nudie buddy and I were talking body hair and we worked out that he is quite partial to a furry guy whereas if forced to choose, I’m more likely to go for a smooth guy. Maybe it comes from being pretty smooth myself while my friend is a bit furry, so that’s what we are used to. It’s just a thought really.

This guy (above) is a guy I came across on tumblr. I’ve tried reverse image searching to find out who he is but I’m not having any luck. Whoever he is, he’s just about perfect. His body is borderline too beefy for my taste, but spectacular nonetheless and his smooth deliciously tanned skin is doing all sorts of things to my eye candy sugar levels. The furry beard is more than enough of a nod to furry masculinity and I’d be quite happy if it got a good trimming.

Whoever he may be, he’s damned delicious.

I might have bought one!

After two classes in slacklining, today I ordered my own slackline kit. It feels quite impulsive but from the first class it felt inevitable. It’s been a while since I’ve found a new challenge physically and this is one that with a little equipment and two sturdy trees, I can practice almost anywhere. According to our teachers you are allowed to set up the slackline in public parks on any tree strong enough as long as you use the tree protectors and make sure no one is accidentally going to run or cycle through the line and hurt themselves.

I’m still a very long way off being able to do it well but while I can see at times I’ll get frustrated, it actually feels almost meditative because you can’t actually think about anything else while you are trying to walk the slackline. The two classes I’ve had have been a lot of fun and lots of laughs with small victories in there. I see a few afternoons spent in the park with friends in my future. It’s going to be fun.

Maybe one day I’ll be good enough to slackline nude like this guy!

Mardi Gras Slackline Aktion from One Inch Dreams on Vimeo.

Struggles and delays

Well it’s update time in the Fitness Challenge. We are two months in and I know I’ve been struggling with energy and motivation. Gym visits haven’t been as regular as they should be and food hasn’t been as good as it should be. I don’t know how much of it was being all tied up shooting the big photographic project on the weekends wiping my energy levels but now that’s over I can relax on weekends and dive into exercise during the week. I haven’t weighed myself or measured anything but I don’t feel like I’ve made any progress.

Derek has been ill and may also have partied a little bit during Pride so he doesn’t feel like he’s made any progress either. He’s also struggling with a hernia situation so his exercise options are limited. He is enjoying summer over in Southern California though so at least a day in the sun will make him feel good. Derek is a nudie so I’m sure that walk down to Blacks Beach helps with exercise.

Damien didn’t go into a lot of detail this time around but even though he hasn’t lost any weight as such, he’s gone down a belt notch which is a great step.

Let’s hope we all stay on track and keep making progress this month.

Making plans

Anyone that reads this blog will know I have an exceptional talent for over analysing things. Especially when it comes to the world of dating and romance I can take a simple text message and over think it until my eyeballs are hanging out of my head. My confidence in the bedroom has been on a steady decline ever since the American I got involved with a decade ago pretty much set fire to it and watched it burn.

In the years since, instead of letting it go and moving on I’ve let those hurts fester and get worse, sending my confidence from a little charred around the edges to needing full transplants. The lack of confidence is starting to spill over into my non-bedroom life, my work life and circus classes etc so it’s more than time to start doing something about it. I’ve recently found myself a GP that I like and feel comfortable with and we have an appointment at the end of the month (he’s going away) to sit down and create a mental health plan. If you get a referral from a GP you can get about 6 sessions with a therapist at a greatly discounted price.

Hopefully a bit of mental housekeeping will get those charred demons out from under my bed, and help me to start get my mojo back. I’ve let that asshole who ruined my confidence be in control for too long.

Aussielicious TV – Episode 8 – Brenton by… from Brenton Parry on Vimeo.

In full Bloom!

Two days ago, photos surfaced of Orlando Bloom paddle boarding with his girlfriend, Katy Perry. Nothing unusual about that except that Orlando was nude. Sadly there were black boxes over his junk. Of course the twitter sphere went nuts over analysing things and looking at the size of the shadow of his junk on his leg etc.
The internet being what it is we didn’t have to wait long for the uncensored ones to surface. People were asking “What was he thinking? Surely he knew he’d be photographed!” Maybe he did. He is a celebrity dating another even more famous celebrity after all but did we stop to think maybe he just doesn’t care?
People are saying it’s a publicity stunt but I think he genuinely doesn’t care. They had other friends with them and Orlando is just wandering around with his Bloom on full display.

The other shady part of the internet are saying things like “What’s the fuss about it’s not that big.” Does a cock have to be 4 foot long before we are impressed? No. When it comes to photos of celebrity cocks online people are either in the it’s big or it’s tiny camp. There doesn’t seem to be any acknowledgement of the reality of the very normal size cock. Besides, can we please acknowledge that Orlando has been in the water and still looks quite nice to me.

More power to you Orlando. If you are a regular nudist or if you are not, you’ve just planted the seed in a lot of people’s minds that not all nudity has to be sexual. Why not paddle board nude in Italy with friends. I certainly wasn’t aware how rocking his body was. Forgive me but I cropped Katy out of these photos. No one is here to see her anyway.

It’s just bonding.

Not too long ago, someone who reads this blog sent me a copy of a film called Steam of Life about Finnish men taking saunas together. Now sauna in this sense does not mean gay sex on premises saunas but rather the traditional Finnish sauna. The premise of the movie was that when the men sit in the sauna, sweating it out naked together, all the barriers come down. They opened up about struggles in their lives and things that they regretted. It wasn’t exactly a light-hearted film to watch but it was really interesting.

Personally I’m more of a steam room guy than a dry sauna. I find it too hard to breathe in a really hot sauna and prefer the moisture in the air that the steam offers. We don’t have a sauna culture here in Australia but I do find it really relaxing to sit in a steam room and sweat it out. Sadly I haven’t had many experiences with sitting in a sauna as a bonding experience or even just as a social thing with a bunch of mates. It strikes me that in the Scandinavian and other Northern European cultures where it is quite common that hours can be spent sweating, chatting, socialising and generally relaxing in the sauna environment.

Maybe on my intended trip to Iceland next year I might get some time in a more traditional sauna environment. Any Icelandic folks that read this blog and want to offer some tips?