I was going to title this post: “Nude posing in the age of innocence”, quite more elegant, but it would not be strictly true according to the text that justifies it, as well as the artwork attached.
Neither the writing nor the photographs are mine in origin, this time, but I have contributed to both things with some significative edition: translating the old manuscrite text by my sister from Catalan to English and composing a coloured mosaic with modified versions of an even older picture in black and white.
All of it goes about nakedness, innocent or saucy, and the shift between the two ways according to one’s needs and the pressure of life.
I will show first my mosaic, figuring an X (which may mean anything you want; but to me means a crossroads in life: the point in the way when innocence still shimmers briefly before changing to different possible attitudes –or to all of them, in different moments–, which I have represented with bright magenta, pale orange, royal blue and bloody red).
[You won’t see the pics assembled as I have done if you watch this post with the WP reader, so, if you are there, I beg you to visit the blog.]
Ari, my sister, wrote in a notebook, in May 1994, about her own big shift in life and the puzzling crossroads she had to face (mainly referring to the moment, more than a year before, when she left home) :
As a young teen (15 years and some months) one ought to be in school. If you are not because you have been fired or you have quitted it, and you are transgender and your family is mostly absent, broken or dysfunctional, and you need a job to make a living by your own means, you may find many, very promptly. No kidding at all.
The only requirements are two: 1/ Are you reasonably pretty and hot (or liable to be hot with some help and pushing) ? — 2/ Are you available for being banged soon –if not at once–, and many times in the foreseeable future ?
The first thing will be at sight to your employers (and clients, being crudely frank), but you will need to show the details, be it directly, stripping off in the place, or in some indirect way, presenting a set of pictures. The first and main point uses to be: “Let’s see your bum and bits”.
The second question –about been available–, if answered more or less affirmatively will need a factual confirmation promptly. No need to be an expert slut at your age, nor even much acquainted with sexual play and mating if you demonstrate disposition and have “good will”.
It is also true that you may effectively by-pass the sexual labours if you are lucky enough to have some specific physical traits: a tall and slim body with long legs, and you are really good at dancing and acting. Then, you may work as a show-girl or photo model or porno-actress and have much more freedom when the time comes (it always comes !) to face the sexual propositions –oftentimes they are strong and firm demands… and, in any case, very tempting financially; or unavoidable in order to keep your job–.
Two years have passed since the first time I faced these situations out of need. Then, it was to avoid, or at least dodge, bulling at school, but I did not learnt much from them, except not looking scared, forgetting all shame, disgust and remorse and, most especially, not choking often. Anyway, those troubles happened much from time to time, once a month or less. I never thought I would have to base my life on that kind of practice and some worse ones that I deeply wished to reserve for my own intimacy and incipient love life.
[Ari Fontrodona, May 1994]
At that early age she had already posed nude or half nude several times at home, just playing, and quite innocently so. She also liked to go naked, or at least bottomless, in her room, and both our parents and I would see her that way without any special consideration (nudism was a common practice in our small family, especially in spring and summer –never in winter, since we had a weak heating at home–; we even went to nudist camps on holidays).
However, about to turn sixteen, her attitude changed much, and for worse, in her new life. Even at home she was more self-aware and deliberate when going naked or lightly clothed; outdoors, she showed off, she sought to appeal, to be watched and complimented, photographed… (clearly this tourned her on, and now I understand better to which point this fact was relevant for her work: she needed to seduce herself before being able to seduce others). She wore makeup most of the time, wore some necklace and several bracelets or anklets, was always hair-dressed, wore scarce and short clothes…, looked hot. Also when she was reading or drawing on her bed. What changed her was her job, which absolutely involved the fact of a nice personal appearance, and required her to be pretty and ready at any time… also when tired or, even, when sleeping. But, innocence and some subtle kind of beauty were gone; not completely, to be sincere, and not for ever, but for many years.
I have searched my photo archives and hers and have found several photographs from that epoch that would show more or less these points (mainly the onset of sauciness), but for one reason or another (low quality image, age still too short, other persons figuring at her side, etc.) I want to keep them private. However, Ari had saved several pictures by Polish-French photographer Jean-Loup Sieff, and this one, from 1976, featuring an unknown model to me, not only fitted my purpose, but the girl itself looked very much like Ari in her mid teens: hair, figure –those grasshopper legs, even if artificially elongated here by the artist’s wide-angle lens–, nonchalant attitude, scarce commitment and scarce wish to please or seduce. I have guessed that Ariel liked this picture, among other things, because she identified herself with it to a point; maybe much; maybe deeply.
So, that’s it: I have worked in the photo and, in the end, I have considered that these coloured, much edited editions show well what was lost in Ariel, and what was going to come to her and her innocence in a day.
(Let me now clarify one point about me: I still feel guilty for not having stopped my sister’s shift of ways and life-style. I was older enough to understand where she was steadily drifting to, and I let her do, or even, sometimes, I did not want to look and to know.
Now, many years after, despite my own strayed ways, I am still a Platonic eroticist at heart, a believer of ingenuity and seeker of innocence both within me and all around. It is not an easy quest… When I watch this photo and a few others like it (very few nowadays), I long and yearn for a return to some innocence about love and human beauty, and of course about sex.
Below you may see the original photograph by Jean-Loup Sieff. (I like it much, but I can’t help but feel he should have given more presence and proximity to the model, special as she is; you cannot confine those legs and bum in a mere quarter of the photo…)