Male Nudes... or Nah?

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Looking through my body of photography, my photo work often feels overwhelmingly unbalanced. I don't typically shoot male nudes (for reasons that will be discussed in another blog post), but I think I need to capture more men with a similar vulnerable, appreciative, and non-judgmental approach that I aim to photograph women. 

I have a private Instagram page @UnashamedGrownWomanShit, where I post some of the uncensored nude images I've captured over the years. I've recently wondered what place male nudity has in Unashamed Grown Woman Shit. Can it be used to create positive dialogue in a space that generally I've curated to celebrate women? While I shoot what I want, I try to honor how people connect to what I do. 

So I asked a question... "Should @UnashamedGrownWomanShit include male nudity?" I got a ton feedback! I found it interesting, because 76% of you that replied to the survey (mostly women),  wanted me to share male nudity on the page. However, 50% of the comments said "No".

I loved the thoughtful feedback, and I'll share a few responses that resonated with me. 

"As a woman I don’t want to be ashamed of the pleasure I experience from observing bodies, female or male (or other forms that don’t fit so snugly into the binary for that matter.)"

" I feel like the page has made it a positive space for women to appreciate women who have bodies as their own that they may not have otherwise felt comfortable in. It's so body positive and for women society is still not as progressive as it should be when it comes to women's bodies and celebrating them and not just seeing them as means of sexual gratification because that is not our purpose on earth. I just feel like having men on the page would distract from that. "

"I’m here for [CHD:WCK!'s] view. The fact that what he creates makes us feel positive about ourselves is a bonus. If he chooses to include men in his art here, and it provides the same honesty and positive thoughts in men then it’s not an infringement but an expansion that is needed more than ever."

"I think it’s important to have this space for women to be expressive and free without infringing on that. Sure, the male form is beautiful but in a space that was originally intended to depict women it can seem a bit intrusive."

"Art how you wanna art man. If it feels like your headed in the right direction... Go there. If you aren't sure take your time.... (but I do think you received some great feedback concerning impact of your art which is definitely worth taking into consideration)"

At the end of the day, I create in order to bridge gaps... to share things I think are beautiful and not celebrated enough. I create so I can see things that I don't get to see enough. But when I share the work, i share it for you!

Overall, my decision is to keep @UnashamedGrownWomanShit focused on the female form. I will look to curate my work in a way that shares even more things and body types that I believe are not celebrated enough. However, the work posted here will only be a portion of what I capture and create. Occasionally, male nudity will creep into the page. But the comments I received made me realize that on the rare occasions when this happens, I want to try to share the male form in a way that still promotes the feminine viewpoint - PERHAPS even requesting submissions of nude men taken by women in this audience. 

As I expand my creativity, I will definitely be sharing more nude work celebrating male, women, and non-binary experiences. If interested,  you will be finding more of these types of work at http://chdwck.com/ and https://www.patreon.com/chdwckart, and if you see fit to support my efforts to maintain safe spaces to share my work in an uninhibited way, I greatly appreciate it!

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Free to Be (pt. i)

I adore when Natasha and I get a chance to connect. 

My best work happens when the person I am photographing loves my work, and doesn't judge themselves for being a part of the process. When Natasha and I connect, all we know is that our goal is make dope images! She's not worried about how she looks. It's my job to make sure I capture her beautifully. We're not worried about peoples' judgment of what we create. That's none of our business. 

Today I asked her to bring a couple of outfits that I could shoot her wearing - and barely wearing. We rode around for a bit, looking for a fresh location, and once we found something, we got to work. I tell her what I have in mind. She tells me the options and suggests what she thinks might work. We Go! Because she trusts my work, neither of us have to be insecure about the strange direction I have to give to get what I see in my head. She knows all I want to do is make something amazing that we can share and be proud of.

This is a bit of what we did this July 4th. 

 

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In The Right Direction...

I always know "the next step", that's never been the problem. The difficulty is embracing the direction I need to go. Stepping out a place that is very comfortable (for better or worse), when I only know where I'm placing my next step.

Knowing you're on the right path is a fortunate thing, and I do believe I'm headed in the right direction. But it's a struggle to face my fears. I guess I have to struggle then. There's work to do, and places to go! Everything I want is on the other side of fear. 

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Where Ya Goin' ?

Truth is, we usually don't know where people have been,
or where they're going.

Reset.

This is one of my favorite young people on the planet. I've known Daveed for just over 9 years now, and it has been great watching him grow up.

Sometimes a young man needs to experience some new things in life to grow, so this young man made the move away from his home and fam in North Carolina to reside in Houston, TX. Here are a few of the moments I captured of him the day before he made the move away.

I'll miss him and that huge smile, but I look forward to watching him live, learn,  and overcome new challenges to become all that I know he is capable of (and more). He's a man now!!!! 

A Place To Be Free...

There is something about being able to create images that feel so free. I love that we didn't have to leave the city to make create this experience. Celebrating the beauty of brown skin. It's natural to me. The representation of brown beauty is underwhelming... I capture the beauty I wish others to appreciate.

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JESSICA PRESCOTT - A ZEN ERA

"Follow on IG @madzetetic"

"Follow on IG @madzetetic"

When I first moved into my space at C3 Lab, one of the first artists I took note of was Jessica Prescott. She had a lot of photography work in her space. But the images had poems collaged to them. They were cut out and sewn into. It was more than photography. It was beautiful. It was just the type of thing I want to do with my images, but the final result is nothing like what I want my finished work to be. I could be inspired without copying!


Almost immediately after moving into my space – well, possibly right before, Jessica starting to switch her focus from photography to painting. But she wasn’t creating images of representational things with color. She was just exploring painting. Exploring what paint does. Working with the paint - pouring it on the surface, pulling paint, scraping paint. Sometimes unmoved by the painting she made, she'd completely cover it with more paint, and continue carving into the paint. Gluing things onto the paint.

Of the 8 or 9 artists I share the space with, Jessica is among the people I see most frequently. I enjoy our conversations, and we often discuss her new endeavors in painting. She doesn’t always seem to know the desired result of her explorations, and she often doesn’t like the "finished product". She just knows that she enjoys the process, so she keeps going until she reaches a pleasing result. It is an intuitive, whimsical, and earnest process. She doesn’t appear to over-think it. It seems very Zen.

That’s something I’m a fan of. Commit to your creative process and enjoy it. I don’t think it’s our job to judge the things we are fascinated with. I think our job is to follow our fascinations. Follow them and allow them to teach us something about ourselves or present circumstances. What do these fascinations mean? Are they helpful or harmful? How do people connect with them? As we learn the significance of what we are doing, how can we do it better?

So, that is something I want to do more. Plant the seed. Water the seed. Watch to see what fruit it produces.

She is also doing something cool with worms.

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