Friends. Photography. Adventure.

Category: Writing (Page 3 of 8)

Who was Albert Ede?

It’s no secret that I love shooting in cemeteries. You can rummage around my site or other people’s and you’ll find many examples me and my friends of getting naked with dead people! Something I often wonder when we’re having one of these adventures is what are the stories of the people who inadvertently feature in our photos? Tonight I decided to find out and with a little bit of rudimentary research amongst free public records I started to build a picture of Albert Ede’s life.


Born in the summer of 1886, Albert was the middle child of Thomas and Sarah. The couple were married young by today’s standards – teenagers. As newlyweds they lived on Isabella Street, which for Londoners, or those who know London well, is the little street just off The Cut where you’ll find lots of restaurants under the railway arches.

Albert’s birth was registered north of the river in Clerkenwell, which may have something to do with his father’s work as a brass molder; the area was a hub for watchmakers. However, by the time of the 1901 census the family were living just five minutes walk from Isabella Street on Cornwall Road. By then Sarah was a widow and 14-year-old Albert was a messenger boy.

The 1911 census tells us the family had then moved to Lothian Road in Brixton. Albert was 24 and single. His elder brother had moved out but his three sisters were all single and living at home. That four adults in their twenties should all be single and living at home with their mother fascinates me. In the early twentieth century this was very unusual. Did Albert ever marry? Without paying for his death certificate I can’t know for sure, but the dedication on this headstone is by Sarah to her son and two years after he died she was buried with him so it seems unlikely.

Albert didn’t live long enough to participate in the 1921 census – the war records show that he died on 25th January 1917, aged 30. He was Private Ede and serving in the Army Service Corp, the branch of the army that was responsible for coordinating logistics, from transport to stationery, food to fuel. He died at home in Brixton and was buried three miles away in Nunhead Cemetery.
I would love to know how he ended up with such a grand headstone when his family’s professions and circumstances would suggest a modest income. I’d love to know what he looked like, his personality, what impact his father’s death had on him, what his relationship with his mother and siblings was like, whether he had lovers.

In a parallel universe where the internet hasn’t delivered up the basic facts of a life lived more than a hundred years ago and where we can’t see that the dedication is from a mother to a prematurely departed son, I like to think of this second photo being one of those lovers visiting their “dear Albert.” Where Maria strips naked in the cemetery to feel as close to him as possible. I wonder what he’d think about his headstone being used in this way?

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Fat, beautiful, worthy

 

“The most attractive component to me of any woman is self-assuredness, willingness/ability to own their wants and desires, lack of concern about conforming. I’m obviously very visually stimulated and I think watching at a party is a great example of this; a ‘classically hot’ person who is boring is a whole lot less fun to watch than an average or whatever body type having a good time and feeling the moment.” American chap

A couple of weekends back I read a tweet that’s stayed in my mind. On the surface it was benign enough. A woman wondering why her friend was still single and listing various reasons why this was surprising – sparky, fun, bright. So far so good. The final thing on the list was “slim and pretty.” Someone responded saying they failed to see what being slim had to do with it. I took the lame option and fired off a rarely-seen-from-me subtweet about misogyny and women not needing fatphobia from other women.

Because comments like that are fatphobic. The subtext is that being slim is better than being fat. That being slim makes someone more worthy of finding a partner. And when slimness is held up as evidence in a case of ‘oh my God, I can’t believe you’re single’ then what does that infer about fat people who are not single? That they had some massive stroke of luck? That they must have bagged a partner and then ‘let themselves go’? That they’re a sympathy fuck? Even if this is not what people mean, when they hold up slimness as a barometer of attractiveness and worthiness then I can assure you that is what fat people will hear. It is what we are socially conditioned to hear.

Me: “What do you find attractive about me?”
Him: “I think it’s your mouth and your manner – the way you know exactly what you want and make sure you get it. Also the way my handprints look on your arse.”
Me: “My mouth as in what it does or what it says?!”
Him: “What it does, how it looks, what it says – it’s an all-round good mouth.”

The always brilliant Laura Williams wrote recently about why she’s no longer talking about weight and body image: “Yes, I am gorgeous. But on reflection, the only way to empower myself, and to also empower the women around me to accept their bodies in whatever shape and size they come in is to remove discussion around them full stop.” I grant you I am talking about it right now, but ignore that discrepancy for a moment and just absorb her wider point. Fat or slim, we all need to think a little bit more before we speak and become more comfortable in just being.

This post isn’t intended to be a massive dig at slim women – they have been subjected to the same social conditioning that all of us have. Fat women are just as bad at holding slimness up as a virtue. Whatever your size, when celebrating one type of woman puts another one down it is not a feminist action. And I believe it’s not all about how fat women are seen (although that is a huge part of it), it’s about changing the way we see ourselves too. We must stop thinking that our size and body shape is the defining benchmark of our attractiveness. We may not want to admit it but we are often our own worst enemies and in undermining ourselves we undermine other women.

What is the use of celebrating our beautiful undulating curvy wobbly sisters if we then berate our own bellies, bums and thighs? How can we hold up others if we don’t hold up ourselves? And if we continually talk ourselves down and believe ourselves to be unappealing what does that say about how much we respect the choices of the people for whom we are an object of love, affection or lust? I have not always been good at this. Full disclosure: the outward-facing body positive E40 is not always how I behave in private conversation with friends or when I am battling insecurities and taking them out on partners. But I am a million times better than I was.

In pursuit of evidence for this post I decided to do some deeply scientific research. It basically involved me asking men and women what they found attractive about me. Those polled ranged from one offs to casuals to established partners. The comments are peppered through this post. I highly recommend this glorious exercise in positive affirmation. Exhibit A came back with this:

“I met E40 five years ago, after some initial chat on a (non-kinky) dating site and several months of messaging. I’m not sure why, but the fact that she’s fat had never even crossed my mind during our various conversations, so there was an initial ‘huh!’ moment when she first opened the door to her flat and said hello. The kind of ‘huh’ you get when confronted by new information or something you hadn’t quite been expecting. After that, I went inside, took off my coat, and didn’t think about it again for the rest of the date.

“Nor have I really thought about it since then, to be honest, in the same way that I don’t really think about her toes or ears! The size of her belly is rarely a factor in anything we do, and as a result I consider it just another part of her – I don’t understand why anyone would choose to get hung up on it. There are way too many other interesting bits to focus on!

“So yes, I’d say I find E40 attractive neither despite nor because of her body shape – instead it’s her energy, openness, and creativity that draw me to her, as well as her excellent legs and ridiculously strokable hair. Five years later, those are the qualities (along with a hundred others) that make me glad that we met each other, and that we’ve managed to build the connection we have now. I wouldn’t change anything about that, and I wouldn’t change anything about her appearance either.”

There’s an important point there about acknowledging fat. We cannot expect partners not to notice it but we must also trust that this won’t negatively define their feelings and that to them we are more than the bodies we inhabit, just as they are more than their bodies to us. Would we ever say “I worry that you don’t find me as hot as other people because I am so slim?” I think not!

We also need to own our fatness more confidently. I realise I can be a bit Pollyanna sometimes and I know some people have had horrible experiences on dating sites. But if we are really honest with ourselves, how open are we in our profiles? I know my dating profile says “a little bit extra” when my belly is definitely fat. It is only in the last year that I truly shook off the shackles of fat belly shame and put a full length photo up. Yet I carry all of my weight around my middle. So when I was only putting up pretty smiley head and shoulders photos was I really owning my whole self? EA was justified in being surprised when he saw the whole me for the first time. It didn’t bother him but I have had comments from others that I looked different to my photos and they were fair comments.

I know some people worry that they won’t get attention if they are fully upfront in profiles, but there really is no point in being anything other than honest. Jedi Hamster pointed me to this article about a woman who created two identical profiles, except one used photos when she was a size 10 and one when she was size 18. Size 10 her got exactly twice as many messages as size 18 her. Predictable and disheartening you might say? Maybe, but like I said earlier we’ve all been conditioned to think slim is best so let’s not judge the men for a minute. What I liked was her closing comment: “You could interpret these results slightly differently. A size 18 woman, posting some of her least flattering, double chin-featuring pics, received 18 messages in five days.”

Interestingly, the profiles of the men who messaged fat her were similar to those who messaged slim her. Both versions of her attracted fat and slim men of varying degrees of ‘typical’ accepted attractiveness. This is an important thing to note. Fat people don’t sit in a little colony together, only fancying each other. A friend who is one of the most body confident people I know had this to say on the matter: “It’s important to remember us fatties don’t just fuck each other. We desire and are desired by people who would be thought of as conventionally fit/slim/hot. And we are not always defined in sex by our fatness. Sometimes us fatties get comments about how sexy we are that don’t refer to our size. It’s important to hear those comments and share them so that other fatties know that it’s possible to be sexy without it just being about the size of your body. Having lovers for whom your size is not relevant, for whom you are, simply, sexy enables us to feel like anyone else having (good) sex – it makes us feel transcendent.”

Tellingly she added: “At the same time I don’t wanna sound smug – like fucking handsome, fit men is some kind of prize for a fat girl. It’s tricky to get the tone right.” She’s right, we don’t want to hold up the conventionally hot people we fuck as trophies in our fight for fat acceptability, but we also need to recognise that people still express surprise at mixed size couples (of any gender make-up, actually). How often do we hear comments about similarly sized people along the lines of ‘don’t they make a lovely couple?’ or ‘don’t they look good together?’ whereas the bigger half of a differently sized couple will get ‘you’ve done well for yourself’ or ‘good for you!’ No! The fat person didn’t do well. Both people did well for finding each other, for having the good fortune to meet someone whose company they thrive in, who they fancy and who makes them feel good about themselves.

I am giving the last line to this lovely piece of feedback and I am paying it forward to any woman who needs to believe she’s hot and desirable. Own these words and go out and be your best beautiful confident self.

“You are so gloriously sexy and fuckable. Everything about you, especially when you’re turned on, is hot. Your movements, your facial expressions and damn it – your body just makes me want to work my way down to in between your legs. Feeling all of you on the way. You are fucking sexy”

 

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Invisibility

“So I just told them how it all works. I didn’t want to keep it secret because I am really proud of how my relationships work.” Me to Exhibit A, a few weeks back.

I have become friendly with a group of neighbours in the last six months or so. Things started with typical chat about taking in parcels and cleaner recommendations, then someone decided to host Christmas drinks. I thought it would be a couple of hours of small talk, pleasant but not memorable. I wobbled home at gone midnight after an evening of copious wine, raucous laughter and chat that ranged from women’s health in Africa to local running routes to one neighbour confessing her husband tells her off for being an exhibitionist when she stands naked in their bedroom window. Basically, a crowd of people who are right up my street – literally and metaphorically!

One Saturday in April someone pinged the WhatsApp group to see who was around. Remarkably, we were all free! A few hours later we were round a table in a local restaurant, feasting on charcuterie and planning a street party so we could meet even more of our neighbours. Fast forward to the second May bank holiday and we’re having a planning BBQ to finalise party details…

It’s the weekend after Exhibit A and I have been to Luxembourg and the neighbours are asking about my trip. I don’t know if there was something about the way I was talking (I definitely didn’t talk about photos and fucking in musty tunnels!), or whether some penny dropped by chance, but the face of the-neighbour-with-the-big-house-who-always-hosts fell and she exclaimed: “Oh my God! I am so rude. You have a partner and I have never invited him to any of our get-togethers!” I laughed and reassured her it was all fine, thinking it was easier not to get into detail of why he doesn’t regularly rock up to events as my plus one. Then she asked if he would be coming to the street party and I just thought ‘fuck it’!

“I don’t know, I will mention it. I know he and his wife are planning quite a low key weekend but they might want to come.”

Nobody flinched but I could see questions behind eyes so I clarified. It’s ethically open, Livvy and I are friends, I was at their wedding, he loves meeting new people so if any of our street get-togethers happen to coincide with when we have plans I’m sure he’d like to come. Simple statements of fact, a chorus of ‘oh wow’ and ‘that’s cool’ and then onto deciding what games we would put on for the kids. But that straightforward explanation of relationship status when you’re not in a traditional set-up is still relatively rare.

I have written before about being a very happy second and everything I wrote then still stands. I still have zero interest in the trappings of a full time cohabiting relationship. And I still recognise that I thrive from having the security and affection that comes with a partner who means more to me than a fuck buddy does (although I love my straightforward sex dates with fuck buddies too!). But something I have found myself reflecting on over the last year or so is the issue of visibility when you’re a secondary partner living in a society that still doesn’t widely embrace non-monogamous set-ups.

A lot of the time you have to be pretty invisible and it can occasionally make you feel wistful. You have to modify your behaviour, think about what you say, and occasionally lie. Last summer Exhibit A and I went to see a friend of mine do a reading of his work. At one point when EA was looking at his phone my friend mouthed over ‘Is that your chap?’ and shot an ‘appreciative eyes’ look at me. ’No, just a friend,’ I mouthed back. What I really wanted to say was ‘Yes! And I know – hot, eh?!’, but I knew that my friend is friends with EA’s sister. When someone asks how you know them at a party (or a wedding!) you hide your affection and say you used to work together. You spend a lot of time being aware of your actions. I am the most ridiculously enthusiastically tactile person but I once asked whether I could touch EA when we in a pub; he looked at me oddly so I reminded him that we were in Livvy’s sister’s neighbourhood.

Of course, in the sex blogger community there’s no need to hide anything and outside of the community some of my closest friends and a couple of family members know. But broadly speaking a partnership I really value remains largely invisible to the outside world. Nobody is doing anything wrong or intentionally trying to hurt anyone; for many people in non-monogamous relationships it’s still easier, for numerous reasons, to keep things quiet in their wider lives. My situation is in no way unique.

Although I reflect on this from time to time, I don’t dwell on it. I spend enough time overthinking the things I can change without overthinking the things I can’t! But for my own processing of feelings I allow myself to acknowledge that having to hide something that you put work and emotional energy into, and that you’re really proud, of isn’t always easy. Which is probably why the conversation with my neighbours felt like a little victory and why I relayed it with such delight!
Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Flashbacks

“Turn round and get on all fours.” My mind will still occasionally drift back to my first experience of doggy, on a futon mattress in a flat in Acton, more than half a lifetime ago.
I love flashbacks. Moments become a library of visual stimulation I flick through when I’m alone, settling on the one that’s right for right now. The memories most frequently pulled from the shelf almost always involve fucking from behind.
Me, pushed over the bed. Him, his arse to my bedroom window. “Are you thinking about your neighbours watching us?” Yes, yes I am.
Crack. A new lover’s hand meets my arse, and my face is pushed further my pillow. He later comments on how hot my sound of appreciation was at that first smack. There’s nothing like the first time you realise someone is good with their palms.
“Watch this,” he says as he chucks his phone down in front of me. The sensations overwhelm me as I simultaneously feel him and watch us.
3am on a too-hot summer night. We are still awake. My lounge windows are low and knelt in front of them I can lean out of the window and grip the outside window ledge, biting my lip so I don’t let my sounds echo in the silent street.
Fresh from afternoon tea, I’m dressed like a lady. In the toilet near his office he bends me over and pushes my flowery frock up over my arse. I sit on a packed commuter train home with my knickers in my handbag. The next time I wear the dress is to a wedding and I smile at the memory as I sit in the church.
On my knees in front of my mirror, watching his hands on my hips and expressions of pleasure dance across his face.
Our eyes lock over her back as he fucks her, her face between my legs.
Ping. An email arrives moments after he leaves. A photo to add to the memory bank…

Journeys

I rarely travel with lovers but they’re often with me, in my phone, livening up long journeys…

8/8/2013
We’ve been exchanging filthy messages throughout our train journeys, his to Bristol, mine to Wales. I’m tucked into a seat by the window, bags piled up on the seat next to me to hide my hand wedged down the front of my jeans. As the train slows to halt, a cock shot appears on my screen and I orgasm. I never thought I’d come in Crewe station.

2/9/2013
I don’t notice the gridlocked road between Entebbe Airport and Mulago in Kampala, I’m too busy recounting the story of my night flight. My thumbs fill the screen with details of what my fingers were doing, 35,000ft above Sudan. How I felt too vulnerable with my night mask lowered to enjoy masturbating, yet when I pushed it up to observe my fellow passengers sleeping the orgasm was quick to come.

6/2/2014
I arrange the Rambutan, snap some photos and press send. The images arrive seconds later to recipient in a city in Eastern Europe. The following morning I grab the bag of fruit and head out into the Jakarta smog. Later I giggle to myself as I idly peel away rind, pop the flesh in my mouth and think about where they’ve been.

21/10/2014
I arrive in Addis Ababa tired, hungover and sick. I’ve travelled through the night the day after a university reunion and I have a cold. The whole team heads out for injera but I crawl into bed. I’m feeling sorry for myself. As I’m drifting off my phone lights up. A cock shot from home always make me smile. And this one is magnificent.

8/3/2015
We just made our connection in Qatar, our kit didn’t. A tyre blows on the long road out of Dar Es Salaam. Twenty four hours after leaving home we pull into the hospital compound. A huge mosquito breeding tent is pointed out to me. It turns out it’s one of the biggest malaria research sites in the world. I text a new man in my life – he’s a bioinformatician specialising in mosquitos. He’s more excited by this news than he is by photos of my tits. That one doesn’t last.

5/2/2017
He’s been sending me videos of himself wanking. They are hot. I’ve wanted to come all weekend but I’ve been on a creaky camp bed in my friend’s lounge and drinking wine and playing with her puppy has taken precedence. Sunday afternoon and I ease into a huge first class seat on the train back to London. I arrange my coat over my lap and tell him I’m going to watch his film and make sure I come before he does. Time passes and he texts: “Tell me when you’ve come.” “Oh, I already have. I’m eating the free cake now.”

25/8/2017
“Good morning to you (when you rise and shine!)… current status…pretending to be planning a client workshop, actually taking photos of my cunt on a train…”
“OMG you’re the best! ???”


Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

The Catastrophe of Ageing

Summer 2015 and I am six months into my forties. It’s a balmy Friday evening and I’m at the bar at Lewisham Street Feast.

Cute twenty-something barman: “That’s a really nice dress.”
Me: “Thanks.”
Him: “It’s Cos isn’t it?”
Me: “Yes!” (Impressed)
Him: “I ironed it for my Mum earlier.”

I don’t think I stopped giggling for about half an hour. When do cute barmen stop noticing you and start noticing that you’re wearing their Mum’s dress?! Joking aside, becoming invisible is the great catastrophe that befalls women as they creep into middle age. Or it is if you believe the Daily Mail, which last week claimed “midlife invisibility stings, whatever the feminists say.” Urgh!

Summer 2016 and I’m 18 months into my forties. It’s a balmy Thursday evening and I’m sat in my garden, savouring a glass of white wine and thinking about a conversation with a friend.

Notes > 25th August 2016, 22.35.
Am I invisible?
Spoiler: no!

It’s taken me another 18 months to get any further than that indignant ‘No!’ To find the right way to say that I don’t feel like I am becoming invisible. I feel more visible than I have ever been. Not to young men serving me drinks or the ones who to used to beep at me in the street and now drive by, oblivious. But in my life that I have chosen for myself, I do. I feel a little guilty that my experience is out of kilter with friends who feel differently and while I understand the reasons they give for feeling invisible, to me they are more visible and more vital than they have ever been.

There are many good reasons why women feel they become invisible as they age. We rarely see ourselves in positions of power or represented on the screen. There have been a total of 489 women MPs ever; there are 442 male MPs sitting in the current parliament alone. Just seven of the top 100 FTSE CEOs are women. A review by Harriet Harman in 2010 found that just 18% of TV presenters over the age of 50 were women. An analysis of 414 scripted movies, TV shows and digital series released between September 2014 and August 2015 found that men made up 80% of characters over the age of 40. When we do not see ourselves reflected in our leaders or in our cultural world we learn not to see ourselves.
But why, despite all of this, do I not feel the invisibility creep? I have mulled it over often and have my conclusions but I wondered how these would dovetail with the experiences of friends. So last night I messaged a few.

 “I don’t feel invisible at all in work but that’s because I’m in a senior role I guess so it’s probably the only place I’m totally 100% visible!”

“I think being a mum made me invisible. People refer to you only as someone’s mum.”

“As much as I’m body positive and accept others for whatever they look like I miss the person I once looked like, and am at odds with the exponential speed with which [youthful] attributes diminish.”

“There’s a second-tier-citizen feel to it [motherhood] that feels a lot like invisibility. This bled over into physicality in that I completely forgot that I might have any sexual or physical appeal or power, outside of my own loving relationship I felt entirely separated from that whole notion.”

The benchmarks by which women judge themselves so harshly – work, motherhood, our looks and our sex appeal, not to mention our ability to be a success in all of them all at the same time – are all areas that at the moment I am at peace with. I did not want children so I am not experiencing that perceived invisibility. More significantly I am not juggling job and offspring. My business is a success and within my sector I am very visible. My relationship with my body, my looks and with sex is improving with age, in a large part due to this blog and the people and experiences it has connected me to. I think the reason I procrastinated for so long over this post is that I did not want to sound smug. But I am not smug, I just opted out of one big life choice so, for now, my experiences are different, possibly easier and I have more time to focus in on my priorities.

And the thing about the women who answered my questions, and those I did not have chance to message in my rush to write this post? They are spectacular! By the standards of visibility that they personally judge themselves by they may feel they are diminishing but my God, they are not. They are raising kickass feminist daughters and sons. They are looking after ageing parents. They are in senior positions. They are running businesses. They have created happy homes. They are beautiful. They are hot. They have contributed directly to the improvements in how I feel about myself. Through their friendships I am more visible. They are not invisible.

Zooming back out, are things going to improve? I hope so. I hope that #metoo and #timesup create lasting social change. I hope that soon women will no longer be judged on their looks, their ability to ’juggle’ or ‘have it all’. In the UK, today was the deadline on companies that employ more than 250 people releasing their gender pay gap data. I hope that pay transparency will finally result in equal pay for equal work. For single women that means they will be just as well off as a single man doing the same job. For women and men who have families the work/childcare split will no longer need to be decided on financial viability alone. Last year the Office of National Statistics data showed that the number of childfree women has doubled in a generation. Those women are women like me. I employ a 67-year-old woman and two working Mums, all of whom work the hours that suit them. I hope that the rising tide lifts all boats. I hope the increasing number of childfree women in senior positions afford mothers more flexibility. I hope older women in positions of power and influence offer other older women opportunities.

I’m going to give (almost) the last word to Tabitha Rayne, who said this:

“When I was young I heard from women in their fifties that they simply disappear. I decided a long time ago to make sure it never happened to me. However, now I’m in my forties I’m not feeling the same need to be in the limelight. I am happier to sit back, watch others take the lead. I actually don’t care now if I gently fade away. Maybe we make ourselves invisible? Self-contented ninjas. Shadow warriors of maturity.”
Lady! If you don’t want the limelight, that’s fine, but don’t ever think you don’t take the lead. You shine. You make beautiful art and wear your heart on your sleeve. You are leading a tribe into 30 days of orgasms! Self-contented ninjas and warriors of maturity I’m on board with, but there is no shadow. Until the world shines a light on the ageing woman let’s all reflect each other’s light back so women never feel invisible.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Eroticon Meet and Greet

Name (and Twitter if you have one)
Exposing40 and the same on Twitter, although I’m not too secretive about my real name so will likely tell you if you ask!
What are you most looking forward to about Eroticon 2018?
Like everyone I am looking forward to catching up with everyone at the two socials. The socials were difficult for me last year as a former friend who I wasn’t expecting to see turned up and was behaving badly. Very little unsettles me but unkindness does; without that black cloud I’m looking forward to being much more of a social butterfly! And I can’t wait for the midnight pyjama and prosecco parties with the gorgeous Tabitha Rayne who’s staying at mine this year.
Re the sessions, this year I’m only at the Sunday. I’ve embarked on a ridiculous endeavour to visit all EU countries before B****t next March so I’ve had to scrap my annual jaunt to Edinburgh Festival and reduce WOW and Eroticon to one day each so I can plough funds into planes, trains and AirBnBs! I’m looking forward to Oloni, Kendra and Lori’s sessions and of course I’ll go to Molly’s photography session. I also LOVED the readings last year.
We are creating a play list of songs for the Friday Night Meet and Greet. Nominate one song that you would like us to add to the play list and tell us why you picked that song
Acrylic Afternoons by Pulp. For many people Different Class is Peak Pulp but for me His n Hers is Jarvis writing about snatched sex, bad sex, lust, longing and regret at his very best.

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
Well, I laughed out loud when I read @19syllables Meet and Greet as I also had Sound of Music-inspired aspirations to be a nun! I was also a bit obsessed with Lady Di and spent a lot of time wondering how I could become a princess. I don’t think I was cut out for being a nun or a princess!
I honestly can’t remember what proper career aspirations I had though. I think it was probably something to do with horses and showjumping, but my riding days ended when I left Oxfordshire for Wales aged 10.
Weirdest place you’ve ever gotten up to mischief (define ‘mischief’ however you like…)
Fucking, it would probably be on a ferry on the Irish Sea between Dublin and Holyhead. But I’ve also sat at my desk in an open plan office and wanked through a hole in my trouser pocket. Maintaining a conversation with a colleague while I came at my desk felt pretty mischievous.
Tell us two truths and a lie about yourself
I did a live TV interview naked.
I sneaked into the Queen’s private rooms at the Royal Albert Hall and took a photo of my friend sat on her toilet.
I’ve done a skydive with two broken arms.
Complete the sentence: I want..
…to hold you tight
Whilst children play outside
And wait for their mothers to finish with lovers
And call them inside for their tea.

Eroticon 2018

The Nude in Political Protest

I’ve had ‘the role of nudity in political protest’ on my list of things to write about for years. Since June 2015 in fact, when an image in an exhibition at the Tate Modern sparked the idea. Last year pledging to finally write it up was on my post-Eroticon list of ‘ten takeaways’. So, with just a week to go until this year’s Eroticon, I thought it was time to shit or get off the pot…

Clearly it’s not much of a secret that I love getting my kit off in public! And even more than feeling the breeze around my own nether regions I love encouraging other into the joyful abandon that comes with cavorting naked, celebrating their gorgeous selves. But aside from the odd Sinful Sunday or two, I rarely get truly political on this site. But what better day than International Women’s Day to celebrate the women who have used their nudity to champion far greater causes. Here are a small selection…

Lady Godiva
Legend has it that in the 11th century Lady Godiva road naked through the streets of Coventry in protest at the taxes being imposed on local residents by her husband. The first written account of this event was not recorded until two centuries after the alleged event so it is likely more myth than fact, but it’s a good one. It’s also where the term ‘Peeping Tom’ for a voyeur came from as apparently the only person who ignored her request to look away as she passed was Tailor Thomas!
John Collier, 1897

Women’s War in East Nigeria
Before Britain colonised Nigeria in 1884, power was shared between men and women. Women held senior political, judicial and religious roles but colonisation eroded this power. In 1929 tens of thousands of Igbo women used nudity to protest their reduced authority. British officials characterised the women as grotesque and sexually available, while African journals rather euphemistically described them “exposing the physical markers of their status as guardians and reproducers of the land and its inhabitants.”
Photographer Unknown, Congress Library

Polka Dot Planet
In 1968, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama held naked protests outside the New York Stock Exchange and on Brooklyn Bridge. These protests, or “happenings” as she called them, saw Kusama paint polka dots on the naked bodies of protestors to bring attention to the antiwar movement. In an open letter to Nixon she wrote ‘Our earth is like one little polka dot, among millions of other celestial bodies, one orb full of hatred and strife amid the peaceful, silent spheres. Let’s you and I change all that and make this world a new Garden of Eden…. You can’t eradicate violence by using more violence.’
Shunk Kender Collection

My body is my own
In March 2013, Tunisian feminist and Femen activist, Amina Tyler posted topless photographs of herself on Facebook with the words ‘my body is my own’ scrawled across her chest as a protest against patriarchy. Some claimed she was dishonouring women and the leader of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice called on her to receive 100 lashes or even be stoned to death. Others, such as political commentator, Jihad el Zein said that when young educated women from the Muslim world pose nude it indicates their moral strength to stand up against the oppression of women.
Amina Tyler self portrait

Tunick v Trump
In May 2016, Spencer Tunick, the creative master when it comes to photographing mass public nudity, put out a call for volunteers to interrupt business as usual at the Republican National Convention that coming July. The only requirement was to be a woman. The photography was to be an act of peaceful protest against the hateful rhetoric Trump and his supporters had directed at women. The results of the gathering and the words of the women who participated are wonderful!
Lindsey Byrnes

There are many views on the effectiveness of women using nudity in protest, from those who think it still has impact to those who argue it’s time for a rethink.  I can see both sides of the argument but as long as the naked female body has the power to make people stop, look and take note, then I think it probably does have a role. What do you think?

Ghosts

I’ve been a fan of photographing cemeteries for years. Way back in winter 1995 I was out photographing a snowy cemetery as my Dad called my university landline to try and get the news to me that my Grandad had died.
My business partner knows I still frequent these places with my camera – he just doesn’t know that these days my photography more often than not includes naked people! A couple of weeks ago as a late birthday present he gave me a book about where significant people are buried in London. Knowing I had this image lined up for today’s photo I thought I’d see which ghosts haunt Kensel Green Cemetery.
Alongside one Mr WH Smith (founder of the UK’s biggest high street stationers for the non-Brits) and Harold Pinter I read about Henry Spencer Ashbee. Ashbee was a city merchant by day but was also one of the country’s most prolific collectors of erotica and an occasional author of erotic fiction and personal memoirs under various pen names. He bequeathed his entire library to the British Museum but they burnt the majority of the erotica.
Excited to find out more I hopped over to Wikipedia. I discovered a character in Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith was based on his life. But I also learnt that his daughters’ excessive education irritated him, his wife’s suffragist support angered him, and he became estranged from his gay son. How awful. How often we expect liberal views to be prevalent in all aspects of a person’s life and how disappointed we are when they aren’t. I hope that in 2018, almost 200 years after he was born, his views would have softened and he would now be championing the rights of his wife and daughters and proudly waving the rainbow flag on behalf of his son.
In the meantime, I’m delighted to present one of the fiercest supporters of rights I know, the gorgeous Honey and her hot biteable butt!

February Photofest

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

A celebration of bodies

I must confess, I struggled at first to think about how to approach this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt. There is so much amazing writing and hot photography to choose from, so many of you have produced content that has got me off, educated me and given me ideas and I so admire the authenticity, honesty and hard work that exists in this community that I couldn’t see how I could possibly pick just a handful of people to mention. In the end I decided to go with the main theme of my own blog which is about celebrating bodies in all their beautiful shapes and sizes so here, in alphabetical order, are my top ten body-related posts of this year.
Aurora‘s post about Borderline Personality Disorder (brains are part of our bodies!) is one of my favourite posts of the year. One of my closest and oldest friends also has BPD and posts like this are so important for raising awareness.
Confess Hannah‘s Pussy Pride is an uplifting post on learning to love her labia and also serves as a reminder of the legacy a throwaway comment can have.
Hannah Lockhardt‘s glorious homage to her own body in Geography made me want to reach for my camera immediately to photograph her.
I don’t think anyone does raw and unflinching honesty in the way my wonderful friend Honey does and Hate is a powerful and jaw-dropping example of that.
Jedi Hamster‘s Size Matters was a powerhouse of a post that touches on a whole range of important things from the language doctors use with overweight people to the politics of Fat Positivity versus Body Positivity. This woman rocks when she’s in thoughtful rant mode – go read it!
In my opinion, some of Livvy’s finest posts are when she brings her professional expertise and the clinician’s perspective to the table. The Big Problem did just that and I think it took courage to tackle a very sensitive subject from the medical perspective.
In Passengers, Maria recounts an uncomfortable experience on public transport. How often have larger people, and in particular women, suffered poor behaviour in public because they feel they need to apologise for the space they take up? I would guess the answer is too often.
Molly‘s post about getting her belly button pierced was a frank account of the emotional rollercoaster that sometimes comes with casting a spotlight on the parts of ourselves we like the least. And it also gave a lovely heartwarming glimpse of the love and trust between her and Michael and I always love posts when we see that!
Tabitha shared much of what she wrote about in Sugar – The Good Times and The Bad Times with me during our photo sessions and had even talked about writing a guest post for me because she didn’t think these issues were sexy enough for her own site. Honesty is sexy as fuck my friend and I’m so proud that you owned your experiences on your own site.

Violet’s He’s out of my league (and other lies I tell myself) is a wonderfully raw and honest and beautiful post about sex, fat and lovers making you feel attractive.

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2022 Exposing40

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: