"I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do -- that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse." - Diane Arbus
Little did I know last spring, when I did my first boudoir shoot, that being photographed would become an erotic experience in itself, one that mimics the experience of having sex. There is the phenomenon of getting turned on fantasizing about the upcoming encounter: choosing the right outfit, imagining how I want the interlude to go down (yep, I said that), reveling in anticipation as the date draws near.
The experience unfolds through the familiar stages: initial jitters, intermittent awkwardness, putting my fantasy out there where it's received by a partner -- the photographer in the case of a solo shoot -- who might take the idea in a completely different direction. There is the giving in, the losing oneself, the looking at the clock and realizing that those two hours that just passed felt like 10 minutes, and you can't wait to do it all over again -- with a new twist.
So when I decided to do a second boudoir shoot, I asked myself how I could push the boundary. Doing a couples boudoir shoot with a man sounded like fun, but why stop at one? Why not have two?
"There is only you and your camera. The limitations in photography are in yourself, because what we see is what we are." - Ernst Haas
So I asked two lovers if they would like to participate in a menage boudoir shoot and they both said yes in a New York minute. The day of the shoot came with last-minute hiccups, however: one guy got welts and had to stay mostly clothed; no one could find parking and everyone was late; I answered the door in my corset while a blinking security patrolman informed me one of my visitors had parked illegally.
"Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world." - Arnold Newman
I had posted images I wanted to recreate on my Pinterest board -- the shot above is an example -- but my best-laid plans were oft diverted by the alchemy of three principals and a photographer, each of whom had a slightly different spin, so there was a lot of sifting to be done in order to execute a set piece.
We lingered too long on the BDSM set pieces, in part, because Jesse -- who emerged as the dominant personality -- arrived at the shoot with enough paddles and floggers and cuffs that he looked liked he'd picked the racks clean at The Stockroom.
I won't see the finished shots for another week -- the ones here were taken by the two guys with their phones. I'm curious to see if the images will bear any resemblance to those in my mind, or if they'll be something else altogether. Because the end product isn't really the photo. The photo is a vehicle for the viewer on which to project his own fantasies.
It's the dynamic relationship between photo and viewer, words, and reader, lover and lover, that I find intoxicating. It's the reason I write my blog: I get to tell a story inspired by an image, or find an image to tell a story, and create an experience for people who visit the blog, many of whom have begun to feel like friends and lovers.
I'm disappointed that I forgot to do my last series idea. I had imagined us all gradually discarding jeans and t-shirts until we were nothing but a softly-lit tangle of arms and legs.
But that's okay. It just means I get to do another naughty shoot.
"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be." - Duane Michals
Who: Ralph Macchio, 50 Why: He kicked his way into the hearts of 80s teens as the David to Cobra Kai's Goliath in The Karate Kid. Macchio's baby-faced good looks made him a mainstay in other hits from the era, including The Outsiders and My Cousin Vinny, before he disappeared from the big screen. It wasn't until he appeared on Dancing With The Stars that we remembered Daniel-San is quite a looker.
Who: Steve Martin, 66 Why: The comedian who brought belly-laughs to "Saturday Night Live" has introduced his audience to all of his talents over the years. Whether it is his memoir "Born Standing Up", his pieces for "The New Yorker", or his Grammy winning bluegrass album -- Steve Martin's clearly not slowing down -- and we don't want him to.
Who: Barack Obama, 50 Why: Besides being the first African American to hold the office of President of the United States, the Harvard-educated Barack Obama has clearly kept his family a priority, taking on another role as assistant basketball coach, and, as his Father's Day essay reports, making sure his two girls still 'do their chores, make their beds, finish their schoolwork and take care of the dog,' regardless of their White House residency.
Who: Richard Branson, 61 Why: The British business tycoon has conquered just about everything -- including space. When Branson was 16, he started a magazine called Student, and hasn't slowed down since. Branson has always enjoyed what he does, which is one of the reason we believe he is so successful. "For me business is not about wearing suits, or keeping stockholders pleased. It's about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials," asserts the billionaire. Branson is a representative of The Elders, a group determined to reach peace, eliminate suffering, and provide education around the world. This is one of his many humanitarian participations. Photo: Getty
Who: Robert Redford, 75 Why: The two-time Academy Award winning actor has done more than star in some of the most memorable films of all time -- he's helped make sure movies get made. In 1969, Redford bought Timphaven Mountain in Provo, Utah - which he renamed, "Sundance" after his iconic role of "The Sundance Kid". The Sundance Film Festival is the preeminent event for Independent films in the United States. Redford was the inaugural chairman. Photo: Getty
Who: Steven Spielberg, 64 Why: Although he made his make in films such as "Jaws" and "E.T.", his later films reflect a more serious nature. "Schindler's List", "Saving Private Ryan", and "The Color Purple" are examples of his work which resonate on greater cultural challenges. Spielberg has donated to numerous hospitals, charities, and disaster relief organizations.
Who: Howard Schultz, 58 Why: The former Chairman and CEO fo Starbucks is more than the man behind a good cup of coffee. Schultz has lead with his soul, allowing him to act responsibly in his business ventures. He speaks out on his concerns of the global economic crisis and has been awarded numerous times for his charitable efforts. Specifically, the National Leadership Award, the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award and the FIRST Magazine Responsbile Capitalism Award.
Who: Tom Ford, 50 Why: The Texas born Fashion designer, style icon, architecture buff and Academy Award nominated director is one of the most important men in popular culture today. Ford transformed the house of Gucci (which was valued at $4.3 billion when he started and $10 billion when he left) back into a Fashion powerhouse. Shortly after, he started Tom Ford - a brand, which when it started, was considered to be the epitome of a modern day gentleman's wardrobe. Although sometimes controversial, Ford has spoken out about his homosexuality and his opinions on monogamy and sexuality.
Who: Colin Powell, 74 Why: The retired Four-Star Army General and former (and frist African American) Secretary of State has done far more than serve our country, but we must make mention of it. Powell has received the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. Although his reputation was soiled in the now infamous WMD/Invasion of Iraq speech, Powell was since spoken out about reforming the intelligence community. An interesting fact about the former Joint Chief of Staff: He restores old cars as a hobby. Photo: Getty
Who: Dan Marino, 50 Why: Not only has the gridiron icon been ranked as the No. 25 football player of all time by NFL Films in 2010, but he has also raised more than $30 million with the Dan Marino Foundation to help children with autism, like his son, Michael. Married to wife Claire since the 1980s, the father of six is also an entrepreneur with a growing restaurant chain.
Who: Alec Baldwin, 54 Why: While we wag our fingers at the actor's tendency for outrageous Twitter outbursts -- and extreme love of Words With Friends -- Baldwin's charm knows no bounds. As Saturday Night Live's most frequent host, the smarmy exec with the heart of 24K gold on 30 Rock and the narrator of the phenomenal Frozen Planet series, we'll look the other way at the 54-year-old's more juvenile tendencies.
Who: Matt Lauer, 54 Why: Co-host of NBC's "TODAY" since 1997, the dashing Lauer is the cream in our morning coffee, mixing the serious presidential interviews and reporting from the Middle East with the just-plain-goofy, including that "Where In The World Is Matt" travel segment thing and a recent smooch with Howard Stern. Only Lauer has the brains and the likability to strike the balance with panache.
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