Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In Praise of Older Women

I might have mentioned it before but I tend to avoid mixing sexuality with nudity -- one of the problems is that we tend see nudity and immediately assume sexuality. I suppose for that matter, I tend to avoid depicting sexuality at all. If it's sexual, it's usually accidental rather than intentional.

I've come to suspect that one of the reasons for this is that the majority of my subjects are young. While age alone does not give you true insight into the fullness of the sexual being, age as the byproduct of experience and maturation does. This struck home most with a quote I read from New York magazine. In it, Debra Winger discuss where she is at in life:

"Yesterday, a photographer was shooting me for another magazine, and he said, "Ooooh, I love that freshly fucked look!" And since it was eleven o'clock in the morning, and I'd just gotten out of bed with my husband, I actually had been. I had that look. Love that morning stuff! At the same time, one of his assistants was saying, "Wow, you're my mother's favorite actress!" (link to full article)

It's the comfort with embracing your sexuality -- not as an act of rebellion, not as experimentation, not as identity formation but purely as an expression and extension of your natural being, this is a view of sexuality I can get behind. Too much of photography with sexual elements has the churlishness of youth -- it acts out for the sake of acting out. I may be dating myself but anyone who has seen the love scene in An Officer and a Gentleman (and what a scene it is!) has seen something that is on one hand clearly manufactured and yet on the other hand has a naturalness to it. Perhaps when there is an opportunity to capture that would I experiment with sexuality in my photography in a stronger way.

At the very minimum, I wish I was the photographer of that shoot with Debra Winger...

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