Monday, August 15, 2011

It's All About the Dress...

(All pics. snapped on 8/10/11)

When I came across this nifty, lime sherbet-colored dress, tucked in between the nightgowns in the lingerie section at one of my most favorite thrift stores - it felt almost as if I'd found buried treasure. I greedily snatched it from the rack, carried it to the check-out counter, paid a whopping 6 bucks for it, and then brought it home to hang amongst all of the other thrift store dresses - in my ever-expanding collection of cheap, secondhand costumes. Meanwhile, I began contemplating just how exactly I might incorporate it into a new set of self-portrait pics.. 

By now I'm sure you guys are well aware that in general, I'm not all that into wearing clothing - but the claustrophobic feeling that I get from being completely, or even partially covered when the weather is exceedingly hot, can make me feel borderline mental. And because of that, along with a weeks-long heat wave - the lime sherbet dress and my excitement about acquiring it...slowly began to wither on the vine, so to speak.

It wasn't until I awoke to a glorious and welcome break in the ridiculously sticky, steamy weather that we'd been suffering, that I could even consider donning the long-sleeved dress with its confining, close-fitting bodice.

After searching images on the internet, in order to help determine make-up, hairstyle and posing options for the day's shoot - I packed up my car and drove to a nearby stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Wearing shorts and a tank top (the dress neatly folded and stowed in my camera bag), I hiked up the path that leads to the breathtaking vista seen in these pics.. Once there, I was delighted to have the place all to myself. But before getting started, I first had to change out of my street clothes and into the dress. Might not seem like such a difficult thing to do, right? Wrong! There were so many snaps and hooks to fasten, and for every two or three that I connected, another one would suddenly pop open...grrrrrrrrr...Thank goodness for the broken piece of mirror that I always keep in my camera bag. Without it, I think I might never have closed the collar of that blasted, lime sherbet nightmare. Oh, and wouldn't ya' know soon as I was dressed and ready to start shooting, a steady stream of visitors (kids and grown-ups alike) wandered up to the very spot where I was trying to work...phooey. 

Which wouldn't have been that big of a deal, had the wind not been gusting and consequently lifting the skirt of the dress, which threatened to give the under-age contingent of the growing audience, a revealing tutorial in female anatomy. I decided it best to slip my shorts back on under the dress, and sit on that big rock, taking in the views - while I waited for all of them to scram.

The cool part though, was that among the folks who joined me on the lookout - were a woman and her daughter - both of whom I have known but not seen for many years. And when everyone had left except the three of us - I asked my old friend if she would mind terribly - if I resumed doing what I'd come there to do. Luckily, she was totes cool with the whole thing...dress blowing, bare girlie parts...and all.

At one point though, after I had set the timer and was getting into position - I turned to see a young couple who had silently appeared there on the rock ledge. Reflexively, I burst out laughing and did my best to try and cover myself with the dress. The photo above is the image that was snapped, after I broke character and turned back into the short, regular ole, goofy, real mefor that startling and awkward, brief moment. 

Not long after the young couple appeared, everyone besides the three of us - got up, departed the high ridge, and fortunately - left to go someplace else. The young couple nestled into a private alcove in the rocks, and stayed so busy canoodling with one another - that they didn't seem to notice me taking the remainder of the pics. that I shot while still wearing the lime sherbet dress.

After I'd milked the dress for all it was worth, and when 30 minutes had passed and no one new had arrived on the scene - I got my usual hankerin' to snap some nude pics....and so I did. The happy, young couple was none the wiser, glory be.

But after only 10 minutes of shooting down in the crevasse - I noticed a man sitting within plain view of my shenanigans. Immediately I began getting dressed...this time for good (I thought). Lord! I'd already been there for a solid 3 hours. I was starving and thirsty and was pretty much ok with how the day's shoot had gone, and so I felt no guilt about sewing things up.

On the way back down the trail to the parking lot where I'd left my car however, I couldn't stop myself from setting up my camera just one...more...time, to see if something good might come from repeatedly slipping in and out of the cramped chink between the two boulders seen in the picture above. There I was...completely naked on the Appalachian Trail - and I'll admit that my heart was absolutely pounding the entire time. I worried about if and when I might disturb a copperhead or rattlesnake in their natural habitat...or if some poor, unsuspecting hiker might saunter stealthily up the path, and get the wrong idea about the peculiar vignette that they'd happened to stumble upon, there in the woods.

But ya' know? For as happy as I was to have finally made use of that inexpensive, lime sherbet dress - in the end - I was far more content to shoot myself wearing nothing more than the skin in which I was born...


  1. the dress and vista are spectacular - as is the shot of you hanging from the rock. but it's the goofy shot that i like best in this series! good to see a laugh!

  2. @daisyfae - This is the group that I took last week, when YOU suggested that going outside and taking some snaps in the cooler weather - might actually make me feel better...and it WORKED!

    Although it's not physically flattering - I like the picture that you mentioned, as well. I think mostly because - at the time - I wondered if I even still knew how to smile/laugh...and this shoot and that pic. reminded me that I did :)

  3. The first dress shot is excellent... I can just feel the breeze as the fabric tails out behind you. And I especially like the rock shots at the end... hard vs. soft, jagged vs. curved.

  4. @Steve Mouzon - THANK You, Steve! I'm glad that you like those pics.! And yes, the breeze was positively divine, that day :)

    I have to admit though, there IS something funky about the way that my body looks in almost all of these oddly out of proportion? Or something?

  5. I actually really love the shot of you getting caught and laughing. It reminds me of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I love this whole set. I wish I could have the creativty flowing through me to be able to pull of some of the pictures that you do.

  6. @Meagan W. - Wow! What a wonderful thing you said about the "caught in the act" pic.! THANK You!

    And definitely don't sell yourself short...if you haven't already, may I suggest that you just get out there and try your hand at self-portraiture - I bet you'll be tickled with the results!

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog, AND for leaving such a sweet comment :)

  7. Depends... some of the shots are from above you, which make your legs look small and your arms look long. Other shots are from below you, which have the opposite effect. But the risk of these out-of-proportion possibilities are well worth the price of shooting them! Look at the sculpture of David in Florence... his arms are insanely long... a literal Neanderthal. But that didn't prevent it from being one of the greatest works of art in history. So by all means, pursue your art! Even if the classical proportions are off. Most of us are here for more than just T&A, I suspect... we're here for the pursuit of beauty, in all its unexpected and quirky turns. OK, honestly, T&A is good, but please use it in the pursuit of art, as you've always done!

  8. @Steve Mouzon - I gotta tell ya' - your "T&A" comment earned an unrestrained belly laugh outta me - Thank You for that! I know it might seem unfathomable - but once again, I've been in the frame of mind where it's tough for me to even crack a smile, and so to issue forth a hearty guffaw - was absoLUTEly what the doctor ordered :)

  9. I love the first two shots! You look amazing, and your posture really reminds me of traditional dances from East Asian Culture- amazing angles.

    I swear you look like you're having so much fun out there. Just seeing the photos makes me happy too!

  10. @Question - I'm literally addicted to the mega-amount of fun that I have on my shoots...I practically go through withdrawals whenever there's a lull in my level of productivity.

    I'm happy to hear that you found those pictures convincing! I worried that they might wind up looking ridiculous...

  11. Revisiting this post for the first time in almost two years... the first nude shot is awesome, IMO! it's got all the classic memes... soft versus hard, curved versus jagged, flesh versus stone, etc. This is on my all-time favorite list of your work!