Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Greenhouse Effect

(All pics. snapped on 10/15/11)

Ya''s just not all that often that I get invited to attend social events around here anymore, and so when a couple of weeks ago, a co-worker of mine (I'll call her "Ruby", cuz she's a gem!) asked if I'd like to come to a party that she was to be throwing - I was a.) pleasantly surprised, and b.) absurdly some dorky, freshman kid who'd somehow...miraculously - scored a legitimate invite to an upperclassmen kegger...

Over the past few years, I've grown accustomed to being shunned by the "cool" (*cough*) crowd, and have become quite adept at either nestling comfortably into my solitude...or finding my fun in the company of my children, my small group of loyal friends, and (in very rare instances) whatever love interest happens to be stringing me along at the moment. The weekend of Ruby's party however, I was childless, newly single, and warming up quickly to my "free agent" status - thus, rarin' to get out and mingle among a crowd of peeps - the majority of whom I suspected I'd never met, but more importantly - they didn't know me...which meant that I'd be surrounded by folks who hadn't any preconceived notions about me and my "controversial" "hobby".

My bestie, Curlymoe (who coincidentally, is also newly single...ish) gladly agreed to squire me to the party. Now, for those of you out there who used to read my dating blog - and remember Curlymoe from certain, specific anecdotes - you're probably well aware of the fact that when Curlymoe and I go out together, some sort of crazy shit usually winds up going down. Fully cognizant of that myself, plus eager to make a good impression on Ruby and her guests - I asked Curlymoe to please try and not do anything that might embarrass himself...or me - by association. I can admit that saying such a thing to one's very best friend - is maybe just a teensy bit harsh, and he was obviously wounded (highly insulted?) by the request - but the way I looked at it - we were already poised to stand out as the unfamiliar faces in an otherwise tight-knit group of friends, and so to minimize our chances of attracting the wrong kind of attention, I strategized that it might behoove us to be on our best behavior...for once.

After a leisurely drive along a series of familiar, meandering, back country roads - Curlymoe and I finally spotted Ruby's quaint and tidy farm. As we neared the driveway and turned to pull in - my eyes were drawn to and became locked on a greenhouse that was awash in amber, Autumnal, afternoon light - and (luckily) was situated on the opposite side of the house from where the party appeared to juuust be getting underway. Before even stepping out of my car, I'd already decided that (if Ruby and her roommates were amenable to it) I simply had to get insida that greenhouse, to sneak some impromptu self-snaps before diving into the evening's festivities. 

Ruby knows all about my pics. and my blog, and because she's so genuinely down-to-earth and sweet - she's always come across as being totally supportive of what I do. And so, after saying, "Yes" when I pitched her the greenhouse idea (THANK You!), she then proceeded to give me carte blanche to shoot anywhere else on the farm that appealed to me. See? What did I tell you…she really is an absolute gem!

As soon as Ruby gave me the thumbs-up, I gathered my gear and inconspicuously (or so I thought) slunk down to the greenhouse. I set up my camera, peeled off my clothes, and almost immediately got lost in the "zone" lost in fact, that I was oblivious to the fact that a growing group of party-goers had gathered on the front porch of Ruby's house, which conveniently provided a bird's eye view of the peep show taking place behind the backlit, translucent, greenhouse sheathing...uhhhhhh...whoops. It wasn't until Curlymoe and some random guy barged in on my shoot, (purportedly to give me the heads-up about the fracas, and not to see me naked up close) - that I became aware of the disturbance that I'd unwittingly created. (And to think that I'd been worried that Curlymoe might embarrass me, HA!)

Curlymoe, the random guy and I, awkwardly small-talked until I simply could not take it anymore. At which time I demanded that they both either get naked (to make things fair), or run along - since they were stealing what little time I had left in that light. They opted to scram (thank god) and I went back to what I'd been doing before I was so suddenly and rudely interrupted :) 

As I was finishing up, and preparing to (finally) be social - a couple of connected thoughts gave me pause: I'd gone to Ruby's party with the express notion that my anonymity there, along with (what I'd hoped would be) exemplary behavior - might allow me to socialize without the stigma of being a flagrant, trespassing, naked self-portrait artist - sabotaging my interaction with folks who would ideally form their opinions of me based entirely on face value. Not surprisingly though, my love of (addiction to?) self-portraiture had overridden the original plan...and in the end, I'd put way more heat on myself - than if Curlymoe, had publicly pissed himself, or puked and passed out on Ruby's couch... 

Oddly enough, for as concerned as I'd initially been about making a good impression (much to the chagrin of my wingman, Curlymoe) - I wasn't the least bit ashamed of what I'd done in the greenhouse...despite knowing that I'd fairly well annihilated any chance that anyone at the party - besides Curlymoe, Ruby and her roomies (the only people there who's opinions really did matter) - would be able to look me in the eyes while carrying on a conversation, and not snigger to themselves, or elbow their buddy, or make errant judgement calls - cuz they'd seen the silhouette of my naked body.

*News Flash* I am a shameless opportunist (and apparently more antisocial than maybe I even knew), because instead of throwing myself into the lion's den, immediately following the greenhouse episode - I bolstered the brouhaha by hopping into the barnyard with the pigs (who tried to eat me) and the chickens (who not only looked me in the eyes, but seemed to sorta like me being there with them) and fired off a few additional self-portraits. When I was done, and just starting to steel myself for whatever fallout might ensue upon my delayed arrival to the party (ridicule? the silent treatment? a burning at the stake?), something else occurred to me: I have zero shame over this thing that I do. I stand behind it apologies?...No regrets. And if that means that my art has become more important to me than my reputation...might mean that I'm a crazy bitch? But so be it...


  1. consider it an effective filter. you are who you are. you reveal it honestly (and with enthusiasm) should opportunities exist. if they judge you for it, or think poorly of you for it? so be it... unlikey that those are the folks you'll be spending a lot of quality time hanging out with in the future anyway!

    i tend to scare men. sometimes it bugs me, and i think "maybe i should 'hold back' a little'... a girls gotta get laid, ya know! but i realize that any man that frightened by a strong, independent woman isn't going to be likely to engage me for very long anyway....

    love, love, LOVE the photos!

  2. Dare I say the picture of you gazing deeply into the chicken's eyes is Gonzo photography?

  3. Lauralyn... 2 words come to mind reading this one... Bad Ass.

    More people need to read what you write instead of just looking at the photos. Sure, the sexy nakedness might throw people off a bit, but when they understand the drive behind it, they'll learn (or should learn) to appreciate the art. And if they don't, I'd prefer they shut the f*ck up and stay isolated in their petty, judgmental, prudish little world. Too harsh?

    Oh, and the pictures are great, too.

  4. @daisyfae - Yeah...I don't know what it IS about me, exactly - but I definitely suffer from a similar syndrome as you say YOU do. Friends of mine have theorized that men keep their distance from me because I "intimidate" them...which makes no sense to me. I mean, I feel like I'm friendly, fun-loving, approachable - plus I'm small in stature - soooo...not likely that I'll physically hurt them or anything, haha!

    Anyway, I'm not holding my breath that I'll ever find a strong, confident, self-assured man who can a.) handle me, and b.) treat me with decency and respect...

    P.S. - I'm SO happy that you like the pics., daisyfae!

  5. @Rob - No sirREE! Not too harsh at ALL...matter of fact, I LIKE the way you think! It's always encouraging to be reminded that some folks actually DO read what I write about the pics., and don't simply ogle the snaps. It's a fairly labor-intensive dual process - first, TAKing the pics., and then coming up with the text to accompany them...I appreciate that you take the time to indulge in the whole Big Ugly experience!

    Oh! And btw - Thanks for havin' my back!

  6. Know what you mean... just let somebody try to distract me when the light is great and I can get completely obnoxious in two seconds flat!

    As for the "cool" crowd, here's a thought: For years, I lived in a small town several hours south of Virginia. I remember being introduced to someone considered cool by most, and she said "come over sometime and I'll introduce you to some really cool people... you know, people just like us."

    Several years ago, I moved to South Beach and discovered some seriously cool people here. And the funny thing is, they choose new friends specifically because they AREN'T like them, rather than because they ARE. Why? It's far more interesting! One of the best definitions of boredom I've ever heard is "everyone just like me."

    Bottom line... small towns haven't figured that out yet, but the Bohemian places have.

  7. What percentage of your photos make it to the blog? I can imagine the scramble to pose has its mishaps (e.g. bamboo). Do you think you'd still do this if you didn't have such an awesome face and figure?

    Again, a blog I look forward to each week!

    Jim B.

  8. Okay, I dare. The picture with the chicken was a magnificent example of Gonzo photography!

  9. I would love to have you come to any of my parties, people like you do not fit into the regular mold that society tries to cramm all of us. It makes you one in a Billion!!!
    Great photos, I feel like ham and eggs for dinner or maybe rump roast....ummmm
    AMC 10/28/2011

  10. @Steve Mouzon - The funny thing is, the folks who comprise the "cool" crowd (as I sarcastically refer to them, my tongue firmly planted in my cheek) are pretty much the antithesis of the type of person that I am...and yet - I don't find them the least bit interesting at all (*snore*). That's not to say that I haven't met people who ARE very different from me, and fascinating and engaging and all that - but as I'm sure you well know, the pickins are slim in a small, conservative town.

  11. @Jim B. - Very few pictures from any single shoot, make it to the pages of my blog. I usually snap anywhere from 25 - 125 (sometimes many more than THAT, even) frames per theme, depending on how difficult it is to get (what I consider to be) a handful of decent, presentable shots...There are hundreds (thousands?) of self-pics stored on my Mac, that I'll likely never do a damned thing with.

    As far as my body and my face go...I'm not a huge fan of my face, but by now I've Iearned how to obscure it in the pics., and/or plaster it with enough make-up to either exaggerate it to the point of near ridiculousness, or (hopefully) trick the viewer into overlooking its flaws.

    When I first picked up self-portraiture, my body was still a little bit doughy (if you ask me) but because I'd become (almost instantly) hooked on the challenges of (at the time) semi-naked dash photography, I had to suck it up (and suck it IN) and work with what I had. Since then, vanity, and the physical side effects of miserable relationships - have helped me to trim off that layer of baby fat...

    I guess to answer your question though - upon discovering dash photography, I felt that I'd finally found my artistic niche...and I don't think ANYthing - my body, my face, my social situation - could have kept me from diving into it, full force.

  12. @Alex R. -! I LOVE that video so MUCH, Alex! I laughed out loud when I looked at it...Pure genius, man! Thank you so much for sending it :)

  13. @AMC - Careful whatchya wish for, mister...I might just show UP to one of your parties, some night ;)

    Hope your din din was yummy!

  14. Greenhouse! Chickens! Sweetheart, you blow my mind - and continue to amaze me :)

    xx Dee

  15. @Curvaceous Dee - Haha, I KNOW! Blew my mind TOO, when I found myself naked in a translucent greenhouse, and barefoot - tromping through pig and chicken shit - while a party was in full swing all around me...have I mentioned lately how much I love my life? :)