Exactly one month ago, to the day - I made my 20+ years-long dream of owning a motorcycle, come true. After completing the Motorcycle Rider Safety Class at a local community college in early June, getting my M-class license from DMV soon after that, and then finally scraping together enough money to be able to pay for insurance, and purchase the bike - the tidy, black 1987 Kawasaki KZ305 became the newest member of my family, on July 21st of this year.
Now you may be wondering how that particular nugget of information could possibly be relevant to my self-portraits, the blog, and all that...well, lemme tell you. The motorcycle is small, and fairly quiet - which means that it's much easier than my car is - to hide out of sight, on private properties where I wanna take pics.. In early Spring, I realized that my peddle bike was useful for the same sorta thing - but what makes the moto even better than the bicycle for getting onto properties that are tricky to access by car - is that it'll allow me to travel to destinations that are out of bicycling range.
The shoot I did yesterday, is a perfect example...
This past March, a friend of mine told me about this bone-chillingly creepy, abandoned manse and farm that he'd seen while traversing the backroads of Kabletown, WVa.. Not long after that, I drove there myself, to take pics. with my iPhone, that I later edited and posted on Instagram. Although I'd found a reasonably well-concealed spot to park my car, where it wasn't glaringly visible from the road - I knew that from the right angle a passing motorist might notice it, as there was a patch of missing shrubbery between the front yard and the road, through which I could clearly see each vehicle that drove by - when I stood in the general vicinity of where my car was parked.
I spent an anxious 30 minutes hurriedly (but ravenously) snapping pics. of the deliciously dilapidated estate, that day - and the whole time, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to return so that I could take some selfpics there, some other time. For months and months, I talked myself out of it though - because I just wasn't convinced that no matter how well I might've thought that I'd hidden it, my car would wind up blowing my cover...and ya' know, it's one thing to worry about getting caught trespassing on private property, while taking pictures when you've got your clothes on...but it's another thing altogether, to stress out over getting busted for poaching - when you're not wearing anything at all...
With such a short period of riding time under my belt, I am far from what one would consider an "experienced rider". To be perfectly honest about it, I still feel pretty nervous each time before I go out. However, that hasn't stopped me from taking the bike out every single day except for three - since I brought the little thing home with me a month ago...but despite those ever-present, pre-ride jitters - I do settle down and feel noticeably more comfortable, the instant my tires touch the pavement.
In the beginning, I took easy roads and only went short distances - like to the post office, or the bank, or to Sheetz. But little by little I've started venturing further away from my immediate, safe surroundings, in order to log in more ride time, while also (hopefully) improving my skills by riding on roadways that are more difficult to navigate, even scary sometimes - if they're surprisingly super twisty and stuff, or if conditions are less favorable, like when it rains. And so this weekend, after an old friend and I took a ride up into West Virginia, I was able to proudly add "crossing state lines" to my short list of minor motorcycling achievements. Additionally, being in that particular part of WVa. jogged my memory of the supremely spooky farm that I wrote about earlier in this post...and those two things combined, had me wondering later, "Am I brave enough to ride my moto that far from home, but without a buddy next time? And if I do make it safely to the creepy, old farm - will I be able to relax enough to do some self-portraits? Or will I psyche myself out, for fear of getting caught..."
Well folks? I know this'll prolly come as a complete shock to you, but this story actually does have a happy ending - and it's twofold! Cuz see, the ride to and from my shoot was the perfect mix of terrifying and euphoric. There were nice, narrow straightaways (an especially scenic one was walled by 8 ft. high cornfields on both sides, felt like a tunnel) where I could open the bike up and get some speed. All the while though, I held my breath, as I prepared myself for the possibility that a procession of deer might cross my path. I also mustered the courage to take tight s-turns more quickly than I normally would've done, and I rode home in the hardest rain that I've ever been through on the bike before...and the best part is (besides the fact that I did survive it all) - I enjoyed every minute of it...immensely.
The same goes for the hour and a half during which I staged my pics. around the farm. Although I never really worried about anyone spotting my motorcycle, I did worry about someone spotting me. The swing and the statue (seen above) were both in plain view of the road out front, and for a back country road it definitely gets its fair share of steady traffic...which meant that every time I went to pose, my blood pressure shot up like mad - it literally felt like my heart was in my throat...and if you know me by now, you know that I thrive on the thrill that accompanies that sorta thing.
Long story short, it was a phenomenal afternoon...it was almost like the grown-up version of riding rides at an amusement park...and I was just as exhausted as any child would be after such an incredibly exciting day...
once again- you surpass and surprise!! great shoot- thanks-kj- oh, the one of yu on the stairs in your B-sides is hauntingly beautiful..ReplyDelete
@laughingpaintbrush - Thank YOU, kjean! I'm just so happy that I finally talked myself out of being too chicken to shoot at the sceery, old farm...Thanks also, for checkin' out my tumblr :)Delete
Amazing. As always.ReplyDelete
@Rob - Thanks so very MUCH!Delete
I stumbled upon your site on Aug 18/12 by accident/fate & I can't get over the resemblance you share with my ex (wood nymph)...you could both be twins!I lived on a farm for yrs & we would frequently sneak onto the neighbours land who boarded horses in a valley.We would go for long barefoot walks on the dirt game trails in the surrounding hillsides under the concealment of trees/brush.We could hear & see the riders below but they never saw us & soon we found our barefoot hikes transformed into covert,naked adventures!Being naked in an outdoor setting with the chances of being caught is the most exhilirating feeling i've ever had & don't even get me started on the intense love making! When i see your pics, I just don't SEE them...I FEEL them.I see the dark,cloudy sky in that place all but forgotten only to be foreshadowed by your sleek,well toned naked body & then i remember...i can feel it now.Memories i once shared with a kindred spirit...i feel alive again.Your poses of surrealism,sensuality & the feeling your being chased by man or beast with "wild eyes".I feel your freedom,your passion,your excitement but most of all...I feel again.ReplyDelete
@Anonymous - I'm speechless...I really am. I just can't quite believe that my pics. resonate with you, in such a way as you described - it's truly a compliment of the highest order! I really do appreciate you taking the time to share so many details about your personal life, and then go on to explain the way that my self-portraits conjure up tender memories of what seem to have been - blissfully happy times with your ex. Thank You!Delete
Thank God...finally,a real woman! The pic of you on the swing is my fav,your soooo sexy! Luv that you haven't ruined your beauty with tats!ReplyDelete
@Rusty Glass - Ain't you so SWEEEEET, THANK You!Delete
I actually had two tattoos removed, many years ago - and I can honestly say that I'm SO glad now, that I had the good sense back then to do so! It would be literally impossible for me to become different characters in my pics., if I still had a fish skeleton tattoo on my upper arm!
Thanks very much for coming here!
Fish skeleton? As in Fishbone?Delete
I do soooo enjoy seeing all your new shots ! My favorite is the last, of you running in front of the tanks.You seem to grow sexier with each session. I do look forward to more, more and more! very sensual stuff-PatrickReplyDelete
@Patrick - Woah! "Sexier with each session"? That works for me, THANK You Patrick!Delete
Not sure what I'll be doing for my next shoot, but here's hoping that I don't (ever!) let you down :)
Hey babe. Your pics get better every time you go out to shoot. Love the running shot. Know exactly where that is. Hot. Love the Indian style photo too. Hope you keep working with some other photographers as well. Love every photo. Just finished with my 9 lookin at these.ReplyDelete
@Anonymous - THANK You! So cool that you're familiar with this place...isn't it an amazing place?!Delete
P.S. Dying to know who your "9" are :)
How the hell did you get pic#5 (On the stairs) done in 10 seconds? It reminds my of those cambodian temple pictures overrun by the jungle.ReplyDelete
Ted - It took TONS of tries! I was actually kind of surprised by how difficult it was to achieve the desired effect. There were way more duds outta the bunch, than "winners"...Delete
I have been riding for more years than i would like to admit, so welcome to the club! Are we going to see some t-mobile girl style pics? Vroooom!ReplyDelete
@Ted - Aw COOL! What do you ride?ReplyDelete
I've had an idea for a motorcycle shoot percolating since I brought my cute, little bike home with me...just gotta work out a few bugs first, and then I'll give 'er a whirl!
One thing I do know for certain though, is that I will not be wearing ANY pink gear