This was taken during an unplanned trip to attend a relative’s memorial. It’s got me thinking about family, my own childhood and history, and the history of others that has affected me even though I wasn’t there.
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last three years or so, but I can’t help feeling that the key to deeply understanding myself is locked away inside the head of a person who’d prefer to take her secrets to her grave. And if I’ve learned one thing recently, it’s that the grave may be nearer than you think.
I finished out the term of dance classes but right when I was pretty much ready to take a break for the summer, one of my students had an idea that intrigued me. So I’m starting up another class (with shared teaching duties) soon. Time will tell if I come to regret this. I’ve also started taking a dance class as a student. It’s in a different style and very aerobic, so I’m definitely going to get a workout.
I’ve been feeling a bit better, energy-wise, and I’ve been putting that into my work. Er, and dance, which then leaves me tired. Not sure if there’s a net gain here.
My newest new hobby appears to be decluttering, and as it happens, sorting out my emotional shit has also given me some clarity about the stuff I want or don’t want in my house. Weird but true. And now I’ve found a website to sell my stuff on: people come to my house to take away the things I would have had to junk, recycle or donate, and sometimes I even get money for it! Amazing!
One down side of this is that the spot where I used to take most of my self-portraits now contains a table where I takes photos of my crap to post on that website. It’s a very functional spot in the house, but I’ve sort of lost my studio.
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good though I still wish I had more energy.
Want to see some new photos of me? Read on and see how you can make it happen.
Amy of Coffee and Kink (@CoffeeAndKink) has organised a fundraiser called Smutathon. I’ll let her explain:
Welcome to Smutathon 2017!
We are a group of erotica authors, sex bloggers, sex educators and friends who have decided to raise some money for organisations we believe in.
Smutathon is a 12-hour, intensive sex writing challenge where we get together (some of us in person, some virtually) for 12 hours and WRITE LIKE MAD THINGS and get sponsored for doing so and achieving our targets. We may share some of our writing on our blogs as we go, and we may even publish an e-book anthology at the end.
We’re splitting the money equally between two amazing organisations:
1) Backlash Backlash campaigns for sexual freedom for consenting adults and provides legal support for sexual minorities who are unfairly targeted by outdated and nonsensical “obscenity” laws. Among other things, they have been responsible for getting the ridiculous ‘tiger porn case’ (look it up) struck down, and for campaigning to get amendments added to the Digital Economy Bill to make it less harmful to consenting adults engaging in safe and victimless fringe sexual practices.
2) Rape Crisis England & Wales Stats suggest that 1 in 4 women and around 1 in 10 men will experience rape, assault or other form of sexual violence in their life. Rape Crisis is a feminist organisation that exists to promote the needs and rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, to improve services to them and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres are women-led and offer a range of support, advocacy, counselling and information, and also have separate services for male survivors.
Please support us in helping these two brilliant causes. Sexual freedom for consenting adults and freedom from sexual violence are human rights.
This is happening today! Donate on the Smutathon 2017 Just Giving page. The charities are UK-based, but if you live elsewhere, don’t let that stop you! Backlash is doing important work against nonsensical UK obscenity laws, and because of recent development in UK law about “obscenity” and the internet, their work will have an effect around the world. All you need is a credit card to make a donation. Easy peasy!
If you make a donation – of any amount – and write “Zoe K” in the donation comment box, I’ll post a sexy photo here!
It’s been a bit quiet around here lately. There are a few reasons for that, but nothing dire. I have low energy at the best of times and I’m even more tired than usual, which I think is partly a side effect from some medication I’m taking.
My interest in the blog, both writing and photography, seems to be going through a low patch. (Hell, I’m having a hard time even replying to comments, never mind creating content.) But my interest in some of my other hobbies, such as dance and sewing/costuming, has been higher than usual lately. So it balances out – at least, it does for me.
The Sinful Sunday theme this week is “outdoor photography”.
Looking out over the Umbrian hills from the castle. There’s no model, but the photographer was nude. That counts, right?
Edit: Since I seem to be disappointing those of you who consider my playful sense of humor as one of my lesser charms, I will point out that there is a more conventional photo of me elsewhere in the Sinful Sunday offerings. But you still have to find it.
This is the last of my stash of mile-high photos for the time being. There may be fewer photo posts here over the next while as I’ve noticed that taking photos for the blog has starting to feel less like fun and more like an obligation. I’ll just have to see how it goes.
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Nicolas and I hadn’t planned anything in particular for the shoot, for a few reasons. I wasn’t certain how well I’d take to it, and didn’t want to over-commit and thus inconvenience him. He had picked up on my hesitation and kept his goals modest (is “modest” really the right word when discussing a nude shoot?), which meant the location and poses weren’t set in advance. He wasn’t planning to use the shots himself so he had no agenda for production. It was very much a “go with the flow” sort of thing, and you have to hope the flow goes somewhere interesting.
We had started out low-key, and rather than leaping right into the deep end with nudity, he had me start with some clothing that he had brought. Sexy, revealing clothing, but still. I didn’t really know what to do for poses, and he gave what he later called “gentle directions”. I would almost go so far to call them “suggestions”, since I always felt free to agree, suggest changes (or progression), or even decline. There was never any pressure, and right from the beginning I found him respectful, supportive, encouraging and friendly. He created an emotional environment in which I could relax and flourish.
As we went on, he began to ask more of me and the poses became more complex than “stand here and tip your head” or “drip some water on your nipple”. The verbal directions started to become more cumbersome, certainly because of the increase in complexity, and perhaps also because the language in this context can be very fussy and technical.
Eventually he started moving me with his hands — my arm here, my leg there, angling my head. I don’t specifically recall, but he must have tried something simple at first, like gently moving my foot. He was relaxed about it so I was, and this created a virtuous cycle of comfort and ease with each other. We were in a space that was small and unavoidably intimate, and we were almost touching most of the time already; this hands-on contact felt like a natural progression.
Nicolas gave me feedback throughout. I never really knew if something didn’t work, because he never made a fuss about it, and it didn’t matter anyway. We just kept trying new things. When it did work, he was vocal about it, saying “yes”, “that’s hot”, “don’t move, don’t move!” or (my favorite) “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!” under his breath. Sometimes there were no words, just a very satisfied look on his face. Whenever he got a shot he particularly liked, he’d turn the camera around to show me.
Sensing that I was still at ease, we moved on to more dynamic poses. I was still wearing the black dress. The top came down. The bottom came up. And up. I grasped, I tugged, I arched.
Then he wanted me to cover my crotch with my hand (we were back to verbal directions now), and then stroke a little to give the impression that I was pleasuring myself. By this point, I was nude again.
I hadn’t noticed feeling specifically aroused — I was still very interested in the shoot and wouldn’t have wanted to stop to play — but I did get very wet. Was it the camera? The company? The nudity? Being a little outside my comfort zone? When it happened with Lucas, the circumstances were very different so I haven’t narrowed down the cause yet.
Nicolas had told me before that the best photos happen when the model can make love to the camera. I suppose I was doing well, because during the shoot he announced that he was getting a little too wound up and needed to take a break. That is a compliment that can’t be feigned! We sat on the bed and talked for a while, he in his black T-shirt and black jeans, I still nude, sharing personal things with each other. When we got started again, we had lost some momentum. But then that was precisely the point.
* * *
Nicolas and I were acquaintances through DM and email before this shoot, and I felt that during the shoot we forged a real connection and the basis for a friendship, even before we stopped to talk.
I knew I wanted to do the shoot but I didn’t know for certain whether my old “script” (that nudity and sexuality are bad and/or dangerous) would hold me back until I actually tried it. There’s only so far you can get with thought and rationality regarding subjects that have the potential to be emotional, and sometimes explosively so. I was glad to discover that I’m making progress in this area, and that I was right about what I wanted — it gives me confidence that I’m coming to know myself better.
As I’ve said before, my body image has improved markedly since I started sharing photos of myself on Sinful Sunday, and this shoot was in some ways an extension of that project, but more in the realm of expressing my sexuality. In front of someone I’d just met in person the day before!
Nicolas was right, of course, that this was an entirely different experience from being my own photographer. There was an intensity, a frisson, some kind of chemistry. I was being unambiguously seen in that moment, and appreciated just as I am. And successfully challenging my limits.
Nicolas Laborie would like to work with other people too. If you’re interested, you can get in touch with him via the email address on his website, or via DM on Twitter, where he is @nicolas_laborie.
There are more photos from the shoot, which I’ll be sharing over the next while.