why I post photos of myself

When I first started posting photos, I couldn’t really explain why I chose to do so except at a superficial level. I had an example in Hyacinth’s blog (the first sex blog I followed), and in particular the Boobday posts, in which other people submit their sexy (though not always bare) photos. Although I gave the matter a lot of thought, it wasn’t a particularly analytical process, which for me is unusual. I really didn’t know why I wanted to, just that I did. So I went ahead and started posting. It felt right and still does.

Now that I’ve been posting for a while, I have a little more insight into my motivations.

My body image has been somewhat out of sync with reality, and I definitely had self-esteem issues when I was younger, not all of which are completely healed. I tend to look for flaws in the mirror — but it seems that I look for beauty through the lens. And when I look for it, I start to find it. Without my ever having set about it deliberately, photography has become an exercise in mindfulness and gratitude for my body.

When I post the photos to my blog, I start to get a little bit of distance and see them more objectively. It’s even better when people comment, because they often draw my attention to things I didn’t notice or think of. I really enjoy getting those different perspectives.

I like to create and share beautiful images. I’ve always had an artistic eye but I’ve never had an outlet that I found so satisfying. I like line and form, proportion and balance, negative space. I like value contrast but not color contrast — I prefer black and white, and when working with color, I like an almost monochrome palette.

I’m also enjoying photography as a way of exploring my sensuality — on both sides of the camera.

Of course, it’s a bit of an ego stroke if someone finds me attractive. This, in conjunction with an internally motivated improvement of my opinion regarding my looks, which in turn is reinforced by my partner’s compliments, all act together with the result that I now actually feel sexy. I’ve never really felt that before — I never allowed myself to because of my (now defused) fear of sex. I feel like I’m now fully inhabiting my body in a way that I never have before.

Yet all of these things are things that I figured out after posting photos for the better part of 6 months. So what was the original motivation?

Simply that I wanted to, I think, and nothing more complex than that. But my understanding of that notion has deepened.

In an earlier draft of this post (which I’ve been trying to write for months), I wrote “I’m not an exhibitionist, but…” But then it was pointed out to me that posting the photos is a kind of exhibitionism. This simply hadn’t occurred to me; I didn’t identify with the term, which is sometimes defined as “a person who behaves in an extravagant way in order to attract attention.”  As a sensitive introvert, behaving extravagantly for attention is the polar opposite of how I behave. It can also be defined as public or semi-public exposure, and while I’m sharing the photos publicly, I’m taking them privately: I don’t want people’s eyes on me. I just wanted to put a few photos out there.

So, hi all. I’m Zoë and, I suppose, I’m a reclusive exhibitionist.

Sinful Sunday: strong and lithe

Sinful Sunday

I did a little experimenting with direct light again, but only one photo of the lot was usable. The background is better lit than anything else, and overall the effect is dark, almost a silhouette in places. (Increasing brightness left the image a little flat.) And yet, despite all of this, I’m really pleased with how much this photo manages to express. Specifically, the curves of my shoulders and upper arms (as well as a bit of collarbone and a pair of shapely axillary fossae) illustrate the strength that I feel.

I have known for a long time that my shoulders are strong. When I first started this style of dance over 10 years ago, I was the only one in the class not complaining that my shoulders were sore. At that time, I credited the ballet-based training I had done as a tween and young teen for building the relevant muscles at the right time; the martial arts I did around the same time probably didn’t hurt either.

I didn’t think anything more about it until about four years ago, after I moved to a different city and started dancing with a new group. One of the women there (who is an all-around lovely person as well as gorgeous, and goes to the gym) complimented me on my shoulders and asked if I worked out. I don’t — I just dance. I had never really appreciated my shoulders until her comment, but now I’m proud of them.

strong and lithe

(Sinful Sunday is a weekly meme featuring sensual and erotic photography. Click the icon at the top of this post to go to the homepage and check out the other links.)

Edit: I’m delighted to report that this photo was chosen as one of the top 5 in the Sinful Sunday Weekly Round-up! Here’s what guest judge sub-Bee said about the image:

A fantastic use of black and white, the lighting in this is incredible. The way you have used the light to create shadows that pick out the contours of your body is stunning. I have a big thing for shoulders and I think yours are gorgeous and you are right to be proud of them.

Sinful Sunday: get a grip

Sinful Sunday

I have been at least a little self-conscious about my tum since about age 9, when I picked up on my parents’ (unfounded) concerns about their weight. And then, of course, the top-down view of one’s own body causes foreshortening and exaggerates curves.

This is probably the only photo I’ve taken so far that deliberately makes a point of emphasizing that bit of softness rather than merely ignoring it or trying to downplay it.

get a grip

Sinful Sunday is a weekly meme featuring sensual and erotic photography. Click the icon at the top of the post to go to the homepage and check out the other links.

a first

About a month and a half ago, I took a revealing photo and emailed it for the first time. My partner was the recipient.

Today, I post my first such online. This time, he’s the photographer.

[And even though I’ve been mulling this over for about a month, it still took me a good while to click ‘publish’.]