photo shoot trip, day 3: actual photos

Lucas and I had been up late the night before. It had taken me some time to get bored with the fetish night, but I got there eventually. That wasn’t a terrible thing: we were able to join the queue at the coat check at a low ebb. After prancing around in minimal clothing for hours, I preferred to cover up again in incongruous luxe cardigan and well-worn yoga pants at the table beside the coat-check girl’s podium, rather than squeeze through the throngs to one of the restrooms in a more literal reversing of my original kitting-down. Such modesty seemed superfluous at this point, almost feigned. Lucas returned his floggers to his bag of tricks, unused.

The drive home was lengthy, and worrisome. The engine light of his scrupulously maintained car had lit up the day before. As a precaution he topped up the oil, and then concluded that it was a relic of a known glitch relating to the gas cap, which would have no effect whatsoever. But during the return — on a quiet freeway under a black sky — the car began to lose power, pulsing regularly and quickly. It wasn’t oil, or the gas cap glitch, or exhaust, or loss of a cylinder. He changed into the rightmost lane and, contrary to all factors — the city’s driving culture, the car’s design, the time of night and lack of traffic, and Lucas’s own preferences — drove somewhere below the speed limit, with the hazard lights on. But the car soldiered on all the way home and got tucked into its heated underground parking spot.

Time to decompress, get changed, remove makeup (just me), and have a snack and a chat. We were going to bed not too long before Wolf would be getting up in his time zone.

Despite it all, I had a decent sleep and was up at an hour I considered respectable, though many wouldn’t. I made myself breakfast, and Lucas eventually joined me. We chatted. We hung out, vaguely wasting time. All the while I was lounging in my nightshirt and nothing else.

Eventually, I asked whether we’d be starting soon. He said something vague.

“Basically, I just want to know if I can put a bra on.” It was mid-afternoon.

“Well, you could put it on and take it off again later.”

“Ah, but I don’t want to leave marks.”

That was enough to spur action, not that the action had anything to do with my breasts. He got himself set up with camera, tripod, and some lights, moved the coffee table out of the way, took a painting off the wall behind the couch. I was vaguely concerned about latent clutter.

We had discussed the shoot ahead of time, though not in minute detail. I find it frustrating to take photos of myself without being able to see what the camera sees, so I wanted simply to be in front of the camera and rely on his skills to frame the shots and direct some poses. I had also mentioned a few specific poses I wanted to try, but mostly I expected him to guide me. He was the one who could see what the camera saw, and this was once his job, while I’ve never posed for anyone but myself before. He had plenty of ideas, he said, though we didn’t discuss much more than some rope bondage, which is a fetish of his.

Finally, we were starting. He asked me to stand in front of the (closed) vertical blinds, mostly facing away from him, and to lift my nightshirt to show my bottom. He talked me part way into the pose, then smirked. He explained that he’d been about to give another direction that, in his experience, would create a nice roundness in my bottom but was pleased to find it unnecessary.

I had, as it turned out, brought much more clothing than we could ever hope to get through. Jackets, dresses, jewelry, shoes, knickers, bras, stockings, and more besides. I’d felt ridiculous approaching the weight limit on my luggage for a trip lasting all of four days, and I’d been tempted to embrace the stereotype fully and wear my gladiators while travelling.

Despite my concern about lines, we decided to start with the white dress that Gawan bought me, a push-up bra, and those gladiators. I didn’t bother with knickers, which meant I didn’t have to wonder whether the color was visible through the dress.

We did some shots this way and eventually graduated to some relatively simple bondage — my arms behind my back, hand to elbow. As he strung the rope across my front, above and then below my bust, I paid close attention, looking within myself for any subtle response. There might have been a tiny glimmer.

He was concerned about my balance and ability to walk in 4-inch heels, up a few stairs, while tied. Piece of cake! I felt a little smug about being so footsure. I found that having my arms bound had very little effect on my movement, and was even able to do a torso bending and twisting dance move, which I ended up doing repeatedly while he snapped away, and I hoped it was somewhat aesthetic.

This, he announced, was all the bondage he would do on me unless I asked for more.

“I could do more,” I replied.

negotiating a photo shoot

My discussions with my friend Lucas about doing a shoot together have been continuing apace. We arranged to Skype last weekend, mostly so I could do some show and tell of clothes and accessories.

I would have liked to use my laptop for the purpose, but my internal speakers stopped working after my forced upgrade to Windows 10. It’s a driver issue and, because I usually use headphones or external speakers, not quite irritating enough for me to spend the time figuring it out. But it turns out that my microphone also doesn’t work. I figure that’s a driver fuck-up too.

I knew the call would be long and I needed the phone plugged in, so I started by finding the best-placed outlet. Then I looked around the house for something I could use as a stand, and found a soft plastic soap-dish thing with slats between which the phone would fit. But the slats weren’t deep enough to support the weight of the phone at the slight angle necessary to keep me in frame, so I put a book behind the soap dish and let the phone lean against that. High tech!

Over the course of an hour or so, I pulled various likely items out of the closet to show Lucas. He liked almost everything, so the limiting factor is going to be how much I want to pack and haul.

The nature of the shoot is starting to take shape too. The overall tone is going to be artistic. There will be some regular non-fetish photos, and we’ll also try some rope bondage, starting with ties that look cool but don’t actually restrict movement, and working up in intensity from there, within my comfort zone. There is a possibility of partial suspension if I’m inclined to try it.

A couple of days later, we exchanged some sample photos. He wanted to show me his rigging and editing skills. I wanted to show him the photography styles I like and some of the clothes in action, and just show off a little. He found my photos inspiring, which I consider a great compliment.

He likes the look of gags and suggested it as an idea, and my first reaction was that I should agree to try it, even though I wasn’t especially keen. But I realized that this was my old habit of going along with things because I think I ought to for some reason. So I informed him about that habit and gave him some ideas of how to help me avoid that pitfall. He acknowledged that gags are intense and not for everyone, and reassured me that there is no wrong answer and it’s important to him that I’m happy.

Our friendly discussion seems to be developing into more focused and deliberate negotiation, which reminded me that although this project isn’t about sex, it will be sexy. We haven’t had a BDSM checklist chat, but I’d be ready for it.

We’ve set tentative dates (a little less than two months away), chosen to coincide with a fetish club night. I think the whole trip is going to be a blast.

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.