People have seen that one nude photo of me in the shower floating around online, and I thought perhaps I would write about why I did it. I have never been the one to flaunt my body, I’ve always been a very insecure person, which got worse after puberty. If I went swimming anywhere, to a water slide for example, I would have left my t-shirt on… which was probably a good thing when you consider skin cancer.
When I was growing up in the 70’s there were lots of calendars around, of naked women, and I suppose I just sort of took it as normal, before feminists weigh in here, please take into consideration that I was a kid at this stage, around ten or so. And at this point I came to wonder why there were calendars of Women, but there were no Men, I found that very odd.
I suppose I felt both sexes deserved equal time.
I really had nothing to base my sexuality on, anything male seemed to be hidden away, or Men would appear in porn magazines merely to emphasise the sexuality of Women, but never alone, never by themselves, or with other Men. Not that I saw any of this until I was around twenty something. I just didn’t have access to that sort of material, which was sad because I really wanted to know.
Perhaps if I had lived in San Francisco things would’ve been different.
One thing that stuck with me was hearing the guy who created the Love Sexy cover for Prince saying something like “Female sexuality is an easy thing to photograph, while Men, were extremely difficult” as though my sex were sort of neutral, too dull to be photographed, not impressive, and kind of worthless.
Then I got online, and suddenly there they were, all the pictures of Men that I had imagined should have been on calendars in local shops, and should have been hanging up in grimy offices and so forth, It was an awakening.
What I liked most about these photographs were that the models were a lot more confident about their bodies than I was, and I felt after seeing them, a lot more at ease with who I was… but perhaps if I’d seen these images as a teenager, it would have helped things a lot more… but obviously there was no internet, as we have now, way back then.
It was 2005 when the cancer was discovered, and I feared that with the operation and treatment, that my body would change, so I wanted to take some photos of myself, before the operation, in the nude, not to be shown, just for my own purposes.
Before a bowel operation, a patient goes to see a stoma therapist. a stoma is a bit of your intestine which sticks out of your body, and a special collection bag is hung from this, which collects your waste, it’s not as bad as it sounds, the stoma is only about the size of the tip of your thumb, and the bag fixes to your body a bit like a band-aid, and is changed every couple of days.
The stoma therapist teaches you a bit about what a stoma is, shows you a model, and then works out where the best place for your stoma will be… so it’s not directly under where the belt of your pants would be, for example.
An “X” was marked on my body with a texta, and covered with a patch of what looked like clear masking tape, after my operation I would wake to find a stoma there, and a bag.
One morning when Mum went out shopping with my Sister, I set up my camera and took full frontal shots of me, which nobody would see but me.
After the operation I felt that with the stoma there, and the smell, and the minor accidents I was having with it, that I had become unclean, I wouldn’t touch food with my bare hands, I even used a spoon to eat twisties.
But as time went on and I became more adept at looking after myself, that feeling went away, and I began to return to normal.
Then Joe came to visit me from the US, we had planned this holiday months ago, but only a few weeks earlier Mum had passed away, so I was still in a strange mind-frame.
We stayed in this lovely cottage at Mt Dandenong, which was actually for new couples, I think, but it was right in the forest which is exactly what I needed, I love the forest and the sound of bellbirds.
The light was beautiful on the inside, and I felt like taking some photos as I had been doing frequently throughout the holiday, then I realised that I could probably take some nude shots.
I wasn’t prepared to do frontal shots as I had the horrible bag on, and I really didn’t want to do that anyway. I just wanted a lovely photo of myself having a shower in this gorgeous bathroom.
So I snapped a few photos using my Pentax SLR on a tripod and I used a timer, No flash was used as it would have spoilt the lovely yellow lighting there.
I never had the opportunity to photograph nudes, something I’d quite like to do, and so I really enjoyed doing this, I think in part, the photo was to say “This is me, I’m confident, I’m in one piece and I’m ok”.
BTW: I had a reversal done in 2010, where the stoma was “removed” (put back inside where it ought to be) This has caused it’s own problems, but about eight months later, things are much better than they were. and showering is so much easier.