Her jeans were just that little too tight. That was the fashion at the time and I had no disagreement with that at all. As I would walk down the corridor in high school, she would distract me every time. When we finally shared a class I truly didn’t think I would learn a thing. I did actually pass that class but probably because I looked forward to that class the most.
I was an older teenager and burning with testosterone and this new way I saw girls. Another girl stood outside a 7-11 and she had the most perfectly shaped bum I had ever seen. Her tight jeans were stretched to their limit and I couldn’t resist. Now in those days, I had very little awareness of my shortcomings and confidence was more arrogance really. I rode my BMX across the street and approached her.
“Hi, I’m Rob and you have the best ass I have ever seen. Can I ask you out?”
Turns out she had a boyfriend but she was flattered and we nearly got together a few times but her relationship kept us from getting closer. I always remember that because it was the most honest I think I have ever been in a chat-up line.
My adoration of the female form has never dissipated and I must say I love women. As I matured however, my respect grew as well. My lust morphed into a healthy desire and my testosterone fueled gaze changed as I started to draw and was inspired by the shape of women. Watching the mother of my children bought on a much more realistic and biological understanding of women’s bodies. I am however, biologically a man and straight and I still retain that desire. It’s just not driven by physical sexuality so much anymore.
One joy I have found in photography is to work with a nude model and not once be physically tempted or think sexually. I really enjoy being able to look past the physicality of a womans’ body and see light and shape. This is the essence of what I was attracted to and still am however, I have learnt the ability to shut that part of my mind off. Many times I am asked how am I not turned on by the women I work with and although I cannot explain it fully because even I don’t understand it myself. I can only say that I am concentrating on the camera settings, lighting, and pose but although that’s true, I don’t find my mind going there during editing either.
I am always thankful when people see my work and say that it’s not sexual. I have managed to see past the physicality and the male gaze and concentrate on the model as inspiration. The images that make it through the cull after a shoot amplify the shape and form yet are not inherently sexual. And by sexual, I mean my focus does not amplify or typify the elements of the female form that are usually sexual in nature such as the ‘butt shot’ or poses that typify sexual positions.
I love that I am still attracted to the female form but that I have grown and matured and that I can use that healthy desire to see past the biological sexuality that we have. I enjoy being more emotionally intelligent and found a way to manage my drives and emotions so that I can do this type of photography with a pure intentionality.