I grew up with a camera in my face. My dad was and still is an avid hobby photographer, and he carried around his big bulky blue canvas camera bag for as long as I can remember. I’m sure he still has that old bag somewhere, although I think he finally retired it as his camera bag. That bag has been back and forth across this country more times than I can even imagine. He specialized in landscape photography, annoying us and my mother as he spent what seemed like hours capturing perfect photos of colorful sunsets, sprawling mountain scapes and rushing waterfalls. He also took countless photos of us girls. To this day, if I see someone with a camera, I automatically pose, naturally of course, but my gut sucks in and my chin slightly rises.
He recorded the smallest moments of our lives onto 3 by 5 pieces of paper, and he painstakingly created photo albums, dated, organized and captioned with bits of poetry and comedic commentary. We watched ourselves grow up on these pages, from the time we were only seconds old, still wrinkled and squirming, to the later years when we rolled our eyes at him in teenage frustration. I recently went through some of those old photos as part of one of my quarantine projects, organizing and categorizing the snapshots of my early childhood. I am grateful to him for keeping those memories for us. He’s traded his big Nikon and various lenses for a smartphone now, and he sends me photos via text instead of in print format, but his talent and passion still shine through.
I wanted to be like him. In high school, I carried around my own version of his Nikon, a more modern digital version, still bulky and very much obsolete these days. I emulated him and took photos of my friends and all our silly shenanigans. I have our teenage years documented, all the fun, all the awkwardness, all bad decisions, organized into albums, each one a year of our lives passed. There are photos of us dressed up for prom, our dates forgotten as we stand arm in arm. You can see us with braces, standing in rows on bleachers in horrendous green and black chorus dresses, ready for one of our many performances. I have evidence of us on Spring Break, donning bikinis and tan lines, kissing boys we only just met. There are photos of us in mud stained soccer uniforms, red faced and sweaty, but our smiles are triumphant and proud. As I dug through my giant box of photos, I relived all of these moments during quarantine, sharing these memories with the girls in our group chat. We laughed so hard.
Times have changed, and boxes of bulky photo albums are no longer efficient. I still have my photos though. They are all on my computer, automatically categorized by date so that they are easy to locate. The subjects of my photos haven’t changed that much though. I still have photos of my friends arm in arm. I have photos of my dogs covered in mud, shots from all of the vacations we’ve taken throughout the years, pictures of our wedding and honeymoon and parties and houses and adventures. It’s still a collection of memories, moments frozen in time, and I often go back and look at them. I marvel at how young we were, how thin!
Since starting this blog, one thing has changed about my photography. Now my camera roll is filled with nudes. Photos of my boobs, my ass, photos of my partner V in all her glorious naked beauty fill my phone. When ever I show someone a photo, I have to be careful not to accidentally reveal anything scandalous. It’s a fun game and one that I have lost once or twice, thankfully not without a good laugh. It has surprised me how good taking these photos can be for my self esteem. Not that there aren’t bad days. Having a sexy nude photoshoot after eating Mexican for lunch is not necessarily a good idea. The fact that I can get a shot like this one, taken after gaining the Quarantine Fifteen, and still feel good and confident just goes to show how beneficial nude photography can be. Participating in memes like Sinful Sunday and Lingerie is For Everyone is so much fun. It gets the creative juices flowing and helps me feel good about my body no matter what is going on in my life. This blog is my own secret photo album, documenting my sex life and my kink life. It’s all laid out and organized, labeled and captioned, just like my dad’s old photo albums. It’s a record of a side of me that I can’t necessarily share with everyone, but at the same time it’s there for all to enjoy.
Long from now, when I am old and grey, or perhaps when my body is already rotting in the ground, there will be a record of my life somewhere on this planet. There will be photos in albums stored in some future relative’s attic. There will be memory sticks with digital footprints of the path I once walked. Maybe photos from this blog will find their way to some sexually curious person’s computer screen one day. My photos are a record of a life lived fully and happily, adventurously and scandalously, quietly and comfortably. They remind me where I came from and the possibilities of where I can go.