Saturday, January 2, 2010

Belly Dance Pin-Up

I love posing nude for the same reason I love to dance: self-expression. Belly dancing and artistic nude modeling have more in common than you would think. Both require poise, endurance, and playing with facial expressions. And more importantly, both emulate the beauty of the female body in a non-derogatory way.
A few weeks ago, I did a photo shoot with West Side Photography. When being photographed in the nude, it is important to find a photographer with whom you feel comfortable. I’ve responded to plenty of ads that were requesting an “artistic nude model”, only to discover that the photographer really just wanted to shoot some porn. If that’s your cup of tea, then that’s great. It’s just not mine. And no matter how much sweet talking you do, you're not going to convince me that it is.
West Side Photography is a safe haven when it comes to feeling comfortable in front of the camera- no porn, no creepiness, no hidden agenda. Just beautiful shots of strong, empowered women. Now that’s my cup of tea.
When I talk to people about nude modeling, many exclaim that they do not have the confidence to take their clothes off for the camera. For me, it has been the opposite: posing nude has given me confidence. It is so empowering to embrace your body and bare it all to the world in a way that highlights your strengths and not your flaws. Plus, there's always Photoshop.
There is also a surprising result that occurs from seeing yourself in nude photographs. Even while looking in the mirror, I am not able to truly see how my emotions are reflected in my body language or in the expressions on my face. But after looking at a series of 400 nude photos, I can’t help but notice how much my body reflects how I feel inside.
I did my first nude photo shoot while I was recovering from a traumatic event. Despite the confidence portrayed in the pictures, there was a faint trace of frailty in every shot. Juxtapose those pictures with the ones from my last shoot, and the contrast is striking. At this point in my life, I am stronger and more confident than I’ve ever been- and it translates in the photographs. Although, I’m sure holding a sword had something to do with me looking so fierce, too.

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