Curiosity, Learning, & Reflection

NSFW

I've written a bit about how much I learned during my first time out with the Fuji XPro-2 some months back. Specifically about my own process, psychology, and approach to the chastity project. In a nutshell, my own preference for blurring the lines between "making picture time" and all the rest leaves me in a state of always on which is great for shorter term endeavors. For the chastity project and my approach it just doesn't work for days on end. I need to blur those on/off lines for myself as well.

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Allie was the first person I worked with during my hiatus from client work. She happens to be a portrait photographer and a friend of a friend. No idea why she was interested in collaborating on this project. The above was was one of the first frames I made after introducing that collar while A. and I were kind of in a down-time as we made other pictures all day.

It was working with Allie and being all the time "on" and then being "done" that I learned I needed to blur my own on/off time-to-make-pictures mentality. Next up is a random frame from sometime later.

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Serendipity based on A. taking a break from walking around in 5 inch heels, a tight dress, and steel knickers all day. No specific reason I chucked the props in there except that they happened to be there as someone else wanted to make some pictures with that collar while I was in town if we could work out our schedules.

Fast forward, there was a common theme for the other people I worked with on the chastity project all day or over a couple of days. The common theme was exhaustion, being spent, and taking a break from walking around in heels all day. Below is one of the first frames with Melanie at some point in the afternoon of the second day messing around with my goofy approach experiments.

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Since there was quite a bit of time before dinner or anything else, and we were sort of done with the day-time out and about experiments I had in mind. What the heck, why not chuck in those same constraining props from a few days earlier until dinner time. Below is the first frame I made after that.

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The XPro-2 with the 18mm f/2 is perfect for casual documentary kind of work. It's unassuming and quiet without calling attention with size or harsh sounds. At some point later during casual picture making here and there…

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Fast-forward some more until the last full day of my little road-trip. The last person I worked with all day on approach experiments with the chastity projects. Jessica who also happens to be one of the collaborators that wanted to mess around with that collar in the first place. After all day screwing around on her feet here's the first frame I made taking a break with J. fitting that collar.

Below is a little while after J. Laid down as it's a bit more comfortable than sitting in the steel britches.

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The first or one of the first few frames after introducing a few more restraints.

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Next up is a random frame from sometime down the road from my casual shots here and there.

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Can you see a few parallels in body language, expression, and feel that come thru? Patterns? In a lot of ways the main black and white project is about a few of these parallels and contrasts. the couple of common things across these very different people made during both my and my collaborators down-time way after the experiments and contexts I had in mind in the first place are interesting and unexpected.

Having known Jessica, the last person I worked with during this little trip for a couple years I happen to know that she does this sort of stuff all the time. Not exactly but constraint kind of pictures, usually with rope. Fact is she does it for fun not just for making pictures. Completely different than Allie or Melanie above who don't. I happened to chat with her about it and specifically that collar prop before I left town. Here are a few things I didn't know.

  • J. likes constraints because in the right context she finds in therapeutic in a way, almost if not completely meditative.
  • That collar is interesting to J. because once she laid down it was almost impossible to sit up. I was kind of wondering why Allie and Melanie didn't sit up or get up to mess with their cell phones or whatever and just stayed pretty much static for so long.
  • The cuffs were a less restraining than her usual rope thing but having feet and hands coupled together made it difficult to find a place that was comfortable where she didn't fell a need to mess with the steel belt. Once she did she kinda didn't want to move much.

Upon reflection and taking a look at the commonalities across three very diverse people at least a few of Jessica's thoughts are pretty obvious even if not as consistent. Jessica is pre-primed for something meditative and after she told me in response to my "why do you like it" question it's obvious. The curious thing is similar feels that M. and A. expressed with not a lot of pre-disposition given the same props and context. I'll have to ask them next time I see both.

I don't know about you but the entire reason the vast majority of my photographic endeavors involve people is due to my curiosity. Deep down I think most photographers are continuously curious people. It never ceases to amaze me how I am surprised at things that should be obvious and upon reflection are obvious. I think it's surprising because concrete validation of things I think I see are seen and felt by others, or maybe it's confirmation that things I see that surprise me are not just confusion and mis-interpretation on my own part.

End Notes

All photos made with the Fuji XPro-2 and 18mm f/2. Processing via Lightroom with a random feel of the moment, gritty grainy, crushed shadows super high-speed 35mm film look.