I'm Naked!

DISCLAIMER: This is a strongly opinionated piece. If you feel I might be criticising you personally, please don't feel that way. I am not thinking of, or speaking about anyone in particular. I am generalising and reflecting upon observations made over a long period of time across many sites I have visited.

"Look ma, no clothes!"
Have you ever experienced having to view someone else's holiday shots when all they consist of are close cropped shots of the people with little to no inclusion of the scene itself?
"This is me nude."
"This is me nude from a slightly different angle."
"This is me. Nude. Posing a little differently."

It gets very trite very quickly. As odd as it may sound I don't personally feel pictures of naked people promotes nudity that well. Pictures of people enjoying themselves participating in fun activities where it's clear that they're enjoying themselves. Pictures of people enjoying a beautiful scene. That imagery to me promotes nudity and is quite widespread on the Internet.

To be quite honest, I have little interest in looking at naked bodies in and of themselves. If you're at a nude beach or venue it's pleasant to observe others enjoying the sunshine, air and environment clothes free. One does not go there to sit and stare at naked bodies. At least I don't.
Rarely if ever do you observe others in any great detail. You either observe them at a distance or you're engaged in a face to face conversation.
I'm there to enjoy the outdoors, not to sit around comparing myself to others, or inspect their physical form at close quarters. That's not even normal in a clothed situation.

It's on this basis that I find myself indifferent if not repelled by pictures that consist of nothing more than a naked person. So you're naked in your garden. Great. Naked in the shed, on a beach etc. It's pleasing to see pictures of the beach and wish you were there. That's sharing in the experience. It's great seeing other people's garden. I particularly like hiking scenes as that's one of my favourite activities.
Someone sitting naked in a deck chair. Why? What's so great about that picture? Someone sitting with a group of friends clearly enjoying a joke together. That's a worthwhile picture. You can easily enjoy and share in the fun atmosphere.

It's been suggested that perhaps I'm not accustomed to viewing naked bodies. Give it time and you'll get used to it. Nothing further could be from the truth. There is so much to admire about the naked form. There is so much variety, beauty and so many other facets. That appreciation doesn't compel me towards wanting to view nakedness in and of itself however. It seems as abnormal to me as men on work sites leering at every attractive woman that walks past them. Women are far more than a mere object of desire. Obviously men also.

It is somewhat from this perspective of objectification that I'm not enamoured with viewing posed shots of naked bodies, that basically have no other redeeming feature, other than the fact that it's basically a "this is me naked" shot.

There have been numerous long discussions on the site, within the moderators group etc about what is appropriate imagery and what isn't. More often than not, the pictures that most frequently come into question are the "this is me naked" shots.
Some are seedy. Some offend one half of those commenting, others who are not taken back by one image object to another. It's a pretty big judgement call, and it's very difficult to be consistent.

In my personal view, posed pictures of naked people do not promote nudity well. I feel it's the very thing that compels people to say, "I don't really want to see that. Nor do I want my kids to."
This isn't overly surprising, because many pictures don't reflect the more common reality. Here are some examples.

Two weeks ago my family and I were on an unofficial nude beach. At the far end of the beach was a guy I suspected was nude, but couldn't exactly tell because he was so far down the beach. Not far in front of us was a naked figure. Definitely nude, but facing away from us, and from their build, there was absolutely no way of telling their gender. Down the far end of the beach, another couple. I was pretty sure they were nude also, but a little hard to tell due to the distance.
Overall, there were naked people on the beach, but not so as you'd notice, and my wife who isn't a nudist was quite comfortable there. We spent about 2-3 hours. We walked along the beach, chatted with the couple in front of us. It was a great experience. I know for certain, if there had have been people parading in front of my wife and kids, there's no way we would have stayed. I myself wouldn't have been at all troubled by it. Naked bodies in and of themselves don't bother me.

In a second example, a few years ago, we happened across a naked protest. There was varying degrees of nudity to be seen, and quite a long parade to observe. Nobody was really that bothered by it. If people so chose, they could avert their gaze. Even if you chose not to, at best one caught a fleeting glimpse of bodies. This in my view is the reality of nudity. There's very seldom anything to see.

I've visited a few venues on a number of occasions. You see people from afar. You see them in conversation. You're engaging face to face. Even in a hot tub, you're not sitting there staring at their bodies, checking them out.

This is where posed, close cropped shots diverge so dramatically from what you actually experience in my opinion.

As carefully as I have chosen words and concepts to express my point of view, I'm almost certain that there will be significant misunderstandings and disagreements.
"Well what about my close up shots of body jewelry?"
I enjoy those a great deal. That isn't "me naked," that's check out the cool bling. The picture has purpose and interest.

Perhaps the fine line that separates the interesting from the absolute mundane is intent. Within the moderator circles, that factor has come up a great deal as well. "Why did someone actually think this picture was worth posting." IE: It seriously lacks any redeeming factors or points of interest other than, "hey check it out, I'm naked!"

Like so many other things, I have given this viewpoint long careful consideration. I've thought long and hard about various experiences throughout my life, and one of the reasons the Naktiv principal sounds so loud and true with me, is because it is what I believe nudity is really all about. Get naked, enjoy the natural environment and be active.

I can't help feeling that if the principal focus of nudity was to get out there and enjoy life to it's fullest, rather than focusing almost exclusively on being naked, more people would see the merits of it.

As it is, on almost every site I've come across, except those that actively discourage "this is me naked shots," you get those shots with varying degrees of taste and appeal.

Obviously I'm interested in hearing other people's point of view on this, otherwise I wouldn't have put in the effort to articulate my own views 🙂
Please add your perspective as you see fit.

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30 thoughts on “I'm Naked!”

  1. 2013 – from now: "I AM NAKED" – officially.
    And it was and is NOT normal, is not in keeping with social norms – so I'm an outsider.
    And I shot a picture of myself … Fotos again and again, and another and another one.
    But one point I realized that there is much more: Life itself is suddenly like new. And it makes great joy, to feel the nature, with people being together.

    I want to embrace the whole world – naked, in sincere love.
    Roberto

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  2. I think when Howard and Shane are talking about dishing the inane photos, (and they will no doubt correct me if necessary), they're largely talking about the endless photos which men (mostly) seem to post with them standing naked in their bedroom or bathroom. Sometimes even outside too, but almost always looking at the camera, because it's on a self-timer, and always looking lonely.

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that "only action photos" should be permitted, but the REQUEST is for people to TRY to post material that has some interesting content. So when some lonely man posts 10 photos of himself naked in his bedroom, it's really not very interesting at all.

    We will, no doubt, continue to get uploads of inane drivel, and we'll have to trim those back a bit from time to time, ( as stated clearly in the
    http://www.naktiv.net/rules/ ). In the meantime, let's encourage people to post material which encourages other people to want to join in.

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  3. Laurie, I understand completely. I'm here in Buffalo and get few moments to myself let alone time to be nude. Too many times "my time" involves running errands not relaxing. I have never been on a vacation of any kind and don't expect to be on one anytime soon.

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  4. While I did not conduct an in depth interview, I did breifly speak to one guy, he was not a regular at Hanlans Point, he was from out of Canada… European from his accent. I can only describe his demeanour as 'edgy and uptight'. He only made the one appearence there. It was blatant he was an exhibitionist, I guess he was passing through on vacation.

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  5. Shane, apart from perhaps a nuance on the word repelled, I completely agree. I have tried to say much the same recently but not so clearly. To me the point of this site is to encourage nude living, nude activity, making nudity completely acceptable as a way of life. It is not in my view about being nude of itself, so out of context photos of nude people do not help, especially “those” photos that I have recently referred to as sad.

    Before posting a photo I would suggest that people think about the purpose of the photo and whether it helps in promoting the site’s purpose. In particular, does it help to promote the idea of nude living, will it help attract the curious and lead them to believe that nude living is good. In addition, one does not need to be a David Bailey, modern kit makes it so easy, so there is no excuse for low image quality, it adds to the sadness of an image.

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  6. I agree Shane that many of the pictures posted on here and elsewhere are pretty pointless. They don't offend me as I see nothing offensive with any part of the human anatomy but they don't really interest me either. Many of the photo's are downright boring and that's why I don't post many, hardly any after the first few weeks of my membership in fact.
    My main criteria for judging photos of naked people is, "If they were clothed would this still be a good photo?".
    Some of my favourites are when people are naked in public and others are reacting to them in interesting ways.

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  7. I would absolutely love it if people posting pictures of themselves did provide a back story. There are occasions when this has happened to great effect. If nothing else it at least gives some insight into their motivation.

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  8. It does not bother me folks posting their holiday snaps, it's a syndrome of the age now that it happens online. It's not confined to nude subject matter, I mean recently I bought a new camera and it has 'food' mode on it, so people will photograph the most mundane topics. (Look out for my 'toast pics' – kidding!!)

    During the summer on a clothing optional beach I did observe a bizarre trend though, at 'tourist hotspots' some nudist would secure that spot and stand there for ages, their motivation? To be photographed. Again sure if that's their thing, everyone's different, and all they where doing was standing waiting, and when tourists came along they'd pose for the shot.

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    • At face value it may seem odd the way some trends evolve, such as selfies, sexting and other facets of self indulgence.
      Like it or not these trends are none the less a manifestation of the underlying influences swirling around within society.

      It's intesting to observe how some things take time to find their feet. Microblogging, aka Twitter was a benign waste of bandwidth until it's actual value and worth was realised. Predominantly by commercial ventures,that then filtered down to the general masses. The "ah ha" moment struck people when they realised you could use it to broadcast headlines that link back to actual content. Overnight it went from "Just had toast and jam for breakfast", to a post with a link about something the person was actually interested in and others were too.

      I'm inclined to think that people who don't have a particular mission or passion in life will quite readily follow the example of what others are doing.
      Where this seems relevant to my topic above, and the behavior Kevin has described on the beach, is that without a sound direction within themselves, people will follow the lead of others.
      If they come to a site like this and see it's accepted behavior to post self indulgent shots of themselves, they'll almost certainly follow that trend. If on the other hand they see engaging inspiring shots of people enjoying the outdoors, I believe their inclination will be to aspire to that standard.

      Will some feel intimidated and not feel confident to contribute? Perhaps. Should we inspire people to be all that they could be. Should we instead pander to the lowest common denominator?

      When I first found the Naktiv site I was inspired and motivated by the content. Thought provoking and challenging conversations. Wonderful pictures of art, outdoor scenes and discussions about people's views and experiences. I think we should continue to hold ourselves to that standard because it effects positive change.

      Maybe in their own way the posing nudists on the beach effect change as well. I haven't seen too many examples though where objectification has produced positive outcomes.
      " and this is the shot we took of a nudist posing for us on the beach." The ensuing conversation isn't likely to be to positive. Compare that to, "and we went to this nude beach and couldn't believe how normal it was. We joined in and met some great people who were so friendly."

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  9. Intent can be so hard to perceive, at some times, and at others unfortunately easy. On the photo front, identifying a 'redeeming feature' is certainly one way to sort the wheat from the chaff. As you implied, this sometimes works, perhaps not always, but it's certainly a starting point. Nicely articulated piece, Shane.

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