Mona Lisa (After Rampling and Teller)

Following on from Barbara’s post (and here’s one I prepared earlier) I got one of SL’s more mature ladies (Marjorie, her husband and 20 year daughter all play SL) to pose beside an SL version of the famous painting. The painting as reproduced in SL is obviously ‘not to scale’, or in a Louvre type setting, but it’s the best I can do to replicate the Rampling photos referenced, and reproduced, in Barbara’s post.

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Charlotte Rampling, an icon for her (and our) middle age. A guide to middle-aged Second Life.

As you may know, I’m always keen on anything (naturist or otherwise) in SL that reflects ‘the older avatar’.

Following on from, and in conjunction with, Harry’s piece(s) on Helmut Newton, part one here, part two to follow, I’m going to dedicate a post to Charlotte Rampling, the model in some of Newton’s photographs.

CRMJ4Charlotte Rampling, by Juergen Teller

Rampling, born in 1946, and now 67 years old, posed nude for Juergen Teller in The Louvre when 63. She describes her uneasiness at the idea in this Daily Telegraph piece by Jane Shilling, who herself did that ‘middle aged disrobing’ thing for her book, The Stranger in the Mirror’ (see below). Shilling’s disrobing was -at the time- discussed in ‘The Times’, alongside a companion piece by Bridget Harrison (reproduced below and readable from the original print)20110128085726_00001


Jane Shilling poses for the cover of her book, in a pose that echoes a previous photograph by Simone de Beauvoir


The original Simone de Beauvoir photo, she would have been 44 at the time of this photo, taken in 1952

And as recently as 2003, Rampling, in her late-50s, stripped off in the film ‘The Swimming Pool’

Charlotte Rampling - Swimming Pool - 1_23686257743_2974f8047d



I’ve not contributed much to SLN lately, on account of a) Ella going off on her ‘clothes design retreat month’ and b) I’ve been more interested in scouring the grid, actually coming to terms with being middle aged in SL. While it’s a time of life I’ve championed in SLN, and a time of life other avatars are clearly embracing, I’ve wrestled with the idea over the past weeks. What set this train of thought off, I’m not quite sure. Rather than writing, I’ve been exploring SL, bought new (and blonder) hairstyles to reflect that in RL I’ve finally abandoned a fierce loyalty to being prematurely white, and ‘gone blonde-ish’, with my SL reflecting that.

I’ve also spent literally hours of my SL time in recent weeks exploring ‘appropriate’ clothes for a middle-aged avi. While the blogs offer us a limitless amount of free clothes, I often find myself not wholly taken with them, as a mini-skirt half way up my bottom isn’t quite the image I’m trying to project!

It’s therefore thrilling to see Charlotte Rampling embrace nudity in her mid-60s, and look marvellous for it, not only being someone we (younger than her, but certainly in middle age) can admire for her body confidence, but -personally- act as a conduit through which I can channel my own SL. Having briefly and stupidly toyed with the idea of shaving 20 years off my life and making an avatar that would reflect that, I’ve decided that I was right all along on the road I had previously decided to travel. Embrace those middle years!

Charlotte Rampling, a couple of years ago, opted to pose naked again (aged 63) in the Louvre, for another iconic photographer, Juergen Teller.

What I like about Teller’s work is that, as with some of the younger portrait photographers, self-portraits, sometimes nude, feature. This isn’t ‘porn’, incidentally, but ‘fine art’. Erotic, yes, in some instances, but always strong photographs.tumblr_m8r65uSwq91ry2rxso1_400

Juergen Teller, self portrait

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Juergen Teller with Charlotte Rampling

The photo directly above, I think, can’t be seen just as some naked snap of an exhibitionist, but, rather, just as the Shilling book cover pays homage to du Beauvoir, Teller’s photo of himself homages Coubert’s ‘Origin of the World’


The Teller/Rampling photoshoot (the younger female is Raquel Zimmerman, the Brazilian model) is reproduced in part below.18136a00d83451575069e20120a5421291970b32Ms. Rampling, more even than Ms. Zimmerman, looks absolutely stunning. Agreed?

‘Age’ isn’t an issue, either, when another of Teller’s subjects, clothes designer Vivienne Westwood, is photographed nude (aged 68 when the photos were taken)

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These photos featured in a Teller exhibition at the ICA in London, and also featured portraits of younger models, such as Lily Cole and Kristen McMenamy . McMenamy is 46, Cole 25 but, for me, Westwood, 68, is the most beguiling of the subjects.

cole032c_Kristen McMenamy

Age has indeed given models such as Rampling and Westwood a patina of experience and beauty that seems oddly absent in the younger models such as Cole and Zimmerman.

So what does this have to say about being middle-aged in SL? I think that if RL can show nude, older women to be attractive in RL, then there’s no reason why older avatars in SL, nude or not, can equally be attractive. In a sense, women undertaking such nude photoshoots in RL with a sense of body confidence legitimises how we, as women, can equally feel strong, confident and content in our naked bodies in RL too. And equally in SL.

Naturism is a lifestyle in which older women abound. None of us are perfect, just as none of us were even perfect in our teens and 20s. But naturism teaches us a contentedness in the body we do have. Wrinkles, crows feet, gravity, whatever….none diminish our middle aged beauty. They enhance it. If you’re a middle aged woman in RL, playing SL, then why not consider adapting and adopting your avi to a middle aged appearance? The same goes for men, too. The Peter Pan/Dorian Grey look is fine, up to a point, but if diversity is the spice of life in RL, then it should also apply in SL.

In conclusion, my avi may be sporting a few extra virtual pounds around the middle, and her hair may be white (most of the time) but it’s a reflection of the real, contented me!



After Helmut Newton (part 1)

Once again, not a wholly naturist post, but I decided that I’d like to try to emulate the feel of one of the great glamour/erotic/nude photographers of the 20th century, Helmut Newton.

I first became aware of his name when a student at art college, through a famous photograph of the English actress Charlotte Rampling.

Indeed, he (and possibly more so the lovely Miss Rampling 😉 ) were probably partly responsible for fuelling an interest in photography at the time.Charlotte Rampling by Helmut Newton

Photographed in the Hotel Nord Pinus, in Arles, in 1973, she doesn’t actually show ‘much’, but the photo contains a strong eroticism. More importantly, where the naked female in photographs is often a topic to be ‘consumed’, the strength of the photo comes in Rampling not appearing naked and vulnerable, but naked, strong and in control.

His best (to my mind, anyway) photos are in black and white, creating a sense of mood, so I decided that it might be nice to attempt to replicate that mood in SL.84066_Charlotte_Rampling-by_Newton_1974_08_123_113lo

Charlotte Rampling by Helmut Newton, 1974

I’m not recreating photos here, none of my models are on a table with a glass of wine, just a sense of the mood, the implied sexuality, the noir-ish feel, and doing it in the context of SL.newton-helmut-1920-2004-german-in-my-hotel-room-in-montecatin-3446568

Hotel Room in Montecatin, by Helmut Newton

Ms. Rampling, now 67 years of age, still looks terrific and gorgeous, as a recent nude photo shoot at the Louvre demonstrates. I’m not offering photos of that shoot (by Juergen Teller) in this post, but Barbara, who always has a keen eye to ‘the older avatar’, is working on a companion piece to this post, and she’ll feature those photos in that post (plus some of my own SL photos by way of illustration).11f
Charlotte Rampling, part of the ‘Arles’ shoot by Helmut Newton

A second post, ‘After Helmut Newton, part 2’, will also be forthcoming, with less of the text, and explanation, to what I’m trying to achieve, and just a portfolio of photos ‘trying to be Newton’.










The four photos above just try to capture an essence of Newton, test prints, if you will. In Part 2 I’ll be trying to get to the core of Newton’s work, and present a gallery of my SL photos that are a homage to the great man.


Eden (Celebration)

Continuing a theme of ‘simply checking out the sims’, I  dropped into Eden Celebration, specifically the Conference Centre, to show you what’s available in what appears to be a criminally under-used sim. Yeah, the open air stage is close by (Abba coming up next, on April 19th…wonder if Bjorn and Benny will go bare? 🙂 ) as is a quay for yachts, but the conference centre itself seems under-used. Maybe we should ‘right that wrong’ with an SLN (or Moonella Group) conference there. Maybe even just a ‘Friends of Eden’ get-together. What do you all think?

Anyway, it offers a swimming pool, something that’s quite a rarity, to my mind, in SL, as sims tend to go for the ocean bathing option more. What I like about it is that it’s kind of half-in, half-out of the building, and it reminded me of being in Dublin, Ireland, where our hotel (sadly, not naturist) offered the same facilities. Straight from the changing room to the ‘inside’ part of the pool, from which you could swim under a glass wall to the outdoor part. The water was warm, and we were able to lie on our backs, float, and look up at….the drizzle! Well, it was Ireland! The thought was there, at any rate. Even in the drizzle -not a star in sight!- it was a lovely experience.
eden1 eden2 eden3 eden4 eden5 eden6 eden7As usual, with Brenda and Elbag’s builds, there’s a glorious attention to detail, and it’s the little things that delight me in much of the Eden estate. The turning of a corner to find, perhaps, a telephone box that simply fills in the tiny detail and makes Eden such a terrific experience. The conference centre is no different, laid out awaiting us to descend and discuss the future of SL naturism (it’s healthy…so maybe no need for a conference after all, lol).

I would encourage you to maybe get off the well worn tracks of SL naturism and seek out other, less obvious locations to simply relax and be delighted by what’s on offer. For anyone attending the Abba concert, the conference centre is ‘just over the way’, so maybe factor in a little time to visit it this Saturday before taking in the show.


Sweet Beans!

I’ve been over at the Sweet Beans cafe for a photoshoot with the lovely, delightful Charlene, my Australian friend and model. I’ve known her a long time, but due to the time differences between us I rarely encounter her online. Last night -into the small hours of Wednesday morning, actually, in UK time- she popped up online while I was sitting up with a glass of wine doing what I often do in SL when not taking photos. Location hunting.

While there’s numerous naturist locations in SL I sometimes like to go beyond naturist locations, as regular readers will know, to just give photos a different backdrop. Sweet Beans is simply a delightful little coffee shop, ideal for a bit of social interaction, and beautifully laid out, so I encouraged Charlene to join me for a photoshoot. Eventually another friend, Jaco, joined us.

There’s no ‘naturist’ input into this post, other than the fact that two of my friends are nude for the shoot. Nevertheless, I think it’s an attractive portfolio and even for those who wish to keep their clothes on, it could be a rewardingly romantic location.sweetbeans1 sweetbeans2 sweetbeans3 sweetbeans4 sweetbeans5 sweetbeans6 sweetbeans7 sweetbeans8 sweetbeans9 sweetbeans10