Cameras on naturist beaches

One thing I’ve noticed on naturist beaches in recent years is that cameras are in evidence. When I started out in naturism cameras were a big ‘no-no’, and producing one, or taking photos of others without express permission was liable to see your camera forcibly removed from you and the film (as it probably was back then, digital would have been in its infancy) removed in front of you, or the camera thrown in the sea.

With digital, cameras have got smaller, and would have good picture taking qualities even in miniature pens, glasses and so on, making it hard to detect ‘the voyeur photographer’.

So many ‘voyeur’ style photographs have been taken, and published, in the internet age. I disagree strongly with this, as I’ve stated in a previous post.

However, the irony here is that, with an explosion of naturist photographs, and representation of the ordinary aspect of the lifestyle, there’s been a little bit of a resurgence of interest in naturism in the internet years, possibly fuelled by a ready source of naturist imagery (I believe almost everyone has some underlying interest in the concept, as any bucket lists I’ve ever seen published almost invariably include ‘skinny dipping’ on it).

As a result of regular exposure to images, and in a society (certainly a European society) wherein nudity is ‘normalised’ people appear to be more relaxed about being photographed naked, either in private, or on their naturist holiday.

Yes, we take photos on our naturist holidays, of course we do. And when we’re on the beach we’d be aware that we could be photographed on the beach. I’m sort of OK with this, with caveats.

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Here’s a photo of my RL/SL husband, Jim. He’s the subject of the photo but I’ve inadvertently managed to capture another naked avatar in the background.

If I were minded to publish it on the internet, as a RL photo, there are those who might wish to crop Jim out and focus on the lady (let’s be honest, most nude photography on the internet is of women, for men), it’s going to be difficult for the voyeur/pervert wishing to focus on her.

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Because even in the digital age ‘blowing up’ the photo leads to a surfeit of detail. I apply these rules in RL. If someone is obviously taking a photo of their partner, and I happened to be somewhere in the background, I’m OK with it. I’m unlikely to be identified even if that photo makes its way to the internet.

However…there’s also a high chance that, on holiday, I’m involved in some activity with some of my children.

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Imagine a Mum playing in the background with a child. Well, I’d sort of expect the photographer to delete out of courtesy to the unintended subjects if he/she realises it at the time, delete when reviewing the photo, or crop out the unintended subjects and delete the original.

The absolute minimum would be that the photographer pixellates the child, and the mother too.

Cameras on naturist beaches are OK, up to a point, as far as I’m concerned, but not for everyone, so when photographing it’s vital to be vigilant not only about your own subject, but the background too. I’ve had some strange looks when turning up with a camera, and my rules are to point it at the ground when not in use, and to make it clear you’re photographing. At the time I was trying to point the camera out to sea, to take a photograph of an impressive yacht, and there was no one swimming between myself and the yacht. Even so, some sunbathers did keep a watchful eye on me in case I tried to photograph them. Which is entirely understandable.

If someone makes it obvious that I’m the subject of their voyeur photography I would, of course, be challenging them immediately. We can be more relaxed about cameras, within limits.

Note: The female in the photograph is one of my SL friends who posed accordingly for the purposes of this post. The ‘child’ in the photo is actually an adult avatar who adjusted their hover height to sink into the sand and appear smaller), and is another SL friend. We didn’t consciously try to set up these photos to illustrate the post. All participants were aware of the shots I was trying to set up. We would not encourage age-play, child-avis or role-play of a similar type in SL. Indeed, I’m uncomfortable being around child avi’s in SL, or petites, as I find myself questioning the motivation of those who feel they must adopt a child or petite avatar.

Ella

 

Photos : a policy guide

When I’m inworld and get talking to people, the topic of the blog often comes up. Some people have been avid readers for years (SLN would be relatively well known amongst some of SL’s naturist community) while others have never heard of it.

Promoting it has always been hard, as syndicating its presence amongst a wider SL community has always been hard. Blog aggregators tend to shy away from anything they consider to be NSFW.

These are the same aggregators who will constantly link to SL bloggers who will pose their models in a new outfit that leaves little or nothing to the imagination. Clearly the difference between being safe for work and NSFW is a diaphanous, see-through body stocking, on the basis that it has a price tag.

Worse, the model may be sporting a new weapon while posing, or have her legs wrapped around a male model in a provocative fashion. But that’s OK. The weapon and the provocative pose also have price tags.

Besides, why are you looking at SL blogs at work anyway? Aren’t you meant to be working? Little wonder I can never contact any arm of government when I need them (but can hum along to Mozart’s 41st Symphony).

It’s often conversations I have with other avatars that steer the blog, and this blog entry is no exception. The avatar I was speaking to mention the issue of photos, and that there was a specific tumblr site he visited which he said featured genuine naturists. I checked it out and I agree, it does contain some excellent genuine naturist photography. The problem I have with it is that most are voyeur photos, pictures taken of subjects without their knowledge or consent.

I’m uncomfortable with this. While, on one hand, these sort of photographs probably best represent naturism as it is, ordinary people doing ordinary things without make-up, a hair stylist or ‘a beach-ready body’ (all bodies are beach-ready…the entire concept of being a specific size or shape for it is silly and offensive).

I love to see these type of photographs. They’re the best representation of naturism. But they remain voyeur photos, so I try not to utilise these on the blog, much as I’d like to, if only to present some naturist facts, these being (a) not all naturists confirm to a specific type of age and body (b) it’s not some group orgy, it’s ordinary people doing ordinary beach holiday things like swimming, sunbathing and kicking a ball around (and c) some of these people have children and naturism is very much family-orientated (watch out for a subsequent blog entry on the manner in which some sick people have helped to further skew the idea of naturism by their fascination for child photography, something that means all of us have to tread carefully about how we present naturism. sometimes it seems there’s never been a naked family on holiday, ever.

Watch out for another subsequent blog entry about cameras on beaches, incidentally, something that has grown more acceptable in naturism in recent years. (Fallow season for naturist related posts? Don’t you believe it).

We will continue to persist with a policy whereby, to the best of our ability, we will studiously avoid utilising ‘voyeur’ type photos, even though they may well be the most accurate pictorial description of naturism.

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Probably genuine naturists, and I’m guessing this is France.

Photos of this type are OK as far as SLN2 is concerned.

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Probably a voyeur type shot, but as the subject’s identity is not

compromised I would still consider this to be OK for SLN2

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Definitely a voyeur shot, but the difficulty is rejecting such a normal, ordinary beach shot when the subject’s face is largely hidden from the camera’s eye. Hidden in that, apart to the subject herself, few of her friends might even recognise her. As a result, I’d probably use such a photo on SLN2.

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Definitely a voyeur shot, apparently taken from the other side of a river/lake without the subjects’ knowledge or permission. I would not use this on SLN2, hence the pixellation used on the photo, which did nothing to try to preserve the anonymity of the subjects. This type of photograph (without pixellation) is, for me, is strictly off-limits

There will be other photographs claiming to be ‘naturist’ but which we know, almost certainly, utilise models posing as naturists. I would be relaxed about the models being viewed face-on. However, as the models will almost invariably be specimens of ‘the body beautiful’ they do offer a skewed impression of how you must look on a naturist beach.

Ella

Dressed like what?

This isn’t strictly a naturist blog entry, but does have some relevance to ‘body confidence’, even within SL. And probably quite a bit to do with morality and behaviour.

I often meet people in real life who claim ‘oh, I could never do naturism’, with a variety of excuses offered as to why not.

I’ve got beyond the age now where my peers proceeded to go out dressed for the night with more cleavage on display than not, and nothing but a thong under their micro mini skirt. Sweetie, you’re already 3/4 naked on a cold December night, nipples stood out like coat hooks, and you think I’m the brazen one for being a naturist?

It’s not much different in SL. Avatars claim they’re not brave enough to go bare in a naked sim despite them not being a real thing! And then dress up like the RL friend we all had/have in the paragraph above, go dancing in SL with an evening that ends up with the rather ridiculous ‘oooh, so hawt, bawbee’ pose balls being utilised.

Anecdotally, more than of any real relevance to this post, when I started in SL, eight years ago this week!!!!! I used to go to a naturist sim called Manatee, which was busy, and contained a mixed crowd, some of whom were there for the the genuine side of naturism, and were experienced RL naturists with all manner of advice about RL naturist locations, while others would wander off to a more intimate area for some pixel bumping, or slex as SL sex is sometimes called.

One of the more senior members, senior in that she’d been in SL almost from the beginning, would wander off with yet another conquest, return some time later and shout ‘289!!!!’ or whatever in local chat, so we all could ‘hear’. Yes, that was the number of pixelated sexual experiences she’d had.

Worse, sometimes I’d log in two nights in a row and whatever the number was had leapt by 6 or 7. You either had to admire her stamina, if only to sit there at her keyboard cranking out a procession of SL moans, or dismiss her as the girl the boys all liked until they’d been there, after which they’d dismiss her -even in an SL context- as a slut or a whore.

She was a keen advocate of doing her (predatory) wooing in local chat, just so we all got to hear her ‘chatting up’ another semi-decently presented male avatar.

I’ve no idea if she’s still playing, but at that rate I’d suspect her number of Slexual partners would be approaching, or over, four figures by now.

I once remember speculating that, if someone were to invent an SL sexual disease (think of a cross between ‘Bloodlines‘ and the Mama Allpa hud -with which you can control your SL fertility…sex leading to getting pregnant or not as the case may be) she’d have infected a good percentage of that sim’s visitors.

I’ve kind of got distracted. The point is that in SL our appearance often creates preconceptions in others just as it does in RL. Our half-dressed real life friend, discussed above, is going to be a magnet for the most base of male behaviour. Dressing in a similar manner in SL is, without doubt, going to play on male behaviour, with many male avatars seeing the ‘cheap tart’ as someone who is going to deliver slex without too much hard work.

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Chaste and demure? Or ‘easy’?

Anyway, I came into this post to show the seasonal ‘snowflake back tattoos’ in the photo at the top of the page, from Lushish Katz (L$0 join fee, L$0 for the group gift) which come in white, faded and normal tattoo colours. It’s exactly the sort of gift that will have some avatars who claim ‘I could never go naked, even in SL’ heading for a topless beach, or scrambling through their inventory for their skimpiest bikini top, just to show it off.

Right next door to the Lushish Katz board where those snowflake tattoos are available is an SL&FO group gift (again, L$0 join fee, L$0 for the gift) of leg tattoos, as worn by our rather drunk model (‘Drunk’ AO, from the Marketplace, priced at L$10).

She’s dressed in an outfit from YDEA (again, L$0 join fee, and the outfit is also free…and YDEA have dozens of spectacularly good free outfits).

So, ultimately, this post has been a little bit about shopping for currently available freebies, but leads into how our choices of SL clothes impact on others’ perceptions of us, and how we perhaps have to take some responsibility for our actions ‘dressed like that’ when we’re bombarded with ‘hi, sexy!’ random IMs. I know this isn’t a popular viewpoint within feminism, whose current thinking is that regardless of behaviour, there’s no excuse for rape (which is true). Equally, and I depart from feminist wisdom in this regard, I think young women continue to endanger themselves by getting insensibly drunk, too drunk to consider the consequences. The clothes aren’t the issue, the consumption of alcohol is usually the defining element here.

Male attitudes led to the inception of the Slutwalk, which is a protest that our -womens- mode of dress is not a contributory factor to rapes or assaults. Correct.

Naturism conceivably has a role to play in all of this. Our naked bodies, within naturism, become a matter of fact ‘normality’, with all mystique removed, and for me, it seems that the adolescent male, through naturism, has much of his curiosity answered in grown up understanding what an adult or adolescent female looks like naked. I would argue that this leads to a greater sense of respect for females. People growing up naturist appear to have a much deeper sense of respect for each other than they do growing up textile. In a naturist world, no one is dressed ‘provocatively’ and no one is ‘asking for it’ due to how they’re dressed. Food for thought? It’s something I’ll be picking up on in a post later this week, with my observations of naturist behaviour amongst young people on my naturist holidays.

Ella

 

Baby, it’s cold outside

I’m looking out from my study window this morning at a landscape kissed with an all-encompassing frost. Winter has suddenly arrived.

Usually, winter only really arrives after Christmas, in January and February, and it’s slightly worrying that it’s making an appearance in mid-November. I’m going to predict that there will be days, over the next 2-3 months, where I’m stuck at home, with roads blocked and schools closed. I just have that feeling…

In that case, it will be a case of battening down the hatches, turning the heat on and logging into SL, or checking out the websites of some lovely naturist locations and imagining the sun on my back once more.

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I was up early, and my own back garden had a lovely blue tinge over the frost as night slipped away into dawn.

Nothing quite as splendidly Christmasy as the sim I visited to take some photos, and throw on a lovely warm coat I’ve never worn before, the ‘Vampire Hunter Alison’ coat you’ll find that came as standard in your inventory.

I’m not feeling Christmasy yet -it’s far too early regardless of what the shops say- but I am feeling wintry, and I have to say that it’s a period in the SL which, like autumn, makes for some fantastically atmospheric photographs. It’s also a period when you’ll find me dressed in SL.

Of course, there are some RL & SL naturist possibilities, as we can jet off to some sun-kissed beach in an instant in both spheres, and even at home there are hardy folk who will embrace naked ‘Polar Bare’ swims. Some RL swimming groups near where I live swim (textile) all the year round. Brrrr! Far too cold for me to try out, even in a wetsuit.

Ella

My nude debut : Pierre

Parisian Pierre writes to us with his own experience of his nude debut. As he supplied the text in French, and my own French isn’t parfait, I’ve taken the liberty of editing his text into English, with the caveat that I’ve had to adjust some of his words, as neither my own French or Google Translate were giving me translations that made perfect, readable English. I hope that I’ve captured the essence of what Pierre was saying. Just to add, I’ve checked with him and he’s happy with my English translation.

Ella

Many years ago, after I had completed my own studies, I moved to Paris in the hope of finding a good job. It wasn’t easy to secure employment right away, and so I ended up living in an apartment I couldn’t afford to heat while working as a waiter in a cafe, applying for jobs as openings came along.

I was really broke. My salary and tips only just covered my rent, and I was thinking of returning home to a small, rural town in France when I happened to see an advertisement for a nude life model at the university.

I applied and got the job. Now, I think I was maybe the only person to apply for the job. Of course I was a little bit frightened by the prospect, but the money they were offering was good, and I had no other options. Return home from Paris as a failure? Or go naked in front of strangers?

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Happily, it wasn’t so difficult at the first session. I was able to sit still for a long time, which seemed to be the only qualification required, and I would be in a seated position, so that not ‘everything’ would be fully displayed. It put me at ease. I was also put at ease by the fact that I wore a gown until the lecturer got me seated, it wasn’t a case of walking naked through a classroom of eager art students.

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In time, of course, there would be sessions where I had to stand, genitals fully on display, but by that stage it was no longer a big deal for me, the students seemed more interested in capturing an image than looking at me, and the extra money I was earning allowed me to eat better and heat my apartment.

Even better, sessions were during the day, so it didn’t interfere with my work in a restaurant either. I did it for two years, at which point I had found employment in my chosen field. Forty years later, as I think of retiring from my own business, and having done well in life, I often wonder how much life might have turned out differently if I had not seen that little advertisement for a model. The work and the money allowed me to survive in Paris for two years.

Pierre

 

Nude Protest : The Doukhobors

There was some inevitability that a steady supply of Brit-based, RL naturist, SL-using avatars would run dry eventually, so I’ve been casting my net further afield in a search for a new co-conspirator to help write this blog. I’ve nothing against people from other locations, it’s just that I’ve hitherto found that being able to contact people ‘live’ works best on a similar time zone. But as the UK well has run dry for now, I’ve located two new staff members, one male, one female, both being RL naturists, pretty much a given in order to write for SLN2. The male blogger (a rarity in itself, most SL bloggers appear to be female) is based in Europe, and I’ll introduce you to him in due course. Firstly, our female blogger, Emily, from Canada.

I was intrigued by Emily’s desire to write for SLN2 due to her exceptionally interest back story. Emily’s forebears were part of the Doukhobor religious sect in British Columbia. I’ll leave it to Emily to pick up their, and her, story…

Ella

Hi! I’m Emily, or Amaliya as I style myself in SL, a nod to my Russian roots. While I’m a proud Canadian, I’m aware that my ancestors arrived in Canada from Russia, as part of the Doukhobor religious sect, fleeing persecution in Russia.

They settled in Krestova, British Columbia (B.C.), about 500 miles east of Vancouver, or about the same distance SW of Calgary, if you’re trying to locate it on the map. These days,  my family and I aren’t part of that religious sect, and I live in Edmonton, about 750 miles north of Krestova.

I adopted the name Amaliya, as it’s perhaps the closest Russian equivalent to Emily, my given name in RL, although I’ll be blogging under my ‘Russian’ name, and SL avatar’s name, Amaliya.

I’m not part of any organised naturism locally. I have plenty of sparsely populated lakes around me here in Edmonton I can use for naturist purposes, and my partner and I have regularly driven to Wreck Beach, BC, to enjoy our nudism in the company of others.

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Emily often visits Wreck Beach, British Columbia, for her communal naturism

But let’s travel back to when my ancestors arrived in Canada. Persecuted in Russia for being peaceniks (they burned weapons and refused to serve in the Russian military). That was well over 100 years ago, but given the world we live in now, ‘enlightened’ by any stretch of the imagination. The writer Leo Tolstoy paid for many Doukhobors to leave Russia and travel somewhere they’d be safe. I’ve not been able (thus far) to ascertain if my own particular ancestors arrived here as a result of Tolstoy’s largesse, but I’d love to think he did.

The Doukhobors believed certain things. One, they covered their heads because it contained an energy that wasn’t dissipated by being bare headed (and also gave the impression of a humility). Two, we arrived in this world with nothing, and should depart it with nothing (no possessions…which sounds a bit John Lennon). As a result they were quite accepting of the naked state.

Nudity, or nude protest, would play a large role in the Doukhobors (or their sub-sect, the Freedomites), particularly in respect of call ups for military service (note that the naked protests pictured above mostly date from the 1940s/1950s, by which point the Duokhobors are well assimilated into Canadian life).

I’m quite proud that my forebears embraced a life of peace, a life if anti-materialism. I came to nudism quite independently of the knowledge that they were comfortable with their own nudity. When I subsequently learned of their relaxed acceptance of the naked state my first thought was ‘wow!!!! Is there something in the genes????’

Amaliya embraces historic Doukhobor styled clothing, as well as an easy acceptance of her naked state.

I’m looking forward to contributing further to SLN2, and I hope I can repay the faith shown in me by Ella.

Amaliya

Cambridge’s Best Bums of 2016

I was having an online discussion with one of our SLN2 advisors recently, and we were discussing how easy or difficult it is to keep news of real life naturism going through the (northern hemisphere’s) winter.

Sometimes, there is a dearth of naturist news -although as many sims adopt their ‘winter plumage’, the ground covered in snow, we should be able to link SL’s naturism to RL naturist swimming events, those ‘Polar Bare’ things you read about on occasion.

But this blog entry just landed in my lap today.

At Cambridge University, along with Oxford, one of the UK’s two (self-styled) top universities -at least those with the most cachet for reaching and having on your CV- (think Harvard or Yale if you’re reading this in the USA), there is a ‘Best Bum’ competition and the ‘finalists’ have been (un)covered in media sources as different in quality from the Daily Telegraph to the Daily Mail. You can tell the gulf in standards in the Telegraph’s reporting that ‘students bare their bottoms’ while the much, much more downmarket Mail suggests they show ‘First clASS Honours’.

A selection of the finalists from this year’s Cambridge Best Bum competition

A little more research unearthed that it’s an annual competition, and you can find coverage from 20152014 and 2013 online. No photos of the 2012 entry which appears to have been the first.

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I’m not proposing a competition, but it’s the chance to use a couple of previously unpublished photos in what looks like places of learning.

Ella