New Experiences and Photo Shoot Round 2

One of the aspects of my personality that I most enjoy is that I crave new experiences. This has caused me, at times, to do some very stupid things. On the other hand, it has lead me to change my mind about several things. Every time it makes me a different, wiser person than before. Sometimes this means doing things that push the boundaries of what others would consider comfortable or acceptable. As somebody who works with minors, I have had to learn to balance how much I talk about such experiences for the sake of my career and the organization I work for and love. I am happy to do this.

But sometimes there is some grey area, where what I want to talk about is very close to the line. Admittedly, I’ve often been a very poor judge of where exactly that line is, and so a good rule of thumb to follow is that if there’s doubt, don’t do it. Let others challenge propriety. The blog I’m about to post has been one of those situations for me.

There are some people who follow my blog because I’m a younger atheist who has much to learn about life and they enjoy watching me grow as a person. Several people are watching and pulling for me in my battle with anorexia, but I think some just like watching me change through my life experiences and to either reminisce about their own or to see what it is like for another person to have experiences they may have been curious about.

Well, I think the human body is a beautiful thing. I also am becoming more and more comfortable with my own body (which has been a chore to say the least). In the interest of exploring that, in August I let a photographer friend of mine take pictures of my body. She, in turn, let me take pictures of her and gave me pointers on how to create art in that way. I changed for that experience in a very positive manner.

Yesterday we did it again. I feel I did better as a photographer in setting up scenes and in framing them. I also was less uncomfortable in front of the camera (last time I nearly vomited from nerves). Like so many other experiences, this is something that changed me. It was important. And therefore, I want to share it.

Beneath the fold there are pictures I took of a naked woman (with pretty cool tatoos). In response to the first round of pics from this shoot, FtB blogger Assassin Actual said “Its not a man-shoot till someone takes off their shirt ;)“. So there are also a few pictures of myself without a shirt on. There are no naughty bits, though there certainly could have been. I have no aversion to sharing pictures I took of Christina without a shirt, but I get the impression that even amongst secularists there are enough feelings that doing so would somehow be improper that I didn’t – not as an individual, but as a person who takes his job very seriously, and who is aware that in my professional capacity I am bound by the same standards of propriety I would like to demolish otherwise.

Still, there will be some people who will jump on me for ‘endorsing this behavior’ (to which, even if it were true, I would say “So what if I am?”). I endorse a lot of things. I endorse being passionate about your life; I endorse honesty; I endorse reason. I endorse these things because your life will be better with them, and so I think every person should adopt those qualities. However, your life may not be better exploring the human form, and so while I endorse taking chances and seeking out new experiences, I do not necessarily endorse nude photography. But I sure as hell don’t condemn it and and I most assuredly don’t regret a moment of it.

If that is not your flavor, don’t click below the fold. I reiterate that there is a naked woman there. She is physically beautiful, as is virtually every human being in some way, and I want to share this experience with people for the same reasons I always do: I pushed myself and am proud of it. It changed me. I hope it changes someone else. That’s how we capture life, and it’s how we make art.

You’ve been warned about what’s below the fold.

READER QUESTION: What is the best way to get involved in the atheist community?
PERSONAL: Cancer sucks.
POLITICS & GAY RIGHTS: Arkansas about to pass an anti-gay law just like Indiana’s.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • kerrifarrow

    I love challenging propriety! But I also have to temper it with the understanding that it can have an affect on my professional life. I limit what I say online but in person I make people uncomfortable, which I kind of like. :) Awesome pictures!

  • Steph

    You and your friend are both beautiful. Also, I cannot tell a lie… I am transfixed by the awesomeness of that bathroom ;)

  • Teresa

    Amazing pictures, and i admire your bravery to dive head first into new things.

  • Ashton

    I’m with Steph on this. That bathroom is amazing. I never take baths because I can’t get enough of my body underwater to stay warm. Something is always sticking out feeling cold. That tub looks like it would take care of that problem.

    Oh, yeah, and you also both look good.

  • Alix

    Beautiful photos of the both of you. :) You both look positively yummy.

  • martha

    Seconding Alix.

  • Jeannie in PA

    You look anxious. That’s pretty understandable as this is new to you. Try taking your photos after a hard workout. Don’t pose or make faces. Just relax and let if hang out. Concentrate for awhile on the shapes light makes on your curves. Then you will be taking photos of interesting shapes on an uneven canvas. if you can imagine your skin as a canvas and the subject as light and dark, it might help you to relax.

    As an artist who draws the nude, I find that some models are very relaxed and my drawings tend to look relaxed. But a few are tense, and it shows in the drawing.

  • VeritasKnight

    I think that you look more normal with your birthmark as well. It’s what I expect to see.

    Like Mikhail Gorbachev. You know, if Gorbachev was known as a vicious unrelenting attack dog for reason rather than the architect of glasnost. I can’t see JT Eberhard orchestrating atheism’s version of glasnost.

    I wanted to say that for awhile.

    These pictures contain two great-looking humans, and thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Lana C

    You both look great, and I third Alix. I’m also glad that you like your birthmark, it’s a great thing to look in the mirror and realize that you like what you see :)

  • carolw

    Kudos to you again on facing your body image issues and sharing with us. You look great. (I’ll look at the full set at home.)

  • Brandi

    I love her tattoos!

  • Melanie

    You both are beautiful and the photography is lovely. Kudos to you facing you’re body-image issues. You do look a bit tense/uneasy. I second Jeannie on trying a shoot after a workout. The confidence that comes with a really good workout might carry over into the shoot.