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Aileen Luib's Blog

"Vessels": Self-Portrait

Original: Flickr
I'd previously shot a couple of artistic nudes in the past and they weren't too big of a deal to me because they were just topless and never sexually explicit (same case with this photo). I've always taken risks for the sake of art, but I guess I never took such a risk of nudity with my own body being for a few things:

1) My professional and personal life outside of my photography work (helloooo background checks, lol).
2) My own self-esteem issues.
3) My Asian family and their modest ways
4) I'd always been in a relationship, so public nudity was sort of a no-no thing.

I've always shot self-portraits with no clothes on for the reason being I feel that clothes are too distracting. I am not a model. Shooting myself is serious business. Being the model and the artist at the same time makes me see the overall photo with high standards-- creating a striking piece while at the same time creating a photo I feel flatters me (because let's face it, who likes an ugly photo of themself?). This time around, I shot this photo and expected to crop out the chest area as I always do, but this time I thought differently.

I cropped really close in. I censored my nipples. Those ruined the overall feel of the image. I posted a SFW outtake of this photo set instead. Then I even thought to just keep it for myself and never show anyone, but then I thought, "why? This is a pretty cool photo and I would love to share it with people." The only touchy subject here in reality is just my own courage and whether or not -I- feel comfortable with sharing this on the Internet. So, why not.

SFW outtake I took. Although I love this one also, I feel the nude one was striking on its own.
I admit there is an underlying fear for my professional and personal life outside of photography-- if my peers and coworkers ever saw this image of me it would probably seem a bit awkward knowing they've seen my breasts. My family (especially my parents) would not be happy with this photo. But I honestly in no way perceive this photo as lewd or raunchy or the least bit sexual.

Let's stress that: nudity does not have to be sexual.

Most of my favorite images are nudes, and my reasoning is that sometimes in photos, raw emotion can be gilded by the burden of clothes. Clothes are armor. When you strip that, all you see is, well, human emotion.

Raw. Human. Emotion. Vulnerability.

That's what artistic nudity is. And this image is no different.

And anyway, nudity has been in art for ages. Who's brilliant idea was it to throw potato sacks on our bodies and deem our bodies as sinful images? We are human, our bodies are human. Why would you cover that up? For decency's sake? Who ever rose up to the platform and made that decision for us and take away our freedom to bare our skin? Why should we be ashamed of our skin?

I think my own personal learning experience from this is to learn to not regret that I've posted this on the Internet, and be proud of it. Not proud of showing my breasts to the world, but proud that I can perceive this image and my own body as a work of art. Because that's what it is. The human body is nothing to be ashamed of.

We are a California Partnership Academy at Canyon Springs HS in Moreno Valley, CA and our career focus is in the digital arts!

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