Thursday, September 9, 2010

Holy Wow -How My Naked Photo Got Plastered All Over the City

So how exactly does one accidentally get a private photo of their nude self printed and published for everyone to see?

First off you go through cancer and a bone marrow transplant. Being an artist who is unable to paint while incarcerated in the confines of a hospital room, you decide to explore photography. There is nothing to deal with or photograph in the 10' x 10' room but yourself.

Through all the chemotherapy you decide to document the changes to your body. The photos are taken while unhooked from the large wheeled IV machines (yes that's right, plural). The only moment of solitude is when in the bathroom shower...and the lighting isn't bad. You set up the shots for composition, lighting etc and let the moment be taken away, looked through from a creative perspective.

Documenting self was the only way to be outside of the horrific reality of what was happening. The photo was taken in a moment somewhere between being born alone and dying alone. A coming to grips if you will.

Going from having zero photos of yourself to taking nude photos is a big leap. No biggie. It's a private practice and not as if anyone will actually see them.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago. You see a newspaper ad for a photography contest and remember watching someone win something like that and getting a year of free downtown parking. Awesome!

So you think, "Heck, I'm sure I have something I could submit."

You start rifling through your hard drive and take some pretty but uneventful pics out. Along the way you wonder how one of the nudes would look in black and white and printed. Next morning you run around getting everything printed, packaged, forms filled and ready. It takes all day. You sit on your bed with 30 minutes until the deadline, madly trying to name the photos etc. and get everything in order. With 15 minutes left you shove it all carefully into a folder adding the nude one as well.

You think, "Let's push the boundaries a little. They'll reject it anyway", imagining they're looking for pretty flowers and scenic shots. You feel secretly cheeky adding it in, visualizing the awkwardness when they sift through the stacks of flower entries. You also imagine how cool it would be to have a rejected photo. Forever more you could refer to the 'rejected photo' in conversation. As you drive and park in a panic with 10 minutes to the deadline it vaguely crosses your mind, "What if it doesn't get rejected? It's possible the photo may hang in some obscure gallery for a few weeks and my kids never speak to me again".

So you hesitantly hand the folder over the counter with 5 minutes until deadline and wonder how long it will take to get the, 'Sorry but we rejected you', call.

A week passed, no call.

Another week passes no call.

Ring, ring. It's the phone. The caller ID has the newspaper's name on it. A friend is there to see the grimace as you pick up the phone thinking, "Oh no, here it comes..." You wonder how bad the sting will be when they tell you to come get your rejected picture.

"Hi, I'm calling to let you know that your photo has won first place in 'The Naked Truth' category."

Mouth hangs open.

Friend sees the confused look and asks, "Are you OK?"

Hang up phone. Then wonder which photo it was not believing the whole scenario. Call them back. Confirm which photo it was.

As the haze of that settles over, you come to terms with the fact people will be seeing you naked in the gallery at the opening. Have small panic attacks and decide you are artist enough to deal with it.

Next day you go for a walk with another friend through town and sit down to eat a pastry outside in the sun. When done you walk past a table with the paper in someones hands. You wonder if your name is mentioned as a winner and grab a copy opening it up to the article,

WHICH HAS ALL THE WINNING PHOTOS PRINTED.

There you are... naked, all over the city. O M G

After a few hours when the wooziness and the glazed look passes, a new thought crosses your mind.

Perhaps I didn't think this through?

5 comments:

she wrote: said...

i'm proud of you! that's the thought that crosses my mind. love the storytelling qualities of this entry (and the humour) - you are a brave artist!

Susan C said...

What a great story! Congratulations.

And how do we get to see this award-winning photo?

BaldyLocks said...

I don't think I'll be posting it here, it's enough that it's circulating around at all right now.

So I'll describe it for you instead;

Black and white nude photo of me standing it the corner of the hospital bathroom with the hand rails and fold down chair. My head is cropped out and it shows the tiles on the floor. My Hickman line (port) is hanging from my chest on my otherwise normal looking body. Heck, I still even have hair down there at that point.

So now you have the visuals ;)

Thanks for the support!

Jens said...

You ventured... and You won.
Well done!

Dawny said...

Priceless :O)