'If you throw in your towel, someone may pick it up and use it better than you.'
We take towels for granted. They, even if old with holes, have always been there to dry, wipe and cover our bodies. We hang them on hooks, doors and shower curtain rods. We fold them and place them on shelves and in closets. We throw them on the bed, the chair, the floor. We pick them up, finally, and do it all over again.
Towels also have an sexual element, intrinsic in our history's with them, and in their use. I think this is something Arizona photographer Dan Nelson (MaleVisionS) tapped into in his use of towels within his work. When I was looking back on some of the pieces I had previous done featuring Dan's work, Teak, Cody and Tyler were all shot holding, or wrapping themselves in a long white bath towel.
The main purpose of a bath towel is to dry our wet naked bodies. Every day, they cover, caress and and massage every inch of our bodies. Our towels are the only wardrobe piece that we wear only briefly, for just a few minutes usually, as we shave, dry off our walk from the bathroom to the bedroom.
Bath towels have also played a role in many of our early sexual and sexual identity experiences. Many of us have used a towel to cover just before or after sex. Many of us salivated over another draped only in a towel in a locker room or at a pool. Even earlier, towels were the vehicle many of us used in the discovery of who we are, who we love, and who we lust after.
Towels have acted as a safe, but secret, substitute for skirts and dresses and long flowing hair. Behind that bathroom door, towels have allowed us to play, experiment and figure out important pieces of our lives. Maybe most of us don't think about towels with much passion on a day to day basis, but I have kept some of my favorite towels long beyond their still being able to dry or cover. Frayed, with holes...almost see through.
The plain white towel perfectly balances every body it is covering, or uncovering. I love that Dan used a similar looking white towel in so many images, and with so many models, in so many beautiful ways. Acting as both a prop, and a piece of fashion, there seems no end to how it can be held, wrapped or used to create a different visual each time. You can check out more of Dan's work, including his many images of models with and without a towel on his website HERE: Also check out his print page which includes some of my favorite images HERE: