'It was a total experiment with a point and shoot digital camera while I was playing around climbing trees here in Portugal!'
With my focus on the male form, it is fascinating to see how so many similar themes run through the work of so many photographers and artists. Writing about the subject for the last 9 years has led me to see a clear nexus between childhood play and so many of the images and shoots that I have featured on FH.
It maybe in part, be about risk. When we're young, we don't worry about so much what others think or about getting hurt. We take more changes in so many area's, to the games we play down to colors we wear, and the way we walk, or skip joyously down a street.
When I think of being a kid, I think of imaginative games. Playing super hero, exploring old abandoned buildings, running along the beach and through fields and forests and of course, climbing tree's. I am not sure exactly when climbing a tree went from mindless fun, to a risky endeavour, but I remember when a branch within reach, was an invitation I could not resist.
So many of these themes, and their connection with nature, recur in so many of the images and artists that I have featured. I am sure there are reasons a therapist could explain, but quite simply, art combines both risk and play, two things most of us experience together rarely, after reaching the point of adulthood.
Stripped of society's constraints
nudity is my freedom
awakening my senses to this natural world
The quote above, from skycladarts Steve Loxley in so many ways sums up exactly what I'm talking about. Many of you might remember my profile of Steve's work from a few years ago. (The Elements Of Freedom) Although not all artists express it the same way, there is a sense that when clothing is removed, there is also the removing of society's constraints and expectations and a return to childhood risk and play.
Most of the images in this piece come from Steve's working trip to Southern Portugal. One of the jobs he was apart of was to clear out the dead wood and invasive plants in a grove of eucalyptus trees. Steve reports that they have a special feel about them, and he loves to use them to exercise, using them as a green gym. It was the image I used as pic of the day, the fun and adventure I felt seeing Steve climbing up one of the tree's that had me reaching out to him about featuring more of his work.
'I've now taking to climbing them whenever I get the chance, as well as communing with them. There are also some wonderful cork oaks that have great energy and also good to climb. All this attunes itself to my pagan/wild side!'