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Some time ago I came across an online knowledge resource called eHow (see an article about eHow in Wikipedia). It attracted my attention with promises to offer instructions on “how to do just about everything“. And it doesn’t seem an overstatement. In a few seconds I learned How to Hammer a Nail (the main idea is to pick a hammer that is appropriate for the job) and How to Hammer a Nail Without Banging Your Fingers (hold the hammer at the end of the handle etc.),  How to Find More Time to Read (I doubt that it is healthy to read during lunch) and How to Read a Book without Falling Asleep (If at all possible, do your reading in the morning…), How to Blow Your Nose (Use paper facial tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs) and How to blow your nose in the public (Always keep the handkerchief in your pocket) and so on and so on. Most instructions are written by nice people and they are pleasant and amusing to read.

It is noteworthy that such a large database doesn’t ignore nudist subjects. On eHow one can find out, for instance, How to Be a Nudist and How to Become a Nudist (rid yourself of cultural myths about nudity), How to Follow Nudity Laws (know when and where nudity is acceptable and not acceptable where you live) and How to Practice Nudity in Your Home. In order to give an example, I’ll dwell on the latter instruction. The anonymous eHow Contributing Writer recommends (I’ll give a short summary here):

  1. Discuss a nudity policy with your family
  2. Be sensitive to your neighbors
  3. Protect your furniture by setting down a towel before you sit down
  4. Avoid cooking or baking while you practice nudity in your home
  5. Refrain from practicing nudity in your home when you have guests that might be sensitive or unprepared to deal with it.

Of course, instructions like that might appear self-evident, but it doesn’t mean that they are useless. In any case, usefulness is not necessary in a reading like this. By the way, I like the respect for feelings of other people shown in this instruction.

Hard to make the right choice by MaraB

Hard to make the right choice by MaraB

P.S. Right now I’m thinking about my own addition to the database. It could be something like How to Miss An Opportunity or maybe How to be Bored with Yourself.

What does it mean to be normal? Most people thought about it. (A sudden quote from J. Krishnamurti: For most of us, thought is a means to change. Through thought we hope to change, through ideas we hope to transform ourselves…)

Among the definitions that can be found in a short article in Wikipedia I like this one: “a normal” is someone who conforms to the predominant behavior in a society. Although conformity is common, the predominant behavior might change from society to society or even within the same society or tradition.

Fortunately, there exists an online experiment to determine what is normal via unscientific surveys. Spending a few minutes at ‘Is It Normal?’ everyone can discover is it normal to like cloudy days (91% visitors of the website believe that it is Normal) or to talk to your dog (72% Normal). The founders of the website consider normality in the context of how others might perceive your situation. It is unambiguous and honest. This implies, of course, that normality does not exist by itself, but only in the ‘minds of others’, and that your own point of view worths less than the public opinion. The website has a Safe(r) mode (see link in the top right corner of the page). When Safe(r) mode is on, the site attempts to hide as much ‘of stories and comments on it that many people out there might be offended by’ as possible.

The community cannot avoid questions concerning nudity.  90% vote that it is normal to like being nude. Some warn that not in front of people, others suggest naturist camps and resorts. Only 72% believe that it is not weird to sleep naked and 76% consider that it is normal if someone takes naked pictures of him- or herself and that confidence in your body is a good thing.
Les vacances (nue au soleil)
Les vacances (nue au soleil), originally uploaded by -{ KaLiNe’s Body }-.

I think, surveys like these can determine rather the level of normality of the society or community, than of an individual, and the results presented above are good indications.

In the first post I wrote about my first steps in making self-portraits. Since the case in point was a nude self-portrait I placed some emphasis on naturism. But naturism was not the only thing I discovered for myself. The human body is proved to be one of the most complicated objects for photography. Moreover, the technique used for making self-portraits imposes some extra restrictions on the whole process and its results.

Self-portraits give a unique chance for photographers to look at themselves from a distance. At the same time, someone looking at a self-portrait may enter the inner life of the photographer and proceed in understanding the way he/she sees him/herself. It is well known that most of the people (or even everyone) experience lack of knowledge of themselves (their real position in the world) and do not understand how they look in the eyes of the other.

In brief, I became interested in self-portraits and began to pay attention to them. In this blog I would like to share some of my discoveries.

About a year ago I found out the paintings and photographs of Johanna Chambers, a talented  artist and photographer from California. The works from both her accounts (main and stock) on deviantART are interesting and remain in memory. Her self-portraits are impressive.

Self Portrait With Oil Lamp by johannachambers

Self Portrait With Oil Lamp by johannachambers

Water Pitcher Nude Stock 6 by chamberstock

Water Pitcher Nude Stock 6 by chamberstock

One can learn more about Johanna Chambers and her art from IWW Interview. Her personal site is here.

P.S. deviantART is on my list of favorite sites for a long time. It is a well-known online community showcasing various forms of user-made art including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature, Flash, filmmaking, and skins for applications. The level of works that can be found here varies from something like “Me and my cat” (treated with respect) to real masterpieces. Most get, of course, somewhere in between (I feel that my submissions are closer to the first mentioned category, but I keep on working :-)).