For most of Western history, women have been locked out. Locked out of power, locked out of control over their own bodies, locked out of history itself. Isn’t it understandable, then, that locked doors quickly become symbolic of so much more? Marzipanned was photographed in Seattle’s Frink Park in January 2019.
We shroud ourselves in fabric and leather, our origins in the natural world lost in urban canyons of concrete and steel. And yet—isn’t there a part of us that still remembers what it is like to live freely in the world, barefoot and bare skinned, leaping ecstatically into the sky like a gull? I photographed Abi Blue in Seattle in June 2021.
In wilderness, we resume our place in the natural world, free and unfettered by the artificial limits of modern society. These refuges are dwindling not just for flora and fauna but also for humans of similar spirit. Sometimes you just have to make do with a tourist road in the off season. I photographed Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh in March 2022.
Rest and Upheaval
To be human is to live amid contrast and contradiction. We strive for restful calm; yet the world is filled with chaos and turmoil. But waves and tide can, in time, smooth sharp edges into polished stone. Nature both threatens and sustains us, and we find balance in the center of the storm. I photographed Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach, July 2018.
Sometimes it’s not so bad to go hiking on a cool, drizzly September day: instead of a trail full of hikers, you have the wilderness to yourself, which makes it a lot easier to strip off your clothes and go skinny dipping. I photographed Dolly Mattel at Crystal Lakes in September 2021.
It’s time to stop limiting the definition of “beauty” to blonde hair and svelte bodies. It’s time to be inclusive in our definition of human sensuality. There is so much to celebrate! It’s time to embrace our full potential as sensual beings. I photographed Psychopomp in Seattle in October 2012.
Me and my shadow
To contrast the natural human body with the urban environment, I photographed Lillias Right at dawn on the Seattle waterfront in July 2016, before most of the city was awake. I used slow shutter speeds and a tripod, relying on the warm ambient light of street lamps, and capturing the skyline, shops, and ferries in the faint light of early morning.
For a non-binary individual like Lior Allay, photographed at Freeway Park in Seattle in March 2019, gender and identity are in constant tension with cultural expectations. Clothing, hair, body structure and society’s ever-present obsession with genitalia all play a role. Here, we cheekily ask, who do YOU say I am? And what do you ask for, as proof?
“For five thousand years, you have been telling me that it’s a war between the sexes, that one gender must win and the other must lose, and that men are the naturally superior sex. I call bullshit. It’s time to beat you at your own game.” - Melancholic (paraphrased), photographed at Discovery Park in Seattle in April 2019.
Once more, with feeling
After an exhausting day running around naked in the wilderness, being tied up on ridge tops, and skinny dipping in muddy mountain lakes, you can be excused for lying down among the daisies and taking a moment to enjoy the feel of your own skin. A true story with Violet at Deadwood Lakes in August 2017.
© Sensualight Photography