Greg from W photography

Greg from W photography

Being naked in the nude. Oh dear. I’ve been making notes and scribbling down references on my thoughts and experiences thus far but haven’t committed the vastness via my laptop keypad onto Microsoft Word.

Words can really express my impressions.

Society is always willing to take the blame for many an injustice, imbalance and corrupted soul. Something as easy as blaming a fellow being’s mother for all the wrong they do.  As easy as the rhetoric: “Look what he did! Didn’t his mother teach him?”

Just as being a mother is not just one single entity (the title is pregnant with pretences and expectations) so is the title ‘society’. Society is not just one single entity. It is a collective. I will take this opportunity to grab that statement as a defence as to my being an individual. I am not just a single entity.

I refuse to be loaded and goaded with preconceived role-plays, biasedly based on social insecurities and self-loathing.

I’d always dreamed of ‘just fitting in’. For a while I was almost successful at mastering that trickery. I chemically relaxed my Afro with the ever popular “Brazilian Blow-dry’ process. My hair was long and I was finally considered pretty… beautiful even. I did a wardrobe revamp to pastel colours… but it slowly morphed back to black, grey and pink (my go-to colours). I purchased the highest quantity of denim jeans I have ever owned. I still have those two pairs, one of which I wear as I write this.

This aforementioned identity crisis happened most five years ago. Today I am ever grateful to have come back full circle to my inner confidence and have the strength to reject friendships based on the confining dreams and hopes of others for my life path.

Photagrapher: Alistar MU: Anidea

Photagrapher: Alistar
MU: Anidea

I am not blind to the snide remarks and comments from friends in sheep’s coats. I just choose to ignore both the friendships and the comments. Remarks such as: “Natasha, you’ve come so far, now you changing back to the way you used to be”. Instant friendship killer right there.

“You just want to show off your tattoos” I wear what I want, depending on the formality. “I’m prettier than you but you’re getting all the attention. But it’s just because of your tattoos” (I love being around people with strong personalities/ characters. “You have such a good husband, why are you doing this to him?” Didn’t know I was supposed to magically become a square the moment I said the proverbial “I do” and I’m amazed how many people who attend weddings do not pay attention to the vows spoken. Who knew. We adapted ours to our life. There were things we refused to say in a vow as it would make liars out of us both to each other.

There was nothing wrong with ‘the way I used to be’. The major change into trying to fit in was when my mentor crushed my spirit. She wanted a normal disciple. She wanted instant gratification in a can filled with dreams she wanted to experience vicariously through me. So I changed my life accordingly. But the ‘me’ inside never really died.

I am back.

What has this got to do with Alternative modelling?

Over the past six months, having worked with art, fine art, graphic art, street art, fashion & pin-up photographers. Having done nude to subject orientated work, I find that I enjoy being part of another creative person’s creations. I love being part of their story. Naked or not. If its art, it’s not porn. Even if it were the latter, it would be as classy as can get. I also realise I am to lose a lot of ‘respect’ and will be treated badly and rudely and crassly by men. And women.

I can only imagine that sort of vulgar reaction to my modelling vocation could not be indicative to the types of images I pose for, rather indicative that such self-proclaimed-Christian valued persons and advocators of augury have no decent or efficient actions and practices and prefer to act like uneducated beasts with sharp self-righteous tongues. I lay foundation not to point any fingers as I prefer to have an apt firm grasp on my creative drive.

Photagrapher: Alistar MU: Anidea

Photagrapher: Alistar
MU: Anidea

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

-Edgar Allan Poe

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So while I lay wait for my planned arrangements to fall into place let me write about something that confuses me no end. What do you call persons who inject ink under your skin in a pattern to form an image in your dermis?

To my detriment, I don’t pay much attention to titles. And name calling is considered rude.

I once stood before a magistrate (I will not elaborate too much) where she looked at me in amusement as I addressed her completely wrongly and with fallible title. To this day I don’t really know what ‘contempt of court’ is and why she said it but I remember non-specific warnings, lots of people either giggling or in fits of laughter, including officers of the court, then being led down below to the cells- not into a cell, then making a call (I did not own a mobile) to my Knight in Shining Armor uncle, who entered the ‘cellar’ shaking his head and chuckling while he paid some sort of fine for me.

Looking back, I think it annoyed her that I did not refer to her in the accepted form and title. I do have manners and believe I was polite when I approached her as ‘you’ and ‘Mrs. Judge’. American & British law themed shows ran through my mind with titles like ‘Your Honour”, “Honourable Judge”, “Madam Judge”, “Your Worship”, “My Lady”… I still don’t know which to use by way that I don’t intend to be near any court again in further chapters in my life. Knock on wood.

So what is it about titles?

People study for days, weeks, months or even years to earn a title in-front of, behind or below their given names, so why not indicate them as exactly that. The CEO of a corporation wants to be acknowledged as a CEO of a corporation. A chairperson of a committee wants to be identified differently to committee members and wants to be acknowledged as a chairperson. True also for a landscaper who doesn’t want to be indicated as just a gardener.

As easy as that?!

People who tattoo are at times a fickle bunch.

I’ve only walked into and paged through portfolios at 11 tattoo parlours in the Cape Town District and cruised on past 16 dodgy looking ones. I dress conservatively in long sleeves and thick leggings to not show a millimeter of inked skin, regardless of weather, so that I can cross out prejudiced egocentric tattooers. Therein lay my definition of “Tattooer”. I define a Tattooer as that person who tattoos and is all costumed up to a chosen stereotype and expects to receive a photocopy stereotype client, as a fundamental right to his profession. A “Tattooer” befittingly ignores any hypothetical client who steps in by virtue of not looking the part.

This specimen usually has an air of: I’m just too cool and hardcore to even acknowledge your presence in my parlour because that would just be… uncool.

I take a flip through their portfolios and haul my uncoolness out of there. The portfolios are stately filled with nothing I haven’t seen before and probably have seen numerous people with the exact tattoos. (Random fact: I remember persons by their tattoos and thus never forget their names if they provide me with one).

Some Tattooers incense me to spit fiery words.

But Tattooists and Tattoo Artist’s leave me twisted. Under my definition both are extremely talented. A Tattooist is flexible and they can manage a range of styles and techniques but have no identifiable trademark, yet. Trademarks take a lot of studying, observing and curiosity on the tattooists part.

I believe a Tattoo Artist has not necessarily developed a technique but has a unique style or tattoos only in specific niche genres e.g. Russian, Photo-realistic, 3D, Pointillism, cartoon, Sci-Fi, Biomechanics, Portraiture or they’re more adept at tattooing specific themes or concepts to the effect of Animals, Sugar Skulls, Zombies, Script and so on.

To me both are equally adequate but I don’t understand why some people who tattoo have this glint of injury in their eyes when I mistakenly err in calling them one or the other.

Either way, for me to gas on persons who inject ink under the skin as a GOOD Tattooist/ Tattoo Artist beyond apparent talent, is propped on how they feel and act about their profession and how they treat disciples or prospective loyal patrons. I in turn target at keeping my attitude sincere and in check in their company and in speaking about them, of course relying on my fractious temper.

Maya Angelou said it best: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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