Outside The Comfort Zone

I saw the best quote on Facebook this morning “LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE” Neale Donald Walsch. I guess that sums me up to a T. I am not sure I have ever really had a comfort zone. And with everyone’s support and comment on here I am beginning to think that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t think anything about my life has been conventional. I never do the same thing twice in any two days in a row. This project seems to be the only thing I have done with a certain amount of consistency, but then it’s different everyday too. Photographing people nude certainly takes them out of their comfort zone. Lately I have been photographing a lot of straight men. They actually seem more comfortable with the process than most. I think they are so comfortable with who they are and don’t have the hang-ups most people do. And I don’t just photograph men in this style; I do a lot of woman as well. Women are more private and absolutely do not what their images shown, they seem to be the most self-conscience. Yet they are some of the most beautiful images I ever created because they go there emotionally and are more in touch with themselves. Some straight guys are afraid of what others may think about them. Afraid that being photographed nude by a gay photographer may lead to questions about their masculinity. It’s far from the truth. About half the men I photograph are not gay at all. Beautiful light is beautiful light, and knows no boundaries. We are only at this stage of our lives once and if someone is willing to work to capture the remarkable essence of it, perhaps we should step outside of our comfort zones and preserve it. To be able to look back and say “Wow that was me!” I have so many people come to me that want to explore this process and put it off, and put it off, and put it off. Saying, “I am not in the right shape” or “I am not that comfortable with myself, I will when I get in better shape.” We are what we are at whatever stage we are at. It’s like that old exercise of trusting someone when you fall backwards, but this time it’s yourself you have to put the trust in. I have a friend Giorgio who keeps asking me if I will do some images of myself in my style. “Now let’s turn some of that excitement towards yourself. You have to believe and love yourself just the way you are (unconditionally) in order for the rest of the world to mirror what you see and give back.” I keep resisting the idea, but after seeing today’s quote I think it’s time for me to step outside of my own comfort zone and make this leap. Face the fear I help others face. It’s just hard to do on my own, because I can’t gently coach myself through the process as I do others. Will I look ridiculous? Probably, but now my curiosity is peaked to see what will actually emerge. I think this is going to be my project this week.

I am reminded of that great moment in Young Frankenstein when Dr. Frankenstein creates the monster. He puts his hands up to the sky as lightning strikes and yells,”LET…THERE…BE…LIFE!!!!!” This is the point where Gene Wilder changes from mild-mannered Dr. “Frankenschteen” to mad-scientist Dr. “Frankenstine.”

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