In the spirit of Andy Rooney, I would like to offer “A Few Minutes with Melissa Tevere”.
Don’t you hate it when people add cute little acronyms to their text messages like LOL or LMAO? And what about those adorable emoticons? WTF is that about? (My emoticon has its middle finger in the air BTW.)
Why am I even attempting to imitate the inimitable Andy Rooney? You won’t believe it when I tell you my inspiration. You won’t believe it when you see where this blog is going. “Bare” with me – you may even see a nude! (It may even be me!)
Last spring, I blogged about a series of photographs that my brother in law and photographer, Dave Moser, was working on. Brave Odysseus was the title of that post. At that time, he had only photographed a handful of subjects. Six months later – the project has grown, the number of subjects increased. The title for this project is The American Housewife and it is a series of photographs of suburban housewives in their home environs.
I was one of his subjects. That is a picture of me at the top of this blog. I think I look like Andy Rooney. The expression on my face says, “Let me tell you what I think. Don’t you hate it when…”
Which brings me to my next topic: let me tell you what I think about posing nude!
When Dave interviews subjects for this project, he always asks if they would consider posing nude. Only two women have agreed: one who shall remain nameless (and torsoless as seen in the photograph below) and me.
I agreed to pose nude simply on a dare to myself. Did I have the nerve to bare it all in front of a photographer (did I mention Dave is my brother in law????) and his two assistants and then to have to actually see the resultant photograph?
The morning of the shoot (Dave was due to arrive around noon), I decided to normalize the situation by doing everything in the nude. I made my coffee, watched the Today Show, straightened and vacuumed the apartment in the nude. I became so comfortable that I even considered answering the door in the nude when Dave and his assistants arrived. (Lucky for me, I chickened out: my landlord and his wife also happened to be waiting at the door!)
Posing nude turned out to be no big deal.
When I agreed to pose nude, I imagined myself a modern day Georgia O’Keefe. Beginning in 1917, O’Keefe caused a scandal when she posed nude for the then-married Alfred Stieglitz. I also imagined that my photos would be just as artistic and that I would look just as thin. (Actually, O’Keefe looks emaciated in her photographs – no thank you!) After she posed for Stieglitz, her own art seemed to become sexually charged. Is that a zucchini flower or a vagina? I am not saying that the genital overtones of her work were a direct result of her posing nude for Stieglitz. This was just the course her work took. I will say however that she was a woman ahead of her time – willing to pose nude in conservative, prudish America at the beginning of the 20th century and then consciously or unconsciously (she publicly rejected this Freudian interpretation of her work) exploring feminine sexuality in the folds of a flower.
What was the result of my posing nude? I searched high and low for sexual references in my pretty traditional landscape paintings and I couldn’t find them. And I still haven’t seen the one nude photo that Dave actually took – I am too much of a wimp for that. (no one else has either – I made him sign a confidentiality agreement that it would never be shown without my permission!) I may talk the big talk but I am no Georgia O’Keefe. 80 years later and I am no where near as brave as she.
Here is a link to Dave’s website. Take a look.