Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The National Geographic and a Burgeoning...

Back in the dim and distant past, in the early days of this blog, I posted under the title 'early erotics' about those things which helped, very early on in life, to trigger that almost pre-erotic feeling of 'squirminess': those things which helped with a recognition of where sexuality was going to lead in later life.

One of those things I mentioned then was The National Geographic. When I was younger I had access to only a couple of bound volumes that my dad once picked up in a jumble sale, and those copies I could find and read at the library. It was one of the only places where it was possible to see naked skin. And such skin! Exotic, solid and lean, in various colours, with bottoms and bulges on display in abundance. Just the idea that there were places in the world where you could move about naked in the open air was enough to create that early frisson of awareness, a hint of something 'beyond' or 'to come'. And, of course, for me it was something of a proving ground where I was able to test desire by noting where my eye strayed and lingered: one of the ways I knew that it was men that contained that latent sense of attraction. I had wondered if I was alone in the depth of impact The National Geographic had but when I mentioned all this in passing to a female friend the other day (you know who you are), she very matter-of-factly confirmed that I was by no means the only person for whom that kind of imagery had a formative value.

I have remained fascinated by what used to be known as ethnographic photography ever since. When the huge lot of National Geographics landed in my study recently (see below), I knew I was going to have to throw them away but I also thought it too much of an opportunity to waste so I have made my first Flickr set!

I've called it 'ethnic men', but that's a really poor title when what I really mean is non-white, tribal men, so if anyone has suggestions for a more correct - yet pithy - title then I'd be glad to hear it.

The Flickr set will be added to over time, not just from The National Geographic but from other books and publications as I find a moment to scan them. And having played a little now with Flickr, I can see that it might well become something of a new feature on this blog to link to collections of images there.

PS. Jim D., lovely to think of that Venice etching adorning your computer, that's a use I hadn't thought of for the pictures on the blog. Artything, thanks for saying hello, glad to hear there's blogging life here in Portsmouth. I've had a brief look at your blog and there's some lovely pieces there but I'll perhaps email you, if I may, once I've had a chance to have a good trawl through all the things you've posted there. Thev, if you come check in here, then sorry we haven't been able to chat so much online recently but we'll find the time at some point I'm sure.

1 comment:

Thevina said...

Hi love! Yes, National Geographic sparked and piqued many a youngster's latent 'squirminess' as you so gorgeously phrased it. That's exactly what that wordless early pre-pubescent sexuality felt like; caterpillers under the skin and not knowing the source nor how to resolve it-- at least in my case, lol.

I am sorry we've not been able to chat on IM, at least at work. It's impossible anymore given my change in position, though this weekend I'm updating my resume and will be applying for a writer position. So there. :P

Glad that you'll be posting here more often- I'll look forward to that!

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