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As with all my new work, the blog post will have content safe for Instagram. Any more explicit photos that wouldn’t be IG safe are on my justforfans page.
I know it’s been a long gap between shoots. Between Chris’ birthday celebrations, followed directly by Pride celebrations, followed by scary Monkeypox headlines, I just haven’t had the time or inclination to have someone over for shooting. But, this week, things changed! Chris’ birthday and Pride has passed, and both of us made the trek to Vancouver, BC to get our Monkeypox vaccines. With that relief, along with the pent up urge to create some new work, made the idea of finally being able to photograph Carina on his last day in Seattle a serendipitous joy!
As I say about many of the models I photograph, I’ve been wanting to make images with Carina for a very long time. We met years (I can’t remember how many) ago on Scruff. He didn’t live in Seattle, so I’d catch him on visits. We’d flirt and talk and say “wouldn’t it be nice” but then never have the time. Well, our fantasy became reality, I couldn’t be happier about it!
“What does polyamory have to do with Eastern philosophy?” Great question! One of the things that makes my relationship with Chris amazing is that we grow together; both as individuals and as a couple. Part of that growth has us rereading the 3rd edition of The Ethical Slut. We are polyamorous, but we haven’t truly discussed what that means for us after years, especially post-pandemic where we became very interdependent, so we have decided to reread the book together and have discussions about what we learn.
That line was the first trigger to help me start to look at polyamory through my study of Eastern philosophy through studying Buddhism, Japanese culture and philosophy, and etcetera. There is a Japanese idiom – ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会) – which is the cultural expression of treasuring the unrepeatable nature of a moment. No matter how many times you do the same thing, no two times are exactly the same. Chris and I have been together almost 10 years, and we’ve had thousands of walks together; many of which to the same place. But, no matter how many times we walk down Pike Street toward downtown, each time is unique because no other time will be that way, and therefore we should treasure each walk as it’s own beautiful event in time.
The same can be true of each relationship we have; whether it is romantic, familial, sexual, or anything else. Each relationship is it’s own special and beautiful moment in our lives, and “longevity is not a good criterion by which to judge it’s success or failure.”
The same can be said of every shoot I’ve had. I’ve photographed many people more than once, but no shoot is ever the same. So each one has it’s own magic and mood and allows us to create the images that we could never perfectly recreate again. Not only is each session an example of ichi-go ichi-e, each image is impossible to recreate exactly.
Having thought through all of this, I was giddy to be able to photograph Carina. We have had an online chemistry for a long while, and if we had even a portion of that in person, it could be magical. As it turns out, we did and it was. I felt an almost instantaneous connection, and it was very empowering. Like most sessions, I didn’t have many images in my head (though I did have one), I just wanted to let our connection and the mood dictate how the shoot went. I embraced the ideas of ichi-go ichi-e and of connection being more important than time, and I allowed the shoot to progress in a natural way in which I was both capturing it while fully participating in it; that was beautiful.
The results, I feel, are gorgeous. While bearing semblance to my style, I feel these have more life and energy – especially the full set on my justforfans. My time with Carina was beautiful. We laughed and told stories and kissed and held each other and laughed some more, along with many other things. My camera was being used as more of a tool to document a beautiful encounter with a beautiful person than anything else. There are shots of what I saw laying across from him, there are macro shots of parts of his body as I saw them through my exploration of it. There are shots of my view of him exploring me. It is sensitive and erotic and vulnerable.
These images are my treasures of an unrepeatable moment with a beautiful person. While I will see Carina at least one more time on a planned trip back to Seattle, it won’t be this same experience; instead, it will be it’s own special and beautiful moment. We might even have time to make images of that moment too.
You might not be polyamorous, or these might sound like silly musings of hippy slut. You’re probably right, and that’s okay! If you take nothing else away from this post, I would implore you to take stock of the moments you spend with other people; especially those you love. Look at the person you’re with and feel the temperature in the room our the sunshine/shadow/breeze on your skin; listen to the sounds around you; smell the air; hug the person you care about and feel the head of their body against you, and celebrate that moment. Take a photo of it, and then remember everything about how beautiful and special it was simply because you took the time to observe it. You deserve that joy. ❤️
If you want to follow Carina, you can do so here:
As always, I hope you enjoy the images.
Janet W. Hardy & Dossie Easton