I have a daughter and she’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. She gives me a good excuse to watch cartoons. —Mike Dirnt
As I mentioned earlier this morning, I have a daughter. She’s six now and is the spitting image of her mother. If that continues to hold true, and I see no reason why it won’t, I’m not looking forward to her teenage years. Kat presented her parents with more than a few challenges and moved out on her own when she was 16. While I hope that doesn’t happen with the Tipster, I have to accept the fact that this strong-willed, defiant, and independent-minded little girl is most likely going to grow up to be a strong-willed, defiant, and independent young woman, most likely with an artistic flair and a strong non-conformist streak. I can just see it coming, exactly like her mother.
That means, in all likelihood, at some point in her young adulthood (we’ll hope it’s not sooner) the Tipster is probably going to pose nude in some form for someone. I have no guess what photographic technology might be by that point, so the exact method and media that captures her naked form could be quite different from anything we could imagine now. After all, we should have at least another 12 years of rapid development before this becomes a serious issue, right? We could be looking at 3D holographic imagery by that point. Who knows?
What I do know is that I firmly support a woman’s right to do with her body whatever she wishes, and that certainly includes posing for whatever artistic photographic media might exist in the future, or any old forms that might still linger. Assuming her metabolism is similar to that of Kat’s, her body is most likely to be lithe, thin, and reasonably well toned. Whether she’ll be one to indulge in body modifications such as ink and piercings may depend more on the social norms of her generation than anything, but I’ve no doubt she’ll be attractive and, more than likely, a willing subject.
Already, she is practicing a bit. There is a reason we don’t take many candid photos of the kids at home. The Tipster has difficulty accepting the fact that she needs to wear clothes. Ever. Anywhere. She is an imaginative free spirit and I think she often imagines that she’s wearing clothes the rest of us can’t see. We tend to chalk up this habit to being an innocent child, though, and assume that they’ll learn the values of modesty later.
Yeah, about that … Modesty is not exactly a valued trait around here. Since Kat was a single mom before I came along, she rarely had any choice but to dress in front of the children. When I moved in and retreated to the bedroom to get dressed, they didn’t understand. They thought I should get dressed in the living room right along with everyone else. Modesty is something we strain at for social purposes. I’m sure the school would be upset if we actually let the kids go to school shirtless. There have been many mornings where we’ve tried using that as a threat and neither child seems to care. Tippy would happily go anywhere shirtless.
So, how will I react when my daughter poses nude? Peering that far into the future is a little dangerous, but I have a feeling it will go something like this:
Step One: Examine the quality of the work. Hopefully we will teach our daughter to be discerning and discriminating about the artists she chooses to work with. Whatever media might be in place in the future, I’m sure not everyone will handle it with equal skill and talent. Should she pose for some jackass who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing, I’m more likely to be upset.
Step Two: Do a background check on the artist. Why is this step two? Because if the image(s) is/are lousy I’m just going to assume the artist is as well, making this step moot. That being said, there are some skilled artists who are terrible people. This is my daughter we’re talking about. I’m going to be cautious.
Step Three: Talk with her about the experience. Posing for an artist should be fun, invigorating, possibly even expressive and freeing on an emotional level. Posing can generate a lot of positives when it is done in a supportive, encouraging, and affirming atmosphere. We want our daughter to have that kind of experience. If she doesn’t, I want to understand why. Was it the room, were their distractions, was she made to feel uncomfortable in some way?
Step Four: Follow her lead and be supportive. If she feels good about the experience and likes the results, then the matter is settled. Our job is to be supportive and encouraging and look forward to her next experience. If she’s not satisfied, we need to help her understand why. Perhaps different artists would yield a more positive experience. Perhaps a different medium would give her a more positive perspective. Help her talk through what she expected and why those expectations were not met. We don’t want her to give up on a means of expression based on one less-than-stellar experience.
Step Five: Be proud. A lot of people think about posing nude but only a very few actually go through with it. We will be proud of our daughter even if we don’t exactly like the artist’s interpretation, or choice of media, or any other artistic choice that might present our daughter in a manner contrary to our personal sense of aesthetics. I’m pretty much betting that the parents of Picasso’s models weren’t exactly pleased with that outcome, either. We may not like the interpretation, but we will always love our daughter and be proud that she posed.
All that being said, just for the record, let me remind any would-be artist of the future that Tippy’s mother is a Marine. She will always be a Marine. Therefore, she will always kill you if you hurt her daughter in any way, shape, or form. I will then take pictures of your dead and mutilated body as a warning to any other jackass out there who thinks they can take advantage of our little girl. We support the arts, we support artists, we don’t support scum who hide behind the arts to take advantage of people.
As a photographer, having seen the rapid advances of digital technology of the past ten years, I can’t image what the possibilities might be for image capture in the future. Entirely new forms of media may exist by then, forms that I can’t even begin to comprehend or understand. My concept of art might be challenged by the images of the future.
Whatever forms of art the future might hold, there will always be a place for nude art and figure study, creating a need for nude models. I won’t be remotely surprised should our daughter be one of those models. I’m preparing for this now so that I can be the kind of father I want my models to have. I don’t want Tippy to be afraid to show me what she’s done or fearful of being rejected. She’s the spitting image of her mother. Any pictures she takes are going to be beautiful.