Vulnerability to the male gaze

I have been randomly posting a full range of my images to my twitter account, They do not need to be censored for twitter, and are not. I was very conscious however that on posting this particular self portrait, only taken in 2017, that I took it upon myself to adjust this image rather more than I do most:It was not in my head at the time I posed but in the final result I was conscious that the raised leg revealed a little too much detail. I accordingly shaded between my legs but let me state unequivocally that I still feel a sense of sexual vulnerability here that I do not feel in almost all of my other self portraits. This is curious because in many ways this is more natural than other more obviously erotic images of mine but in those other images I do not feel this same vulnerability. Why is this?

From 2010

This photo was cropped not only to avoid the sensitivity that I feel in the previous image but also for the pure aesthetics of the composition.  In my mind the form of the male genitals can possess a non-sexual beauty whereas to create the same with a photo that includes the anus is far more difficult. I feel comfortable with this image.

From 1995

I’m also comfortable with images like this. It’s unmanipulated, not too revealing but crucially I am not looking at the camera so even though I am presenting myself in what could be considered an inviting way to an aggressive male, that invitation is not extended through my eyes. This is what concerns me most about the first image.

My feelings about that image are I suppose as close I will get to the feelings of the woman who is willing to present herself totally nude. I realise that I have seen it now in many images of models involved in nude art photography – while confidently looking at the camera in many poses, when it comes to the more revealing then looking away from the camera avoids the possibility of that look being interpreted as an invitation to the insatiable appetite of the male gaze. When the look is confident and defiant such images can be empowering to some models and I am sure that even I may carry that strength in some of my images. Just not this one.

The streets in black and white

I really should do more street photography. I wish I had done it in the 70s and 80s because it is only the unposed images from a time that capture the truth about how we are. Or were.

Man in cafe.  Rue Francois Premiere, Paris.
The Bull Ring, Birmingham
Couple kissing, Carnaby Street, London
Island House on Fazeley Street Birmingham
Coffee @ 33, Trafalgar Street, Brighton
Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid
Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid
Business types on the streets of Madrid.
Sexy Undies, Brighton Beach (2)
Sexy Undies, Brighton Beach (1)
The Gherkin building, City of London
Evening Standard newspaper stand outside Bank station London.
The Bullring, Birmingham
Brighton seafront, 2005
Lewes Bonfire Night
The Fugitive Hotel, Northern Quarter, Manchester
Bonfire Night 2012, Lewes,
Roupell Street near Waterloo station, London
Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London
Ramillies Street, Soho, London
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester
Market Street Tram Station, Manchester
Waterloo Bridge, London

Live music

I used to keep the ticket stubs (I still have many) to record the gigs I’ve attended but now I tend to take a camera and at least once during a set push my way towards the front to form a new log of the live music I’ve enjoyed. My biggest regret was not taking my camera to a Sex Pistols gig when I was one of an audience of about 30 people – I’ve vowed not to make that sort of mistake again…

Here’s some rather more recent music photography:

Haley Bonar, live music at the Green Door Store, Brighton
Flyying Colours from Australia at The Komedia, Brighton for The Great Escape 2015
Billy Bragg at the first Together the People festival in Brighton
Savages play live on stage at the Concorde 2 venue Brighton
Temples on the Radio 6 Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014
Neil Cowley Trio on the Film & Music Stage, Latitude Festival 2014
American artist Julia Holter performing live at the Concorde 2 venue Brighton
Brett Anderson and Suede at Together the People festival 2016. Brighton
Anna Calvi playing at The Brighton Dome during Brighton Festival 2015
Italian heavy metal band Exilia on stage at the O2 Academy, London
Joe Brown with guest Dave Edmunds at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention music festival 2008
Axes at the Prince Albert, Brighton
The Vulgarities
Curst Sons at Brighton Komedia
Ray Blk live on stage at the Brighton Dome, Great Escape Festival 2017
Rag’n’Bone Man at the Brighton Dome, Great Escape Festival Brighton 2017
Dirty Bombers at Brighton Komedia
Kate Tempest at the Corn Exchange-  The Great Escape 2015
Thurston Moore on the Radio 6 stage at Latitude Festival 2015
Tom Robinson band on the Radio 6 stage at Latitude Festival 2015
Steve Diggle of The Buzzcocks at Vintage at Goodwood Festival 2010
Glen Matlock, Mick Hucknall, Ronnie Wood and Ian McLagan of The Faces perform at Vintage at Goodwood, 2010
The Caezars on stage at Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
Shingai Shoniwa with The Noisettes: Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Jessie and the Orbits at Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
Captain Sensible playing with The Damned at Vintage at Goodwood Festival, 2010


Mrs H. has more than a passing interest in historical costume and because of this I find myself at various events aimed at those who enjoy music from and go further by adopting authentic dress from the last century – retro or vintage, whatever you choose to call it, but usually great style!

For 2011 Wayne Hemingway centred his Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
2011 Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
Vintage festival on London’s South Bank.
2011 Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
Vintage festival on London’s South Bank.
Vintage style living room complete with David Essex vinyl.
2011 Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
2011 Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
For 2011 Wayne Hemingway centred his Vintage festival in the Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.
Reserving deck chairs in the picnic meadow, Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Couple at Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
The funfair area at Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
Actress playing actress at Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
People resting at the fairground – Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Carousel at the Vintage at Goodwood festival 2010
Happy campers – Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Three actresses dressed as US Army women in uniform at Vintage at Goodwood 2010
Super sexy VW camper at the Vintage Car Boot Sale on London’s South Bank. Tri X Film in a Pentax MX with 50mm f1.4 lens. 
Vintage Car Boot Sale on London’s South Bank. Tri X Film in a Pentax MX with 50mm f1.4 lens. 
Vintage Car Boot Sale on London’s South Bank. Tri X Film in a Pentax MX with 50mm f1.4 lens. 
Partying at 2011  Vintage festival on London’s South Bank.
Daisy Lowe at the Vintage fashion show on London’s South Bank, 2011
Vintage South Bank.
Vintage festival South Bank, 2011
Vintage  South Bank.
Fashion show at Vintage at South Bank
Paul Donald Rae and Ralph Randell at Vintage at Southbank Centre 2011

A model for another

I’ve always wanted to have another photographer shoot me naked – I’ve participated in nude group shoots and many other naked activities but have never been asked by another to be their model. It is also true that I have never pushed myself forward in this respect even when given these opportunities. In the back of my mind I knew that it would have to be somebody who I identified with and who was a talented artist in their own right. When the opportunity came to be shot by fotografm (on flickr) I took it.

In June 2017 he was visiting the UK from Berlin to take in the London and Brighton Baked Bike Rides. I was participating in neither due to two VERY important party invitations but on the Monday, because I happened to be driving towards his next destination I offered him a lift and the opportunity to do some nudes in the Sussex landscape.  We also took the opportunity to take some shots at my house.

The apparent confidence in these images is because underneath it all we already knew enough about each other to know what we would like to shoot and where our boundaries might lie. As two photographers that deal with a wide range of nude self portraiture in our work including the artful erotic it was in fact almost business as usual, but with more flexible camera angles and an added creative mind!


The street in colour

I want to have a range of photography featured here, not just the nude which will stay as the focus of my main galleries. So here is the first little diversion into other subjects, some selected street photography – or photos taken in my street photography style – here all in colour rather than my more usual black & white.

Trafalgar Square
Tube travelator
Trafalgar Square
the london paper is no more – Regent Street
Hanging out in the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern
London Oxford Street Christmas lights 2010
Maastricht, Netherlands
The Joe Strummer Subway
Festival Hall, London
Banksy Kissing Policemen Graffitti – Prince Albert Pub, Brighton
Brighton beach scene
Castor & Pollux, Brighton promenade
Venice – scan of a negative from 1983
Cafe in Montmartre, Paris
Jardin des Tuilieries, Paris
Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Boulogne sur Mer, France
London South Bank
Cliffe Bonfire Society, Bonfire Night 2012, Lewes
Rue des Abbesses, Montmartre, Paris
Soho, London

Body acceptance and naked bike riding

In what I will with temerity describe as my art nude self portrait photography I have complete control over how I allow myself to be photographed. Some images are very much about body acceptance while in others I am able to turn myself into something that can appear quite different. Indeed in the latter case and in isolation many might wonder what possible body issues I could have.

The most significant statement of body acceptance that I make is through my participation in naked bike rides in my home town of Brighton. To be out there as a skinny, non-muscly and under-endowed male is a display of self confidence that I would not have been capable of when I was in my prime.

With all the cameras and this being my home town, there is some nervousness and to compound this it’s usually cool, 14C – 18C, with a breeze coming off the sea which in June is still cold. My variable manhood is always at its most modest in such circumstances and in many ways this is good for a scan of the thousands of images that finish up on the internet suggests that most participants, particularly the many young people taking part in the Brighton ride, have little physical reason to lack confidence in appearing naked.

It would be great if more men like me took part. But while we are under-represented it makes being out there ‘flying the flag’ more important. One object of riding for me is that the people in the crowds on those streets can see that they can more positive about their own bodies. Occasionally there is an unkind comment overheard but only once or twice on any ride – almost everyone is supportive.

Because of the nature of this blog I have dwelt on the most personal reasons for my participation. But importantly, I do the naked bike ride for other reasons too. In fact the only time you are ever likely to see me on a bike in Brighton is in the naked bike ride. I’m a very poor cyclist and would cycle in Brighton if more cycle lanes were in place. Less traffic, less SUVs, more public transport would ultimately mean a better future for the delicate planet on which we live. These are the more substantial reasons for riding and they can unite everyone participating.

At the start of the Brighton World Naked Bike Ride 2016
See – I can load a film camera! Photo by funkdooby on flickr. (2016)
2016 was cold on that seafront! Photo by bbana on flickr.


Riding a bike is rarely flattering! Photo by faye kinnit on flickr. (2016)
Striking a pose for fotografm (on flickr) – before the start of my first Brighton WNBR in 2013


At the start of the 2015 ride, still not warm enough to be fully naked – for me anyway! Photo by faye kinnit on flickr.
In the North Laine, 2013. The logo should have read….
Drive an SUV? “sigh…” but I had a change of mind at the last moment that reduced the impact.
Photo by funktionhouse on flickr which could be entitled “He’s just washing my back!” for I had been asked to remove the WNBR paint. This was the Hastings WNBR in 2015.
With my police escort in 2013 – photo by bare witness on flickr

Being somebody else (revisited)

Back in 2014 I made my first blog post on the subject of “Being somebody else”.

It’s time to pull a few images on this theme together. To paraphrase what the original post said…

These are self portraits so this is me and only me, but at the same time I am none of the people you see in these images. I have total respect for the people who through choice or because of the way they are born find their lifestyles reflected here. This is me giving free range to my creativity, with frankness and hopefully with a little humour – these images do not represent fantasies of what I want to be or do other than in a little act for the camera. They are meant to be provocative, even confrontational.

I am a fan of other artists, often introverts like me, who put themselves out there “being somebody else” seemingly all of the time. Because they are known for it they usually have the confidence not to have to write the preceding paragraph. These are my efforts to be somebody else too.

Hotel room – single occupancy
The audition
In his dreams
A naturist tiff
War and peace
Now back to the routine (from my original post)


Forever young

At 19 years old, or thereabouts…

I have never been keen on getting old, but once I was desperate to age. When I was 11 years old I cared not a jot about my appearance but when I was 16 and still looked 13 I started to worry a lot about how I was different to my rugby playing contemporaries. At 19 I still had not shaved. My anxieties about this  were then greater than my better documented and (now I know) unnecessary anxieties about my penis size – but my penis was not on display and its appearance to others in the world could be controlled.

Although there was nothing camp about me, and carrying around a silent but amazingly strong crush on several of the girls around me at school and university, that I’m sure they will have noticed, there were boys who decided that I must be gay. I guess around 1970 the gay stereotype was very far removed from the macho gay image we often see today. Then it was straightforward: macho = manly = heterosexual. Different = homosexual.

When I was about 15 years old I remember a conversation with a group of my male classmates when one of them chuckled and as part of a big joke described me as asexual. Maybe I actually would have preferred to have been called a ‘poofta’, because at least that would have conferred me with some sort of sexuality.  The comment wasn’t presented vindictively and would not have been so cutting if it had not come from an individual who, other than having sideburns of sorts, certainly qualified as being pudgy and camp. I am sure now that he himself might have felt some pressures himself because of his own differences.

As was the fashion at the time he was one of the many boys of my age who were growing sideburns. Beards and moustaches were not permitted at school so this was a way of teenagers demonstrating their masculinity. Occasionally my face in front of my ears used to be stroked by other boys, looking for a sign of change that was not emerging.

Even if friends realised that I was attracted to girls, many of them had a clear idea that the attractiveness could not possibly be reciprocated. Sadly this rubbed off on me and my perspective of myself. A boy who was a close friend gave me a card with a condom in it for my 18th birthday. “Have a luxury wank” he said, deciding that it was never going to be used it for its intended purpose.

He was absolutely correct, but I should be thankful to him for, following his instructions and much to my surprise, it actually fitted snuggly. This was the first real evidence I received that my erect penis was actually of a perfectly average size. It was however evidence that I did not accept, imaging that there must be another 6 inches of latex somehow wound up in that remaining tight band at the base of my penis, but it was a crumb of comfort.

Elsewhere I shall probably write about how if only I had better information I might not have carried on into life with a complex about the size of my penis and what I now know to be called ‘secondary sexual characteristics’. At that time being treated differently dues to my lack of ‘masculinity’ was never considered by me to be bullying and despite its impact I continued to be naturally sociable, sporty and generally happy with my lot. But I now recognise it was bullying because although I was resilient at the time there has been a long term low level hurt.