‘In Their Own Skin’ introduces the viewer to real people who are naturists, maybe not full-time, but at least part-time, in recreational situations, with and without other people, on weekends close to home, at a camp or favourite lake, or on Caribbean vacations where nude or clothing-optional beaches and occasionally, cruises, are popular.
As a photographer, I come from a documentary tradition, working for magazines and newspapers. Capturing people in their own environment, whether at work, home, or on stage, trying to reveal who they are, has always been my love. I like to be direct in my encounters with my subjects and not be a mere voyeur.
In this exhibition I am not a voyeur either – I am a participant. I have graduated over the years from visiting the odd nude beach to planning my vacations around going to nude resorts and on cruises. I have come to embrace the spirit of naturism, which essentially is nudity in a social setting, enjoying nature, family-friendly, involving body acceptance and a sharing of our common humanity, as cornerstones of the philosophy. I am a member of the Federation of Canadian Naturists, and have participated in nude seminars and activities for The Naturist Society in the USA. I have been both published and featured in both associations' quarterly magazines.
Some of my most enjoyable and relaxing vacation time has been spent among naturists. What is the attraction to this way of life and to these people? It’s that the practice of communal nudity in a non-sexualized context removes barriers. It is a leveller where people meet each other without pre-judgement by virtue of what they are wearing, and without prejudgement based on any particular standard of physical beauty – a standard that consumes the minds of many in society in an unhealthy obsession with appearing youthful.
‘In Their Own Skin’ is an opportunity for me to share with you some of the people I met and got to know over a 4-year period.