On occasion I can be found stepping into the frame of Sean’s photographs. He preps me with paint and costume, then leads me into his world. When we walk back out of the photograph, Sean scrubs me until I bear just a few flakes of paint as evidence of this other world; little badges of industry on my chest. View us here before and after a shoot in which my breasts twilight as white moons.
In The Naked Bosom (one of my all-time favorites) Calvino struggles neurotically (and hilariously) against the misogynistic tendency to reduce a woman to her breasts:
“I am finally reinforcing the convention that declares illicit any sight of the breast; that is to say, I create a kind of mental brassiere suspended between my eyes and that bosom, which, from the flash that reached the edge of my visual field, seemed to me fresh and pleasing to the eye. In other words, my not looking presupposes that I am thinking of that nakedness, worrying about it; and this is basically an indiscreet and reactionary attitude. [….]
“There–he reflects, pleased with himself, as he continues on his way–I have succeeded in having the bosom completely absorbed by the landscape, so that my gaze counted no more than the gaze of a seagull or a hake.
“But is this really the right way to act?–he reflects further. Or does it not mean flattening the human person to the level of things, considering it an object, and worse still, considering as object that which in the person is the specific attribute of the female sex? Am I not perhaps perpetuating the old habit of male superiority?”
In A Sentimental Journey, Laurence Sterne wrote, “I should be more highly satisfied, to have it said by the world, ‘I had had an affair with the moon, in which there was neither sin nor shame.‘” I place the moons of my breasts in Sterne’s imagination and at the edges of Calvino’s averted gaze and begin a highly satisfying affair.