So it could be that 2007 might not be The Year Without Sex after all.
I've been spending time on Manhunt, and I've had a few offers, and not from men who live in Arizona either, but actually a lot closer to where I live. The other night on Manhunt, this guy flags me down. He lived not so far away from me, but he was interested in shooting me, rather than screwing me. Shooting me, that is, with a camera. (There are people out there who would like to see me felled by a bullet through the blue smoke from the barrel of their Colt .45, but happily they're few and far between. Okay. There's only one that I know of, and he lives in New Mexico.)
He said that he had "looked for" me at Pride this year, but hadn't seen me. While I was explaining that I got there pretty late in the day (grrrrr...), I thought, "Wait a minute... He looked for me... Who is this guy?"
This guy is a photographer. Not for money, just for fun. He referrred me to a website that featured some of his work, www.radicalfaeries.net
Am I being stalked by a faerie?
And indeed, River (his faerie name) is a Radical Faerie. And of course he knows Kokoe, my favorite Radical Faerie. And he had some amazing photographs he took at Faerie gatherings.
And he wanted to shoot me.
I made arrangements to head down to his farm outside of New Hope so we could make that happen.
He suggested I bring some leather and a cigar. I was happy to bring both. And I suggested I bring some chain, since I kinda like chain, and thought that it would work well in terms of composition with my ink. The day was overcast and on the cool side, but it wasn't raining. And, overcast days are the best for photography, with even diffuse bright light that doesn't cast a shadow.
River was all about "whatever you feel comfortable with" and "if you're not comfortable we don't have to" and "so how would you like me to photograph you?".
"Listen," I said, "You don't need to worry about my comfort levels. And you're the artist, so you're in charge. You just bark the orders and I'll comply.
"Y'see," I explained, "I'm a total exhibitionist."
"That's great," he replied, "because I'm a total voyeur."
We started out with me lying on his brick patio, and him clicking away from the second story windows upstairs. Then, he and his partner dragged a kalim out onto the patio, and I sprawled out on that. I lit a cigar, and he tood a few shots with me smoking it. When it seemed we had exhausted the possibilities on the patio, we headed out to the barn. And took some more.
Eventually, River got comfortable with the barking of the orders: "feet closer together! turn your head more this way!" And, dishearteningly, "suck in your gut! More! More!" Followed usually by, "Relax your face." And he was so appreciative! "Look at your beautiful face! Omigod those eyes!
Tell me more about my eyes...
Here's a sample of some of the photos that he took...
Oh. And here's one I asked to be taken with 'bastian in mind. 'Cause he wanted a picture of my ass.
So River and his partner had this great 18th Century farmhouse, and a beautiful old barn. But what I really enjoyed was the gardens.
I think there's a thing called "A Bucks County Garden."
I remember when I was little, and I'd go to parties with my sister, parties given by her hippie friends. They'd be living in this 18th Century farmhouse with a great barn. Or, on one memorable occasion, in a great barn that had been renovated. And outside there would be a lawn of sorts, strewn with blankets and deck chairs. And at the edges of the lawn would be patches of high grass, with daisies and cornflowers and black eyed susans and queen anne's lace. And here and there a planting, hosta or day lilies or whatever. But the plantings and the wild plants blended seemlessly. Unless you knew, you couldn't tell which was which. And that stand of black eyed susans might just look as spectacular as anything that had come from the nursery.
So great, that blending of the natural and the intentional. And this year, since I've had the time and interest in paying attention to this property here at 4853 Tollgate Road, that's what I've been shooting for without being aware of it. I've mowed the lawn, but I've been careful to leave it just grow wild at the edges. I love when the mown grass and the tall grass meet. And what we euphemistically call "the back yard" I've just let grow. It's shaded by oaks, so it doesn't get very tall back there. It's mostly sourgrass and clover and patches of moss. In the evening and the early morning, back there under the trees, it's this beautiful irridescent chartreuse.
And even the stuff I've planted looks kind of crazy. At the edge of the front porch, there's a big planter at the base of the chimney. A few years ago, I planted a couple of french lavender plants, hoping they'd grow.
Man. Did they ever grow.
This summer, the planter is a riot of long, spindly lavender.
The door of the garage is almost half covered by this vine. I think it grows wild around here, since I see it along the roadsides. And, in days of yore, my father had a trellis with roses back in that area of the garage. The nameless vine gets these amazing bunches of orange trumpet flowers on them. They've been blooming for weeks now and show no signs of stopping.
And in a patch of grass I've left unmown in the middle of the front yard at the curve in the driveway, there are all of these cornflowers.
I love cornflowers. They're so nutty. They're the most beautiful shade of blue--cornflower blue--that I've ever seen. They tend to grow in garbage strewn lots down in Philadelphia. And they're considered to be weeds. This designation probably comes from the fact that the flowers grow along the stem, but not at the very top, where you'd expect a flower to be. Presenting your sweetie with a bouquet of cornflowers would probably not win you the gracious response you're hoping for.
But that amazing shade of blue...
I love cornflowers.
So the Bucks County Garden. It's all about What Comes Up. And working with nature. Just tweaking it here and there. No formality whatsoever. The word "riot" comes to mind. Nothing overdone. Nothing too showy. Mostly what you see are banks of green. Whatever the deer didn't eat.
A Bucks County Garden is where you keep an eye out for box turtles. And where you can see the lightning bugs fill the air. And where you feel you're miles and miles away from the city. And where right there, in the middle of a patch of pansies and violets that bloomed back in the Spring you'll find a few tomato plants. Or squash vines that will totally take over everything by the second week in August. In a Bucks County Garden, dogs can piss anywhere they want to. It'll grow back after the next rain. And in a Bucks County Garden, don't wear your nice clothes. Just wear jeans or whatever.
Or, of course, nothing at all. After all, out by the road, the forsythia is so overgrown that cars can't see too well just what goes on here.