This is a shoot I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but it takes the right kind of adventurer to pull it off!
Busy library? Check. Potential to get busted? Check. Ready to do it? Check! KC and I hit the library stacks to get these classic and beautiful juxtapositions of the human form contrasted with tomes of literature and science. Enjoy!
Nicole agreed to hit up the Camas Prairie Nature Preserve with me to see if we could find some of their famous purple flowers for our backdrop. What we found is that we were too late for flowers, but it was windy and we took advantage of the plentiful swaying grasses for our bodypaint shoot.
I just got back from an experience like I’ve never had before: the 2018 edition of the World Naked Bike Ride.
Portland is about a 7 hour drive from Boise. A couple friends and I jumped in the car and made the drive and it was absolutely worth the time invested.
It turns out that of all of the WNBR events worldwide, Portland has the largest one! They’ve been holding the ride for more than a decade and this year’s estimate was that over 18,000 people participated.
It’s kind of remarkable if you’ve never been. We biked across the city from our host’s home to the staging area and had about an hour and a half to soak in the evening sun and listen to a great fusion jazz band (High Step Society) before the ride began.
The whole thing is voluntary and run by volunteers: no tickets, no demands, no clothes! AND there were no incidents of violence or sexual assault– just people truly being people.
It was an atmosphere of simple joy — it was quite relaxing — and I couldn’t stop feeling happy being there!
About half an hour before the ride, the crowd was starting to grow and the band was getting their groove on. I don’t it on video, but later the natural amphitheatre filled up with nude dancers having a wonderful time. You’ll have to watch the video to see what I mean, but when someone says “naked people dancing,” what do you think of? Maybe a darkly lit nightclub and a pole?
This wasn’t that. This was people having carefree fun in their skin.
I didn’t have my DSLR, but I did capture a few candids of people enjoying the pre-ride festivities, getting body-painted and managed to get just a few during the ride itself. Maybe next year a GoPro will be in order?
As I rode the 6 mile course through Portland’s beautiful neighborhoods and along a bluff overlooking the river, there were two things that really stuck out to me:
Riding a bicycle naked feels just like riding one with clothes on. Really! No, I didn’t get sore or chafed, but Yes, it was actually less sweaty and cooler because there weren’t any clothes to collect all that body heat.
Along the whole bike route, parents brought their children outside on their driveways where they cheered us on, waving and ringing bells and welcoming us to their neighborhoods. It was such an emotionally positive experience!
I would definitely do this again and I hope you’ll come with me next year! Here are a few photos:
Here’s what Meagan had to say about her shoot as a first-timer:
“Participating in a nude shoot is one of the most freeing, yet terrifying experiences… but only because it’s doing something you’ve NEVER done. Being comfortable in front of a camera with clothes can be challenging, so a nude shoot really opens your mind to many possibilities. The human body is beautiful and is only sexualized because we body shame and hide ourselves away, constantly. I am grateful for clothes during the right circumstances, (like weather conditions or formal gatherings) however, I strongly believe hiding ourselves so much and all the time, has in truth also enabled us to hide away… not only our unique bodies, but also our minds. Allow Beauty TO BE SEEN. EVERYONE IS UNIQUE!”
Crystal asked if she could bring a wedding dress and work through some grief at this shoot and allowed me to help her process and capture the beauty of those moments and prove that Love is brighter than the pain. Thank you for sharing your heart with us Crystal.
With the bold and beautiful Kaitlin. Here’s what she said about this shoot:
A few words on the experience… I’ve always been told that my body should be kept sacred. I’ve also been told that my body should look a certain way, that I will only be liked if my body fits a specific set of standards. I’ve spent my whole life trying to fit those standards and the ironic thing is that when I did, no one would have ever known that because I hid my body. I hid my body because I was taught it wasn’t ok to be shown and that if it was, I was creating a negative image for myself and was being “provocative.”
Through this experience, I was surprisingly able to let that all go and it was one of the most empowering experiences of my life. My body is a vessel for which my soul resides. It is nothing to be shameful about. It’s ironic because when my body fit society’s standards, I hid it. But now that my body has changed into something that can’t fit into a size 00, I was able to show it off more. That right there is amazing to me. Once you take away the judgments from society about a body being a sexual object and let yourself be free in your body, you feel free in your mind.
Along the banks of the Boise River, enjoying the peace and solitude with Katie…
My shoot was amazing. I was definitely nervous because I had never done that kind of concept before. I felt anxious driving out to our location, and when I pulled up at the park, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily, you arrived right then and I was reassured to see a normal, nice guy get out of the car. We introduced ourselves and made some small talk and I could feel myself relaxing a little bit. Like from an 70% stress level to a 50%. We talked through some outfit choices and posing ideas and I steadily felt more confident.
The location was so beautiful! The park was just like a forest with a gorgeous river and lots of plants and stuff. I felt like some kind of Pocahontas or something and it was really fun. But there was definitely some part of me that was holding back. My whole life as a woman I have been trained to behave modestly. To hide my body for fear of offending someone else .
It was insanely hard to fight this internal battle throughout the shoot. I know this inner struggle made me more difficult to shoot. But you were great the whole time. Reassuring me, helping with my posing, and most of all having the patience to help me embrace my most natural self. Your final product is stunning, I can honestly say this is my favorite shoot! ❤😊
A new follower found my Instagram account recently and contacted me to share his story and ask some questions. He was frustrated with his local church and saddened with how he’d been treated for embracing the biblical view of the body. I thought you might want to listen in on our short conversation. For the purpose of this blog post, I’ll call him Lucas. Lucas: I saw your post about Jesus and wanted to talk about religion and naturism because most religious people are so against nudity. I just recently stopped going to church because even though it was very spiritual, there was still shame towards things like nudity. Jason: Yeah. The goodness of the body is something the church is still mostly unaware of. So much of what has been taught is based on non-christian ideas passed down through history instead of what the Bible actually teaches. L: I went through a sort of awakening and ended up in nature and one day a voice in my head told me to get naked and I did! And it was amazing and I just wanted to share this bliss with the world… but the pastor at my church totally called me extreme and that I need to stay in the middle. That really got me down for a while, but I’m coming out of it. J: Did you know there’s actually lots of natural nudity in the Bible? Most people have no idea how normal being naked was in Scripture. In fact, Jesus was naked when he rose from the dead. A casual reader will notice that it says the grave clothes were left in the tomb. Mary saw Him from a distance and assumed he was the gardener. Why? Because in those days people did all their outdoor work naked. Mary wasn’t shocked by Jesus’ lack of attire. And it didn’t stop her from running up and giving Him a hug.
I believe that God is opening up this old truth again for our generation. Instead of hiding our bodies in darkness and assuming sin, we should walk freely in the light as He made us. Light pushes away darkness and brings maturity.
A great resource you’d enjoy is a website written by a friend of mine called the Biblical Naturist. Matthew Neal has spent years connecting the dots between natural nudity and the Bible. L: I agree so many of us are waking up to this truth. Getting naked has been a blessing and has actually helped me deal with my sexuality and porn addiction. Now I no longer always have sex on the brain, not to mention the incredible self confidence and the added energy and joy. It’s beautiful. J: That’s a great testimony. I want to share another website with you: mychainsaregone.org Another great resource that brings light into darkness and shows us that once we change our perspective on the body, addictions falls away. L: I will check them both out! 😄 J: Do! You will be blessed. After His resurrection, we have another glimpse of natural nudity when the disciples were fishing and it says Peter was naked because he was fishing (John 21:7). So he grabbed his shirt, threw it over his head and jumped in the lake and swam to the shore where Jesus was. I can go on! L: I love it! It’s crazy how people can just ignore all that. J: They haven’t been taught to see it. They wear cultural glasses when reading the scriptures. And many of the translations obscure the text so as not to offend modern sensibilities. L: All this shame towards nudity has made porn rampant it has had the opposite effect. Instead of learning love, people instead hate and defile their bodies. J: That’s right. Teaching people that the sight of simple nudity is sinful only fuels adds fuel to the fire. When you show someone the truth they can be set free and put the fire out! L: Ever since I got healthy and started going out into nature I’ve been seeing the world with new eyes. J: Let me tell you one more fun Christian nudity fact. Did you know that until infant baptism took off in the third century, all water baptisms were done in the nude? Men, women and children. Every believer! L: No, I didn’t, but it makes sense. Why get your clothes wet? J: Imagine that in today’s church! L: Haha that would be awesome. J: Yes, why get your clothes wet, but it was more than that, too. Going into and out of the water unadorned symbolizes being born again. Just as we enter the world naked, believers in Jesus Christ would be immersed in water and rise out–entering the new life given through Christ. I pray that God’s people will rediscover these powerful truths. L: I love that! and I pray that too. Slow but surely it is happening. Someone made a very good point how violence is so widely accepted and glorified but if someone is naked then it must be taken down…but plenty of sex in movies. J: Yes. That makes me so sad that Americans would rather allow their children to see someone shot up or beaten to death than glimpse a simple body part like a nipple. L: Things just don’t make any sense at all and people are starting to see that. J: The more people recognize the silliness of hiding our bodies and join in, the harder it is for controllers to use the body as a product or as a tool for evil. And I bet there are other Christians in your area who have also learned this truth. L: Yeah people wanna get rid of separation and old beliefs it’s beautiful. And I have found some people around here like me! J: Thanks for reaching out, Lucas and for supporting my work. It’s encouraging to hear that God is revealing truth all over America. Let’s keep sharing!