It's in the Way That You Frame It...?
Along the same thread, in my own personal bathroom I’d like to post a photo, in a nice frame, of myself topless. It’s very artistic. From time to time guests may use that bathroom. Is that ok?
I would like to point out that you used the words “I’d like to post a photo...”- my hunch is that you have an untapped exhibitionist streak and would actually get a thrill from posting an “oopsy” on the internet. But you seem to be craving more frequent birthdays so you can don your birthday suit more often. Pull the shades and go for it. Or don’t pull the shades- your choice. My shade-pulling conservatism comes from the fact that I’m a feng shui consultant and I can’t think of a passage in the I Ching that describes one’s neighbor’s naked bod as being a harmonizing influence- for the neighbor.
As for your personal sense of abundance and harmony, and in the privacy of your own bathroom, you may do whatever you wish. That is the gift of having a private home. If that is also the bathroom you have for guests as well, then it is no longer your personal bathroom, and what you display there will be up for assessment.
This is when I commend you on having respect for the visual arts, when you justify your artistic nudity by telling me it will of course, be “in a nice frame.” For a moment, when I first read your question, all I could focus on was what you conceptualized as being a “nice frame”- are you picturing a slim chrome profile, a modern black gallery look, a gilt Baroque exclamation, or something commemorative, like an American flag surrounding your proud display…
On the one hand, thinking about the frame style is understandably part of your vision, and I get where you’re going- a classic frame makes the image more “nude,” less “nudie.” On the other hand, the frame won’t change the image too radically.
A cautionary tale regarding the limited power of the frame as it relates to “artwork”: Years ago, when I was in the single digits, I was in an very elegant older woman’s powder room, and right next to the toilet, centered above the toilet paper, was a very naked and hairy Burt Reynolds smiling at me with a cigarette and a strange comic smile. The centerfold photo was in a frame. That is the entire cautionary tale. By telling this tale, I've actually conveyed some powerful advice, which I will recap for you, as I'm sure you are preoccupied with trying to recall the image of that legendary centerfold.
A frame does not have magical properties. A framed Naked Burt Reynolds on the bearskin rug is still a Naked Burt Reynolds on the bearskin rug. I’m not sure art historians would come up with different interpretations of the piece if it was hung with thumbtacks or scotch tape.
Don’t scare your guests. There will be different reactions from Those Who Know You vs. New Friends. Are your potential guests going to be prepared to enter the Garden of Earthly Delights? It’s wonderful to create one, but I believe in creating transitional zones, (one of the most fundamental and important ideas in feng shui) so your guests don’t feel they’ve accidentally entered a room you forgot to lock… Put some subtle teasers in the hallway, so they know your "private side" is a little bit playful. This could be anything quirky or sexy, you know, something besides a rosary or an embroidery sampler.
Context is important. This goes for everything in life really, but is especially true for artwork. Where you are photographed, where you place the photograph, who you are, who the potential guests are…I don’t want to make you paranoid, but as I discussed in my previous post, nudity, when it is highlighted and isolated, is provocative. So just respect what you do with your artfully-documented nude selfie.
In your photo-nude-scapades please have your head photographed as part of your body. This is a BIG problem with sexual/sensual imaging of women these days- women are presented as bodies without heads- the heads in female-centric images are quite often cropped out. I won’t launch into the obvious problem of objectification going on with this strange guillotine-like marketing fetish. Just reminding you to not participate in this bizarre practice. Your body looks great with a head- please keep it attached in your selfies.
Break some rules. It's clear you want to. From what I hear you say at the end of your question when you say, “is it ok,” you probably need to break some rules. Damn right it’s ok. Liberate yourself. Get a little edgy, question your socializing and rewrite your own rules. Individuate. And if staging a "Burt Reynolds" is what's going to feel like you're waving your freak flag, then strip down, strut your stuff, and print it. Then afterward, choose a trustworthy frame shop.
Aubrey Thorne is an interior designer, feng shui consultant, and astrologer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.