Self Portrait Series (2015)

There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body.

When we respect the nude, we will no longer have any shame about it.

The sexual power residing within each is perhaps the strongest known force in the physical world. Not surprisingly, in our present age it is regarded with great importance. Pragmatically, it drives propagation of the human species, propelling its existence into the future. From a more holistic point of view, there is profound beauty to be witnessed in two individuals coming together and merging in sexual union and expression. Yet from a spiritual vantage point it is but a reflection of greater union to be experienced within higher spheres of one’s very own microcosm. A state of consciousness is entered which is above and beyond the mere physical act and sensation of sex. Because of its clout, the sexual power can serve to enslave or (to certain limited degree) to liberate one. A force that can manifest such effects as these is potent indeed.

Sex can be a beautiful and pleasurable experience. However, with its worship comes entrapment within pleasure seeking. The mind intrinsically has an aversion to pain and a desire for pleasure. It feels that to be happy and content it must avoid pain. It further believes that more pleasure is the solution. However, it is an acceptance of both which allows for balance and harmony within the dual scope of pleasure and pain, making pain bearable and restoring dignity to the experience of pleasure.

But balance and moderation are far more challenging attainments than are hedonistically surrendering to and exploiting this sexual power, or denying it through celibacy and asceticism. A lack of this balance can manifest the darker side of sex and sexuality. It is the fear of this darker side that sullies an otherwise potentially beautiful experience through the imposition of supposed high morality. By morality I speak to stifling edicts asserting that there is something wrong with sex in and of itself, or one’s sexuality, or one’s gender.

In light of the aforementioned, this body of work is not about sex, per se; nor about myself as a man, my sexuality, nor my sex life. It is about how elements of society construct shame around sex in order to control, and how that transfers to shame or embarrassment of our physical bodies. It is further an attempt to ameliorate such on the viewer’s behalf to whatever degree possible through the contemplative exercise of this series of self-portraits. And while this is the catalyst of inspiration for the work, delving more deeply into the project has revealed greater complexities: vulnerability, privacy and solitude; forbearance, composure and propriety. The rest is left to your interpretation.

—Alec Laughlin
December, 2014


Please note that this body of work is not presented in its entirety online.

About Alec

Alec Laughlin works in the mediums of photography, painting, design, publishing and arts administration. He offers services in photography, production management, art direction, photo re-touching, digitech, and web & graphic design.

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