I discovered the art work of Cindy Sherman pretty late on. In fact, I didn’t discover it, someone commented on one of my pictures on Flickr how much it looked like one of Cindy Sherman’s, and I was intrigued as to who that was.
Turns out she is a photographer who was huge in the 70s and 80s, focusing on a different take on the pictures of women. She uses herself as a model and produces pictures of normalcy that question the state of equality and feminism. Or something like that – I don’t understand art (art for me are reprints of movie posters, yeah, I have culture coming out of my pores). I’d link some pictures but then I’d get sued for copyright theft, or something like that, so go Google her and ‘Untitled Film Stills’.
Pictured – my post-feminist ironic Cindy Sherman style photo highlighting the dichotomy of make-up and attractiveness to the male race and the enslavement to modern fashion of the everyday woman. Or just me as a fiery redhead, you choose.
But I do love her pictures, they feel very similar to what I try to produce with Sarah. See, as you might have worked it out, it’s all about the pictures for me. I’m not a process-girl, I really don’t enjoy the mechanisms of transformation, or even really spending a lot of time fully en-femme, but instead delight in the visuals after the fact, which I then use to remember what it was like to be feminine, and yearn for the next time. Yeah, sounds mad doesn’t it, but what the hey, works for me.
I amusingly described it as ‘making my own porn’ when talking to Cindy, although it isn’t that naughty. Most of the time, anyway – I do have some staged photos that aren’t suitable for WordPress, put it that way.
Pictured – like this, just more sex toys, condoms and liquid silicon lube that looks suspiciously like the white sticky stuff 🙂
See, as drab me I’m not that posable. In fact, I’m stiff, awkward, very aware of my oddly proportioned male body. But Sarah? Point a camera at her and she’s a diva. And what’s really odd about it is I have absolutely no clue as to what I’m doing or how I’m doing it.
But it was not always that way. In fact, when I started to get back into the dressing the pictures of me look like I’m about to bend into a scrum. No flexibility, no natural femininity, In fact you can see the nervousness in most of the piccies.
But over time she softened, and, as long as I can see myself in a mirror, I can now nail a number of female poses, regardless of how much it hurts my hips, my ribs (corsets are tight and very inflexible), my feet, my legs, my arms, my knees, my wrists. Hell, everywhere.
And there are a couple of tips for girls wanting to look good in pictures……
It’s all in the wrist
Pictured – yeah, I spent my entire childhood working at not having limp wrists as it was seen as being indicative that you were a ‘poof’. Guess I showed them! Oh wait….
Let them flop. As a bloke you spend a lot of time making sure you don’t have limp wrists, when wearing female clothing *not* that important to avoid the limpness. Also, let them go limp in both directions – holding you hand up and letting it relax backwards so the palm is at 90 degrees looks fab, especially highlighting the nails. Let the fingers loosen up as well, but if you are holding your wrist straight pull your fingers in as if you are putting on a glove – it looks superb, again with nails.
Only thing to remember is to tense the wrists up after you’ve wiped off all the makeup. Caught myself a couple of times on the train home with my hand up by my mouth which doesn’t look that good when you’re wearing a t-shirt and mentally trying to push the stubble back out.
Standing straight and tall
Well, not so much tall. I have an issue when taking standing shots in that, with four inches and above heels, it’s very hard to get all of me in a picture. When doing standing shots I either stand very tight, pulling in my legs together and focusing on getting my body into as small a place as possible, or I angle my legs. This took a lot of practise, it’s very easy to look wrong when standing, in fact a lot of my early pictures are of me trying very hard to stand in a feminine way and missing the point entirely.
I tend to keep one leg straight, often the right, and pull the other in bent so the knee goes over the straight leg. It looks very sweet, especially if you have some lovely stockings/tights on.
Pictured – see? 🙂
Sitting pretty (and painfully)
Hate to break the illusion but there’s a lot of external stuff going on under Sarah’s skirt. I don’t tuck, partly because where the hell does the stuff go??? I know the medical theory but I’ve terrified, for reasons I can’t fathom, that the testes won’t come back. They’ll be annoyed with me and remain in the cavity sulking. Anyway, I fold everything back which works a treat when taking pictures of the flatness between my corseted stomach and the top of my thighs, but when I sit? It’s always Russian Roulette as to whether my full body weight lands on my buttocks or my ‘between the legs tendermeats’.
Pictured – crunch, crush, squeeze, smile….
So sitting is always…. interesting. I think I’ve managed it now, but occasionally I get too into it and want to do the leg cross. That is *not* a good idea. Looks sexy though, in my opinion. You can almost not see me wincing and trying not to cry.
Lying down – tuck, bend, point
Again, a lot of fun with a corset. You lower yourself down onto the floor very, very carefully, or rather I do. Having managed in the past to a: slice my shin neatly like a ninja with my own heel and b: effectively tie myself up when tucking a heel into the skirt of my dress, and when I stretched my leg out having got down on the floor it pulled the back of the frock around my neck and for an instant I thought I’d managed to hog-tie myself. Yeah, some people like those kind of photos but you do feel slightly helpless and ‘what the hell is tying me down’.
But I think I’ve nailed this. When doing makeovers with Alison Dale she gave me the advice of ‘always point your toes in heels’ and it works a treat, makes the back of your shin look very sexy (hell, I’m a leg man. And a stockings girl). I slide both legs out, point the heels and then fold the top leg, getting the knee to point out directly in front. I then bend the body around the corset, which emphasises the bottom (with padding hips and two or three false bum pads), angle the shoulder back (and lay the arm along the upper leg) and et voila. Actually, instead of a random set of directions that sound like ‘how to install your Ikea flatpack crossdresser’
Pictured – when you reach the point that practise makes perfect on lying sideways in a dress and heels you may have to start to question your level of macho-ness
The end result looks very sensual, and for that I can almost forgive the strained hip I always seem to have for five or six days after the session. Plus when I end up having a replacement hip, which I’m pretty sure I will end up with because I *adore* doing this kind of pose, I’m hoping swivelling the legs over each other will be so much easier.
Lastly, and by far not the leastly, be happy
It’s going to sound mad, but stick with me on this one. Let the inner girl out. It took me a couple of years before I even smiled when having my photo taken as Sarah, but when I did it completely changed the way I looked. And the smiles were genuine; once I’d gotten over the fear and the nerves and started to tap into the happiness I genuinely feel when being the gentler sex the results were astounding. The pictures no longer looked like *me*, the cynicism was gone, the tiredness, the effort of maintaining a toxic masculinity shell. I started to see her, and also, when looking in the big mirror Cindy has so you can see your beautiful reflection, I could see just how happy she was to be alive and posing.
Pictured – a genuine Sarah smile. You will never see a picture of drab-me with a smile like this
Relaxing as Sarah when fully made-up and tottering on heels in front of the mirror just seemed to bring everything together. And you can see genuine happiness in a lot of my photos, when I’m not doing my patented ‘resting bitch’ face or ‘staring into distance’ which I tend to do when I need a quick 30 millisecond sleep during a session (in my defence I always tend to do long sessions as I’m, as you may have worked it out, a little obsessive about all this).
I have another month until my next session, which is going to be a pure retro-fest with lots of Victory Rolls and 1940s style frockage, yet when I lie in bed last thing I night I tend to do a quick couple of poses just to keep the muscle memory intact.
Stay beautiful, remember to be happy whenever someone points a camera at you, and let your inner-girl run free. Or sit free. Or kneel free. Whatever feels the most femm for you.
Pictured – Sarah the Poser xxx