Letters to DOMAI
Dear DOMAIWhile this may not be typical of the letters that DOMAI receives, I do think that it speaks of the beauty of women. I have lived my entire life in the central part of the United States, the area known as the Bible belt, where nudity is one of many items on a big list of sins. It is a place where most women nurse their babies in private, lest someone see their indecently exposed breasts. I pity the young people who are taught that the body that their God gave to them is somehow obscene.
When our son was six months old, my wife asked me to take some photographs of the two of them. After his evening bath, my wife dried our son off, and then she removed her shirt and bra, and briefly nursed him so as to pacify him. Afterward, we slipped out onto our private patio, and as she snuggled his bare body next to hers I snapped a dozen or so photos.
They were the cute kind of photos, which reveal very little in spite of the nudity. They were the kind that have become almost cliché these days, but that is what she wanted and I happily obliged. The sun was quickly setting, and as I had taken the photos she wanted, I told her that we should probably call it quits. That's when she raised our son up in her outstretched arms, his face just above hers, and they both smiled at each other. The position of her outstretched arms showed off her exposed breasts to their best advantage, and I instinctively snapped one last picture. Even though the shot would be somewhat underexposed in the dimming light, I knew that it would be the best of the evening. My wife rolled her eyes at me for taking that shot of her fully exposed breasts, but I'm sure that she knew before she did it that I would not pass up such an opportunity.
As it turned out, that was the only usable photo due to a processing accident. Unfortunately, the deep marks from her nursing bra, which she normally wore night and day to support her large milk engorged breasts were clearly visible. My limited retouching skills could not properly hide the clothing marks. Eventually I came up with the idea of using a diffusion glass effect over the photo to hide my retouching, and as soon as I saw the results I knew that I had the right idea. Suddenly, the photo was transformed into something more abstract than graphically realistic, a dreamlike image of love and joy between a mother and child.
I entered the photo in a local contest, and received an award. My wife was rather nervous about having such a revealing photo of her on display, but I was ecstatic and tried to tell her that her face was not really recognizable in the photo. In the end, the favorable comments that the photo received brought a guarded smile to her face.
I have tried several times since then to exhibit the photo in various places locally, but each time the fear that a mother's bare breasts might offend someone keeps the photo from being displayed. I have tried downplaying her breasts or omitting them from the photo completely, but I have found that their fullness is central to the photo.
Our son is thirteen years old now, and the photo means more to me today than when I first took it. It represents a time in our lives of that will never come again. I revel in the memories of the beauty of my once expectant wife, the roundness of her breasts and abdomen, and also of the beautiful sight of a babe suckling the sweet nourishment from his mother's breast. The photo now hangs in my office, for all visitors to see. If they comment on the photo, or if I catch them repeatedly glancing at it, I gladly tell them that the photo is of my beautiful wife and son. So far, nobody has had the nerve to use the words indecent or offensive after I've said that.
Sincerely, C.R. Bell