Interview by Rickey E. Pittman
I was extremely excited when the talented Eolake Stobblehouse agreed to an interview. I have met few others who are as creative, eclectic, and committed to ideals as he is. In my mind, he is the quintessential Renaissance man. Stobblehouse is the creator of DOMAI.com, a nude photography site of an unusual kind.
I stumbled upon his site a couple of years ago and have consequently had many hours of enjoyment, not just from viewing the beautiful women he presents in an artistic context, but from thinking about the forceful insights he provides in his writing. I began with his free newsletter, and a short time later, joined as a member. I was impressed with what I found. All of the women featured on the site are "natural beauties". DOMAI Membership is inexpensive, and the site is easily navigated no traps or trickery.
Stobblehouse is a philosopher of aesthetics, he loves beauty and art and people, and is well read, constantly commenting, sharing quotes and insights and recommending books, articles, and other quality internet sites to his members. Now residing in Copenhagen, Denmark, he is an artist, (photographer and painter) and a patron of artists. He is a man we in America should know about.
Question: What is DOMAI all about?
Stobblehouse: DOMAI is about the beauty of women. Basically, some years ago some of my friends were teasing me or chiding for my tendency to look at women openly in the streets. It was born home to me that some people thought that there is something wrong with doing this. I didn't get it, and I still don't. Most beautiful women use a lot of time, money, and energy on appearing their best. Therefore, to not look would be... a waste. A sin, almost.
So at one point, I invented this club called "Dirty Old Men's Association International". This was just a joke originally. But when the World Wide Web came around in the mid-nineties, I thought that it would be a fun thing to put in a web site. The "Philosophy Page" and the "History of DOMAI Page" on the site are still pretty much like I wrote them back then in a frenzy of creativity.
I put a few nice pictures on the site also, and many people got interested. Later, somebody else got the idea that I could sell memberships, which had never occurred to me, it was just something I did for fun. But it seemed to work, and it was fun.
And it turned out that DOMAI has a secondary mission: strengthening the position of Tasteful Nude Art. I believe that over the next couple of decades, this mission will gain prominence, and Tasteful Nude Art will no longer be perceived as "soft porn," which it isn't. It is an entity onto itself. I attempted to outline this in an article.
Question: Obviously, since DOMAI stands for "Dirty Old Mens Association International," you dont emphasize political correctness. I know that many statements and points made by the site are "tongue in cheek", but give me a few of your thoughts on political correctness.
Stobblehouse: Considering the reactions of others is just natural, and in many cases a good thing. But like most things, it can be overdone. I just think you can be so overly fearful of offending that you bleach your speech and writings of all color, humor, and interest.
Question: Many of your members thank you for providing a quality, pornography-free site. It seems to be a result of your philosophy regarding beauty. For example, in one article you said, "To many people, explicit sexual activity has such a strong effect, positive or negative, that it overpowers the subtler effect beauty has. In other words, too much sex and the beauty tends to be lost." Why is nudity so connected to sex in peoples minds? What are your thoughts on pornography generally?
Stobblehouse: Pornography to me personally is all right, except most of it is of abysmal quality. And probably that is because it is taboo. Nobody of talent wants to be called a pornographer, so nobody does a good job. A shame really. I think that nudity gets sexualized because it is too rare. I know many people who are nudists, and a universal experience is that after a few days or weeks, the sexuality of nudity simply disappears, and only people are left. Nudity is connected also with the old phenomenon that if you want to make something really interesting, you make it forbidden. I mean, this has been observed for millennia, and still people try to make things disappear by forbidding them. They only strengthen them.
Question: In one article you said, "I really believe that a lot of art and beauty is denied us by medieval attitudes and emotional arguments." I know that you champion freedom, especially freedom of expression and thought. How has your site helped some people change their viewpoint and attitudes toward nudity and/or sexuality?
Stobblehouse: In many ways. I am extremely gratified by all the nice communications I get. Quoting from a couple of letters:
"DOMAI is a good place to begin reprogramming one's self to consciously realize that nudity is natural, beauty is important and looking is good." - Karl
"DOMAI to me is much more than just interesting; I have learned the absolute beauty of a woman is not just her body, but her entire existence." Sid W.
"Upon awaking this morning, I wandered downstairs for my morning cup of coffee and my regular DOMAI daily check in. A thought came to me: one of the reasons I enjoy DOMAI so much is that a few minutes at your web site tends to simplify life. The convoluted complications of the day vanish even if just for that few moments. Thanks." - Kent B.
Question: Do you think society and our Western culture is changing in a healthy way?
Stobblehouse: Yes, definitely. It is not clear from year to year, but it is clear from decade to decade. And abundantly clear from century to century.
Question: How does America compare in your mind to the rest of the world?
Stobblehouse: America is more repressive than Denmark, but less than Singapore. There is little doubt that during the past century, America has been the most vital and influential culture on the Earth. I like American culture a lot.
Question: DOMAI has experienced a great deal of growth, hasnt it? Tell me about your growth, internet ratings, etc.
Stobblehouse: Well, apparently we are now in the top 0.3% of popular web sites. This is still hard to believe. Apparently it has something to do with the fact that just plain good taste and quality being so rare. I often have people asking me "where can I find other web sites like yours?" and I really want to help them, because I would want to be a member of such sites also!
Question: Was there an epiphany, a favorite, or a defining moment in your journey to get DOMAI to where it is now?
Stobblehouse: Well, when it still was a small amateur site, and I suddenly found out that I apparently had 5,000 visitors daily, that told me that I had something special. Also all the wonderful e-mail that started pouring in from the start, from all kinds of wonder people was an experience beyond the usual.
Question: DOMAI is international. What languages is your site in? Are there plans for more? How does traffic in other languages compare to that of English?
Stobblehouse: It is unwieldy for a small site to keep it updated in several languages, so I have basic informational pages in the biggest languages. Traffic is just like the Internet: at the moment about 40% from the US, 20 or 30% from Europe, and then spread over the rest of the world.
Question: What is the criteria for the models you use on your site?
Stobblehouse: Basically, my selection of models is just personal taste. I listen to my members of course, but in the end I go with what I like. It seems to be what works best.
Question: You have a very successful site. If you had to do something different, what would you do?
Stobblehouse: I would wear a tie on Sundays... Oh, do something else, you mean... Well, I would paint, or photograph, or write. I do much of that anyway.
Question: What is one thing you wish men and women knew about your site?
Stobblehouse: I am not a Dirty Old Man. Really, I am not. :) ... I think almost anybody will get a good impression of the site if they take a look of it. It is truly unique. But you have to take a look for yourself.
Question: Do you have any future plans you would care to discuss?
Stobblehouse: At the moment I am working on a book of DOMAI philosophy. I hope to publish it in the spring. I want a world where there are MANY quality sites with tasteful nude photos of beautiful girls. And the same in other media. So my plans are simply to blaze a trail and show that it can be successful, and that not everybody needs or wants hardcore porn. Also I humbly wants to influence the culture a little on how it views nudity, and how it views looking. If we cant look at each other, no wonder we cant talk!
Stobblehouses own words provide the best summary of what DOMAI is about. He said: "Domai is about the beauty of the model. Just as she is. Without having sex or trying to be sexy. Without loads of fancy lingerie or make-up and hair styling. Just herself, nude as she was created. Natural and beautiful. That is 'DOMAI style'."
Check out this site and see for yourself. DOMAI not only offers quality photography of young women, but it is also a site with letter contests, stories, film reviews, quotes, interviews with artists, courses for photographers, and a bookstore.
More info about Eolake Stobblehouse and his other sites on the his bio page.
About the Author:
Rickey E. Pittman, Grand Prize Winner of the 1998 Ernest Hemingway short Story Competition, is originally from Dallas, Texas. He earned a BA in New Testament Greek and an MA in English from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. After moving to Monroe, Louisiana, Pittman was added to the Louisiana Roster of Artists in 1998. Working closely with regional art councils, he has written historical plays for Franklin (1997) and Madison (1998) parishes. In addition to free lance journalism and non-fiction writing, he has published short stories, two chapbooks of poetry, and one novel, ---Red River Fever. Since 1994, he has been a secondary school teacher in Louisiana and Texas and adjunct English instructor for the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana, and Eastfield Community College in Mesquite, Texas.
Email Mr. Pittman: rickeyp[at]bayou.com
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