First of all, I wish to thank you for visiting this new blog created upon the updating of my website, www.dominic-c.fr.
While hoping that this new version will please you, I take the opportunity to introduce myself again (for a complete description of my career path, please see the section “Bio“.
French of origin, I’ve been living in Southeast Asia for about twenty years. Still, I remember perfectly my very first trip to Indonesia, in 1992, when I was 25 years old…
Extract from my travel diary:
June 18th. We are flying over gorgeous atolls, which reveal the proximity of Paradise. My eyes are stuck to the window. The intense blue of the ocean and these virgin islands make me dream: I call a flight attendant and beg her to give me a parachute so I can join this Heaven which seems closer than ever!
I remember, of course, all the women I came across during that first journey, beautiful and sensual at all ages. Really, I think I never got as much of a stiff neck as during this first journey… I remember those women villagers in Sulawesi, touching the hair on my arms and the tip of my nose, which seemed so strange to them. I remember Irma from Wamena, Baliem Valley in Western New Guinea, who introduced me to her parents, secretly hoping to marry me. I especially remember Daniela, a young Javanese from Yogyakarta for whom I fell in love at first sight.
Then, how about Mira, that young Sundanese from West Java who helped me pass through a very difficult phase during this first trip? That episode of my life should definitely be recounted in this blog, soon.
As you have probably understood already, all these interesting encounters with Indonesian women were the starting point of my photographic quest on the theme of sensuality. But to start with, I had to forget everything. It was a few years later that I could retrieve those sensations, those smells and the feminine looks that had settled deep inside my person. Therefore, in 2005, when I decided to tackle the delicate topic, it was really just letting the memories spring out, the events that had unconsciously affected me at the age of 25. It seemed absolutely natural for me to pay tribute to these women and express visually the reasons why I had decided to settle down in Paradise.
Thus, I decided to trust my sensations and create a visual study on femininity while trying to understand why men are so attracted to these island beauties.
I don’t know if I am a “sensualist” but I do like the definition of this philosophy elaborated by Etienne Bonnot de Condillac in 1754 in his “Treatise on Sensations”. He maintained that sensations are the beginning of all our knowledge. Strongly inspired by ‘Empirism’ (John Locke 1690 in “Essay on Human Understanding”), sensualism is the opposite of Cartesian rationalism. I like this opposition especially because in Southeast Asia, people tend to behave in a not very Cartesian manner, meaning in a conscious manner (I refer to: “I think therefore I am”).
Of course, nowadays certain Southeast Asians seem to be playing a “sex-appeal” image, yet, I have photographed numerous models (from Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand) who reflected beauty and sensuality in a totally innocent and natural manner.
“To think is to feel” said another sensualist, Helvetius. I’m not far from agreeing with this statement.
When Condillac exposes his theory of sensations and knowledge through his famous thought experiment on a statue invested successively with the five senses, he obviously generalizes his philosophy, which underlines the relations between sensations, ideas, judgment and language.
However, if we apply this theory strictly to our topic of interest here, sensuality, it brings us to look deep into ourselves. If sensations are impressions stimulated inside when a person meets another person then all the sensations are permitted, from the most naive to the most shameful because man is an animal, who thinks and therefore who feels.
Sensuality is a sensation that is perceived and interpreted differently depending on the culture and/or education but I try to ask my models to explore it, then to control it.
To “control”, in the case of a young model who’s attempting to define her own femininity, even her own sexuality, during shooting, is surely a magic word because from there she can make use of it. I found myself in situations where I had to help some of my models to find their own sensuality simply because they were unaware of it. And I’m a little proud to say that I have helped these young women feel better with their body, with their femininity. In fact, many confessed that they felt like a tomboy before posing nude for me.
Some people claim that glamour pictures serve as therapy and one of my colleagues, Patrick Wecksteen, has well understood this concept by creating Photo-Therapy™ – cf. http://nudevision.fr/. But for the Southeast Asian women that I had the chance to photograph, I believe that posing nude meant “taking care” of themselves.
In fact, I remember I once happened to photograph a young inexperienced Indonesian model, who had accepted to pose for me as revenge towards her uncle. During the intense discussion prior to the test-shoot, she confessed that he raped her many times, so by posing nude, she wanted to use her charm to play with men’s libido… She wanted to make them crazy in her own way.
Other models have posed nude to assert their femininity to the detriment of their religion, (often Islamic in Indonesia), which sometimes denies their sensuality and femininity. For them, it is a social even political act to demonstrate that they are women before being Muslim or wives…
Finally, I would conclude that the desire to seduce or explore one’s own femininity/sensuality is influenced by education rather than being determined by the genes. In a country like Indonesia, sensuality can be seen as a rebellion against social or family norms, a kind of self-affirmation.
A woman’s seductiveness is nevertheless related to a certain search for sensuality and femininity but I think that this search isn’t necessarily conscious for all wom
en. I prefer the natural beauty of Indonesians (who are often unaware of their sensuality because of thei
r religion or culture) rather than the overly sexy image of certain Thai women, for example.
To control her sensuality, control her senses (like self-control in general) helps my models to know themselves better – some would say “to master oneself”, in order to assert their condition as women in comparison to men.
Nowadays, many western media especially Anglo-Saxon ones tend to spread mixed or false signals on the feminine condition because they mix up sensuality and sexuality, even eroticism and pornography. Incidentally, it is rather strange (even unfortunate) to find out that the word “pornography” has different meanings depending on the country or the ethnic and religious background.
That is why, during every photo session, I brief my Muses about my own clear and limpid definition of sensuality. I also spend some time interviewing them on the topic and I will publish their answers and opinions regularly in this blog.
Finally, I wish to reaffirm how happy I feel that these women have trusted me enough to accept being photographed completely nude. The exploration of their sensuality, their femininity and their power of seduction remains their main motivation. This quest in search of the self is always difficult but I am sure it is necessary to face the adult world, the machos’ world.
I thank dearly all those who accepted my help, through the prism of glamour photography, in becoming happy adult women.