As an adult, how many times have you been nude around someone else? Friends? Lovers? Family? Strangers? Likely not very often, since being naked, other than taking off your clothes and jumping in the shower, or quickly changing, remains taboo in our culture.
In a way, I understand it. The naked body is most often associated with sex, and so, we cover up the parts of our body associated with it. But of course we dress for so many other reasons: to be warm, to be comfortable, to be fashionable, to be symbolic, and so on.
But the taboo of being naked is just that: a taboo. It’s fear-based, and so we refrain from it. Maybe it’s too much to imagine walking around the streets of a city naked, but what about doing one of your favourite things in the comfort of your own home? Would, and should, being naked really change it?
Photographer Sophia Vogel knows nudity carries this taboo, and so she sought out to prove to people that being naked should feel just as natural as being clothed. “If you think of it right, we are all naked underneath our clothes,” she said.
In her photo series “With and Without,” Vogel got intimate with her subjects, entering their homes and asking them what their hobbies included. Whether it was listening to music or playing with their cat, she asked them to perform their hobbies with and without clothing. Taking photographs during their clothed state and then again during their naked state, she gave a side-by-side comparison of what a hobby looks like in these seemingly different contexts.
Though nakedness has certainly gained more popularity in the mainstream, allowing it to slowly escape the confines of the taboo world, it is still very much a shocking, inappropriate state to many.
“The pressure of being a sexual being is omnipresent for every human being,” Vogel said. “We are observed and judged every day, and the fashion industry lavishes beauty ideals and criticism on us. We set high standards for ourselves. I want to speak up against these ridiculous standards.”
But Vogel’s portraits show no signs of sexual connotation, despite nudity being so sexualized in modern society.
“By presenting all kinds of different body shapes and natural postures I would love to show that everybody is beautiful in their own way,” she said. “I love to present nudity in an aesthetic manner without any sexual context. Not every single nude photograph should be linked to sexuality.”
Even more intriguing about this photo series is that Vogel’s subjects are not models at all, but regular people who agreed to take part in the project by way of reaching out on Instagram, or word-of-mouth. Clearly, many others wanted to break the stigma, too, including the teachers, dentists, attorneys, and various other volunteers — most of them millennials — featured in the series.
“Right now, I am unfortunately only able to get ahold of the younger generations, but I would love to photograph a wide age range,” she said.
Photos: Sophia Vogel
New Images Of Jupiter Are In And They’re Awesome
Low and behold, the magnificent gas giant Jupiter in all its glory!
Earth is a miraculous being. We have lived on this planet for centuries and still haven’t learned of all its magnificent depths and crevices. Yet, beyond the mysteries of our own home, we have the beauty of the stars to consider, which inevitably leaves us wondering, what else is beyond this blanket of darkness and twinkling lights? While we have discovered much about our solar system and neighbouring planets, there is still plenty more to learn.
In 2011, Nasa launched a space probe called Juno which is currently orbiting Jupiter. Juno finally began its scientific investigation of the planet when it entered orbit on July 5, 2016. The mission aims to learn more about how the planet formed, its composition, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, and its mass distribution. It will also measure its deep winds, which have been noted to reach speeds of up to 618 kilometers per hour (384 mph), and its gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.
On July 10, Juno completed a close flyby of Jupiter and its Great Red Spot during its sixth science orbit. “For generations people from all over the world and all walks of life have marveled over the Great Red Spot,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “Now we are finally going to see what this storm looks like up close and personal.”
On Friday, September 1, the JunoCam collected more images of this magnificent gas giant from its seventh science orbit, and NASA put the raw images online. In the following photos you will see what seems to be a large storm cutting into the side of the planet, creating a rather lovely pattern, along with amazing closeups of the clouds, a shadow on Jupiter caused by one of its moons, and hurricanes making their way across the planet. As an additional treat, there is also a video stitching together images as Juno flew over Jupiter.
Juno’s missions is scheduled to end in July 2018 but the mission could be extended if all continues to go well.
Breath-Taking Images of The Recent Full Solar Eclipse, From Space
As you probably already know, Earth experienced a total solar eclipse on August 21st. This rare astronomical event garnered plenty of attention, capturing the imaginations of people from all around the globe.
I’ve always been fascinated by such events that happen in space, as well as chronobiology, a field within biology that examines and studies phenomena in living organisms and how solar, lunar, and other related rhythms affect our physiology.
Here at Collective Evolution, based on all of our research in several different fields, we believe there is currently a massive shift in consciousness happening, and that it’s actually coinciding with the heightened activity of the Sun. Throughout all stages of human history, major events (like 9/11) have been marked by a spike or increase in solar activity.
“I believe it will be the magnetic influence produced by the sun that will usher in what is described by our ancient ancestors as ‘the transition’ bringing us to a new state-of-being.”
– Mitch Batros, author, solar researcher
Today, we understand that the sun goes through cycles, like the sun spot cycle that lasts 11 years.
Do these events affect human consciousness? A Soviet-era interdisciplinary scientist and biophysicist who founded “heliobiology,” the study of the sun’s effect on biology, named Alexander Chizhevsky produced a lot of great research on the subject, as have many others.
“When I first came across Chizhevsky’s research it was fascinating because you’re seeing thousands of years’ worth of human history and human events that seem to coincide almost perfectly with the cycles of the sun, and the radiation and cosmic rays that are coming down cosmologically and that are ultimately impacting human consciousness and the events that take place here on Earth.”
– Joe Martino, Founder of Collective Evolution
After analyzing years of data, Chizhevsky discovered a remarkable correlation between sun spot cycles and major events in human history. We go into more detail about this in our third documentary, The Collective Evolution III: The Shift, at approximately the 40 minute mark.
It’s also important to mention the fact that an international cooperative effort to help activate the heart of humanity and facilitate a shift in global consciousness is underway, thanks to the work of scientists over at the HeartMath Institute. Science has recently shed light on the fact that what we used to perceive as ‘human’ aura is actually an electromagnetic field that all our bodies emit, a fact which plays a very important role — far beyond what is commonly known — in understanding our biology, and the interconnectedness we share with all life.
Astronomical bodies, like the Sun, also have electromagnetic fields. Perhaps we have a relationship with the stars and the planets that we don’t yet understand.
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According to Vedic scholars, teachers, and gurus like HH Swami Vidyadhishananda, this event was a rare opportunity for meditation:
In general, eclipses indicate an interruption of the energy of the luminaries and hence are deemed as important events for life on Earth. The effect of an eclipse on each individual is different and depends on their particular position or placement of luminaries at the time of birth. . . .
Typically the effects last for three to six months if the eclipse is of particular significance to an individual, whereas it can even last for up to a year if relevant to a country. If and how an eclipse affects an individual is a specific and detailed calculation and is in itself a vast subject. An eclipse of this magnitude influences life across the entire globe to varying degrees. . . . However such effects which are out of our control can be best mitigated at the personal level by way of contemplation or meditation.
Whereas eclipses and their effects have been feared by most traditions and cultures, meditators patiently wait for such moments to come forth. This is because the depth and power of meditation increases manifold during an eclipse.
Definitely some interesting things to think on. Thanks for reading.
Photo Series Shows Kids Enjoying Childhood Without Technology
Do you remember a tech-free childhood? For the most part, I do, with the exception of television. I am thankful I didn’t grow up during the era of iPads and iPhones, and everything that comes with them — easy access to streamed movies and TV shows, YouTube, games, and endless social media feeds. I didn’t have a device to distract me at the fancy restaurant. When I was bored, my parents told me to read, to go outside, to play with my sister.
I was a nanny for a long time as a young adult, during the emergence of iPhones, iPads, and the social media hype. I can tell you that I saw firsthand its effects on children’s desire to go outside and play, to interact with their siblings, and to fill the void of boredom with books, board games, or even a tree outside rather than a screen.
While there is certainly a lot of opinions on today’s technology and our children, and I respect parents’ choices for their children, and I do believe iPhones, iPads, social media, and more are more than just unavoidable, but also beneficial in many circumstances. However, I also believe in the simplicity of life; in the power of getting dirty in nature; in using your creativity to make up games with your sibling; in getting lost in a book.
It seems New Zealand photographer and mother of four Niki Boon does too. In a series called “Childhood in the Raw,” she documented her children’s everyday lives, showcasing the joys of a tech-free world.
“This project came into being with our decision to educate our children alternatively, at home,” Boon told HuffPost.
As one might assume, there have been a lot of questions and criticism from friends, family, and strangers regarding the family’s lifestyle. Boon, her husband, and their children — a 12-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 7, 9, and 13 — live in a rural environment without modern electronic devices like TV and smartphones.
“In the beginning, the photos served as a visual document, to record things that the children were doing in a day, to reassure both others and ourselves that there was learning taking place,” Boon said.
“But as time went on, I became frustrated that the pictures weren’t really telling the story well enough for me. It just wasn’t with enough depth,” she continued.
“So I spent many hours and late nights trying to teach myself how to take better pictures, ones that depicted what I was seeing in front of me, and tell the story the way I saw it … and things just evolved from there.”
Boon’s tech-free childhood, in which she grew up on a farm with extended family, sparked her desire to give her children a similar experience.
“Like all parents we would love our children to be strong in who they are, confident, free thinkers, proactive, independent, resilient, empathetic and happy,” said Boon. “I hope that, living with the land that we have, that they also gain a healthy respect for the earth, and for the animals and plants that live with us on it.”
Boon hopes, if anything can be taken away from the series, it is that her children have the opportunity to look back on it and smile.
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Photos: Niki Boon Photography
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