Nudist Pics – Are Nudist Club Photography Policies Too Strict & Outdated?
Some months ago, I was visiting a good friend of mine (who’s also a naturist) for a few days in Florida. On my last full day with her, we went to hang out at a large co-op nudist club for the day. This was the first time I’d seen her in a couple years, so before we had to leave this club, I wanted to get one nice photo of the two of us together.
We found a scenic, uninhabited spot by the lake for our backdrop. But I didn’t want just a two-person selfie, so naturally we needed to find someone else to take the photo. Sounds like a simple task, right? Just get someone else to take the picture and we’re done. But…it turned into a bit of an ordeal.
For starters, this nudist club has a policy that required someone from management to be with you if you wanted to take a photo. Since this was the end of the day, there was only one person at the office, and they couldn’t leave it unattended in order to supervise our photo-op. We therefore had to wait while the office employee tried to call someone else to oversee us while we take our picture.
After waiting around for some time, we tried to get one of the members to just quickly snap the photo of us so we could move on with our evening. But the person we asked wouldn’t do it! He was afraid to violate the club’s rule.
Finally, over 20 minutes later, one of the security people showed up and supervised the taking of this one photo – a photo of two consenting adults standing in front of an empty lake.
What is the point of this story, you ask? The point is: I think nudist club photography policies are outdated and should change.
Over the years, since we started YNA, I have visited, reviewed and photographed quite a number of nudist clubs and resorts. For the reviews I post, I usually prefer to take my own photos of everything. Why? Mainly because the photos that clubs have on their websites tend to be low-resolution and just plain crappy and boring. (For example, why would someone take promotional website photos of their facilities on a dark and dingy CLOUDY day?)
Unfortunately, most clubs seem to have this photo supervision policy, which just hinders my work. “Do I need management with me even if I just want to take photos of flowers or a lizard?” I ask them. “Yes,” they tell me.
The thing is, there’s an alternative policy that works better for everyone, and it’s simple: Don’t take photos of other people without their consent.
Most people are capable of understanding and following this rule. And if they don’t? The club takes action.
As I see it, there are 4 problems with the outdated supervision policy:
First, it shows how clubs are still treating new people as if they are guilty until proven innocent. Some facilities have been rightly accused of being overly suspicious of newcomers, especially single men. This does not make for a positive, welcoming experience and can easily drive people away.
In reality, based on my world views, once you let people inside the club gates, you have to trust them. You can’t put them on a leash and follow them around to make sure they don’t violate any of the rules (that would be a different kind of club).
Furthermore, I know this consent-based photo rule can work because I know at least one club that uses it and has used it for many years: Rock Lodge Club in New Jersey.
Do they still get a visitor once in a while who breaks the photo rule? Of course, and they deal with it appropriately and swiftly. But I’m betting this does not occur any more frequently than it does at clubs with the supervision rule.
Second, if someone really wants to secretly take nude photos, they can find a way to do it. Thanks to advances in technology, there are some really tiny cameras out there that can be hidden in everyday objects, such as in sunglasses or a pen. (And people have been caught using such devices at nudist places already!)
I don’t say this to generate more paranoia. It’s just to point out that the supervision rule creates a false sense of privacy and protection.
It punishes everyone, instead of just the perpetrators, and it does not even help to deter the creeps one bit. Why should anyone be penalized for taking a photo of consenting adults?
Third, this policy is yet one more issue that keeps nudist clubs and nudism out of the mainstream.
We’re living in the age of social media when it’s so easy to take a photo and share it with thousands of people. By not allowing visitors, especially young adults, to spontaneously take photos and share them online with their friends / followers, we’re further relegating nudism to the hidden corners of the Internet and the world.
There are events such as the big Super Bowl volleyball tournament at White Thorn Lodge where no photography is allowed. I just learned this from a post at the Active Naturists blog, and I agree with the writer that this is a shame.
This week-long tournament is one of the biggest naturist events in the U.S. with hundreds of people and yet it opts out of the opportunity to be shared and documented with thousands of people online. The opportunity to generate more interest, reach more people and get so many new individuals excited about attending these events is lost.
I’m sure there are other tournaments and big events that follow this same policy and they, too, miss out on the opportunity to grow their attendance. Of course some events have official designated photographers, but I’ve noticed that the photos taken usually end up being seen by a very limited audience, if not just naturists themselves. It could make a huge difference for people to be able to take their own photos and share them as the event is happening or later on.
Events aside, it should go without saying that online photo-sharing is great promotion for nudist clubs as well.
Fourth, I can say for certain that people do feel punished by the rule for a crime they haven’t committed (as I did at the beginning of my story).
People naturally want to take photos of themselves, friends and family while they’re having fun at a nudist club. To have to go find someone from the management every time you want to take such a photo can be just plain annoying and frustrating. Not to mention an utter waste of time and resources for the club.
I know people want their privacy. Respecting others’ privacy is very important. I think I should point out that not wanting your photo taken doesn’t mean you’re ashamed to be a nudist. Maybe you tell everyone you know about your nudist weekends, but you don’t want nude photos taken. Or you don’t want any photos taken without your express consent.
Even when people are okay with nude photos in general, most don’t want to be secretly photographed or filmed for a voyeurism website that will profit off their image. (I sure don’t!)
The bottom line is that everyone has a different comfort level and everyone’s privacy should be and needs to be respected.
But with a focus on consent and common sense, I also think we can ensure photo privacy in a much more reasonable and logical way. There is a better middle ground between “NO PHOTOS EVER” and a picture free-for-all.
I’ve been to clubs where they ask you to put electrical tape or a sticker over the lens on the back of your cell phone. (I’m not sure they realize there’s usually a lens on the front, too.) I think this is fine – though it will not hinder a person’s ability to take images in secret. Since people can be sitting around the pool looking at their phones, it’s easy to FEEL LIKE others MAY be secretly filming you even if they’re not. You want everyone to feel safe and comfortable, especially in the crowded areas – so that is one way to go about it.
However it shouldn’t be that big a deal if I want to clearly and obviously take a consensual photo with a friend, especially in a secluded spot where no one else is around. Or if I want to take a photo of flowers or of the pool when no one is in it. Does anyone really need supervision for that?
In conclusion I think it’s time we start to move beyond the overly-cautious, paranoid approach of the 20th century and allow nudism to be more easily documented in the digital age. We can emphasize privacy, respect and consent while still letting people have fun and without turning nudism into a secret, hidden activity.
What do you think, readers? Have you had difficulties with photography at nudist clubs or resorts? Do you think these policies need to change?
Check out my follow-up post: Photography At Nudist Resorts Part Deux
This post about Nudist Pictures and Nudist club photography & selfie policies was published by – Young Naturists and Nudists America