I’m a great fan of Ray Harris and his blog Novel Activist, which includes not only ongoing commentary on children in art from a position identical to my own, but also excerpts from his novels and his photographs from counterculture events he has attended. I see in his photographs children who are happy and free, mentally and emotionally healthy youngsters not weighed down by the body guilt and sexual paranoia that many modern kids are cursed to live with. Growing up in rural America in the 1970s, I experienced some of that joy, in the sense of being allowed to ramble freely in around the woods and backroads where I lived. However, I only got half of the experience. Unlike the hippie children in Harris’s photos, me, my sister and my cousins were made to keep our clothes on, at least after we started school. Boys and girls did not bathe or change together. Nor did we skinny dip or frolic in the cool mud wearing nothing but smiles. I really feel that we missed out there, and I’m a little saddened by it.
Novel Activist (I give this one my highest recommendation.)
From Doug on March 12, 2012
beautiful little girl, with or without her clothes
” I really feel that we missed out there, and I’m a little saddened by it.”
I agree with you; you DID miss out.
Growing up in the 70s in a fairly rural area, my sisters and I were often allowed out on the back porch or lawn wearing nothing. We had a pool that my Dad had installed and I don’t think any of us wore bathing suits in there as kids.
Ironically my parents knew that other families were not as liberal and when we had friends over, we often had to stay dressed, even in the pool.
This sort of had the effect as kids of planting in our heads the idea that being naked outside was not something other people did and that we were doing something ‘weird’
However, eventually we just realised that it was more a question of ‘different strokes for different folks’ and in fact, we managed to introduce a couple friends (and their mother in one case) to the joys of skinny dipping in the pool.
My sisters and I have tried to instill in our kids that your body is your body, whether it’s thin or not so thin, if you have freckles or moles in strange places or whatever…
Sadly, Novel Activist is down. Is there another site where one may find his photographs?
If you will check out the last couple of Maiden Voyages posts, you will see that we have permission to reprint Harris’ articles that are relevant to this site. We are currently looking for someone who may have downloaded the site near the end with intact images. Otherwise, we will rerelease relevant items from existing archives and those images that still appear on the internet. -Ron