Books on Nakedness and Nudity
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Lee Baxandall - Lee Baxandall's World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts
- This is the comprehensive and definitive guide to accepted public
clothing-optional beaches and sunbathing areas. Many U. S. resorts
affiliated with The Naturist Society are also listed. The guide is
heavily illustrated with high-quality naturist photography and is
a must-have for naturists. Keep it on the coffee table as a
can't-miss conversation starter. Also makes a great gift for anyone
who might open-mindedly consider naturism.
AANR - North American Guide to Nude Recreation
- AANR (The American Association for Nude Recreation) is the
primary organization for members and owners of nudist/naturist
camps, clubs, and resorts in the U. S. Most such facilities of any
size are affiliated with the AANR, so their Guide is an almost
complete directory of private locations for nude recreation.
As such, it is almost entirely complementary to Baxandall's guide,
and equally essential for those interested in private facilities.
World Naturist Guide 1996-1997
- The International Naturist Federation is the umbrella organization
for national naturist/nudist organizations around the world. This is
their guide book, and it's the most comprehensive guide available that
covers the whole world. (The Baxandall and AANR guides are better
for North America alone.) The book is full of maps and directions
to resorts, parks, beaches, and organizations.
Bill Kaysing, Ruth Kaysing - Great Hot Springs of the West
- Hot Springs tend to represent a very different sort of experience
from beaches. Whether or not they are clothing optional (and most which
aren't commercially operated are), they are usually located in remote
places and are not easily accessed without some effort. Consequently,
crowds are rare, so peace and solitude are the norm. The Kaysings'
guide covers all the U. S. west of the Rockies, so it's selective and
presents only the "best", which leads to a greater emphasis on
commercially developed springs. There are also detailed maps
indicating the locations of many springs which are not described
in the guide.
Marjorie Gersh-Young - Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Southwest
- The original of this guide first appeared in 1979 under the
authorship of Jayson Loam. Loam, who died in 1994, was a dedicated hot
springs enthusiast who, previously known as Stan Sohler, had been
a leader of the "free beach" movement and
president of the American Sunbathing Association (now the AANR). The
guide has gone through several editions and covers, in two volumes,
the same territory as Kaysing's book, but lists many more locations.
Many maps and pictures are included.
Marjorie Gersh-Young - Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Northwest
- This half of the Gersh-Young guide covers Oregon, Washington,
Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.
Matt Bischoff - Touring California and Nevada Hot Springs
- Here's a guide to consider if you want something more focused on
California and Nevada. It's about the same length as the other guides
listed here, but somewhat more detailed within its area of coverage.
83 locations are listed.
Phil Owensby - Sun 'n' Soak: Clothing Optional Naturally
- Yet another hot springs guide book. This one is about locations in
the Northwestern U. S. - and it has an explicitly naturist orientation.
The author represents that he has swum, soaked, or sunbathed nude
at every location listed. Also, unlike most of the other hot springs
guides listed here, this one has color photos. It even has its own
Pancho Doll - Day Trips With a Splash: The Swimming Holes of California
- A popular alternative to hot springs for people who like water and
nature is the old-fashioned "swimming hole" located (usually) in a
river or stream in a remote
mountainous setting. Apparently, however, only recently has a decent
guide to such locations in California been published, and this is it.
Over 100 swimming holes are described. Detailed maps and a helpful
rating system make it easy to pick a destination that's best for you.
An attractive feature of the guide is an indication of how much
privacy you can expect, just in case you plan to enjoy the water
naturally. You can get a very good idea of the book at the author's
Chris Santilli - The Naked Truth About Hedonism II
Hedonism II, an "all-inclusive" resort in Negril, Jamaica, is
the best-known bad-boy of the naturist world. It is not a
naturist resort - many guests don't even get especially nude
in public. But many naturists who appreciate both nudity and more of
a party atmosphere than is found at true naturist resorts love it.
This funny, uninhibited - and unauthorized - guide explains why.
The author's Web site is
Western United States Nudist Park and Resort Guide
- There's not much information on this title. Do you like to gamble?
Paul Penhallow - Living Naked and Frugal: A Handbook for Parsimonious Nudity
- College professor Robert Holm, AKA Paul Penhallow, retired early
from his teaching job and took up a frugal, nomadic life made possible,
in part, by eschewing clothes. Even if frugality doesn't appeal to you,
perhaps living more simply does. In any case, this very short book can
be read quickly and will serve as a fine introduction to living simply
Dennis Craig Smith, William Sparks - Growing Up Without Shame: Social Nudity and its Effect on Children
- This is an essential book for people who are living a clothes-free
lifestyle or merely curious about it. The book deals with the controversial
subject of the effect of nudity on children. It provides a great deal of
evidence that nudity, as practiced by people living a naturist/nudist
lifestyle, is not only not harmful to children, but offers many
Paul Abelman - Beyond Nakedness
- In only a little more than 100 pages Abelman provides an erudite and
entertaining survey of the history and sociology of nudity around the
world. Read this book to gain a perspective on how people in other times
and places have had a much more tolerant attitude towards nudity than
what is common now in North America. Some of the details presented
may come in very handy when discussing nudity with skeptical friends and
Ed Lange, Stan Sohler - Nudist Magazines of the 50s & 60s, Book 1
- Anthony Comstock was an earlier incarnation of today's intolerant
religious zealots intent on dictating how everyone should live their
private lives. He died in 1915 and left an ugly legacy known at the
Comstock Act, which outlawed many forms of free speech as "obscenity".
Though it was enacted more than 100 years ago, it was never repealed.
Until several important court decisions in the 1950s it was
used successfully by the government to suppress (among other things)
legitimate nudist publications. Once free of government censorship,
nudist magazines and the U. S. nudist movement itself blossomed in the
50s and 60s. These selections from the periodicals of the time are
still enlightening and informative for their earnest and
enthusiastic portrayal of nudist philosophy and lifestyle - an
enthusiasm which is hard to recreate in today's more cynical age.
Ed Lange, Stan Sohler - Nudist Magazines of the 50s & 60s, Book 2
- The second volume of this series has useful historical
articles. An especially good article, from well before the 50s (1934), was
written by an outsider. Other articles deal with nudity among the
ancient Etruscans, an early protest demonstration on behalf of nude beaches
in San Francisco, and prudery in England. There's also an article by
Aldous Huxley's widow on dancing naked to music.
Ed Lange - Nudist Magazines of the 50s & 60s, Book 3
- The third volume of the series is mainly about nudism in Europe.
The first article, however, covers an important 1958 court decision
that overturned indecent exposure convictions of nudists at a Michigan
camp. Other articles deal with France, Germany, Denmark, and
Ed Lange - Nudist Magazines of the 50s & 60s, Book 4
- The fourth volume has a mixture of articles from the 60s. One
is by Donald Johnson (pseudonym of John
Ball) on his extensive nudist library. Other articles deal with
nudism and nature, free beaches, body painting, and nudism in
southern France (before the development of Cap d'Agde).
David Sedaris - Naked
- Sedaris is a humorist, and most of the chapters in his book of
autobiographical sketches have
nothing to do with nudity per se. They are, however, extremely funny,
and most of the humor is at the expense of himself or other family
members. "Naked", the title chapter and the last one in the book, is
about the author's visit to a nudist camp. Curiosity, and perhaps
a humorist's instinct for finding a topic to inspire him, drove him
to visit the camp. After a week there, however, he was reluctant to
leave: "Clothing was no longer optional. Now it was mandatory, and I
found myself resenting it." You will be well-rewarded to get the book
for the humor. But you'll finish it up with insights like this:
"Nudism didn't cause me to love my body, it simply allowed me to
accept my position in what is clearly the scheme of things."
Emily Jenkins - Tongue First: Adventures in Physical Culture
- Contemplating Jenkins' project that is the subject of this book, one
is reminded of Thoreau's "I went to the woods because I wished to live
deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I
could not learn what it had to teach." Only in the present case, the
author says, "Working on this project, I went into things tongue
first. To see how they tasted." The project here is to
learn about how a human body lives and experiences the world at a
basic sensory level. Jenkins' quest leads her through a
diversity of raw experiences, including drugs, sensory deprivation,
body modifications, tattoos, sex, fetishism, spa treatments, public
baths, yoga, rolfing, physical fitness, and - nude beaches. In spite
of a family tradition of skinny-dipping, the author fell a little
short of attaining satori from going naked at the beach. But it's
instructive to ponder a bit on the observations of an outsider
who perspective is not that of orthodox naturism. Be sure to visit
for more information on and excerpts from the book.
Lawrence Langner - The Importance of Wearing Clothes
- Most people in the developed world today take for granted
"the importance of wearing clothes," and hardly even think about it.
Langner, however, wondered (for example), "Why do we wear clothes
in the broiling heat of summer?" The author's project is to find
answers that justify this "importance" rather than disproving it.
But he does give an interesting history of clothing and fashion
through most of recorded history. There is a chapter on "Clothes
and Nudism". Langner's conclusions in that chapter
probably summarize pretty well the common attitudes
of clothing-compulsive society, for instance that nudity robs
"human beings of their dignity of office and the authority which is
imparted to them by their clothes." This attitude could just
as well be taken as evidence of the unimportance of wearing
clothes. Even so, the author acknowledegs that "we are indebted to
the nudists for emphasizing the importance of removing [clothes]
from time to time for our physical and spiritual well-being."
Ashley Montagu - Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin
- Montagu is one of the most distinguished anthropologists of this
century (or any, for that matter). He has also written positively of
nudism. In this book he considers "the skin as a tactile organ very
much involved, not alone physically but also behaviorally, in the
developement of the organism." Although he says relatively little
directly about nudism here, the importance of our skins, which he
thoroughly documents, supports a conclusion that we lose a great
deal if our skin is always mostly covered. "Clothes largely cut off
the experience of pleasurable sensations from the skin. ...
Natural skin stimulation, the play of air, sun, and wind on the body,
can be very pleasurable."
James Hunter, William Davis, Donald Kroitzsch - The Curiosity Book
- We live in a society where nudity is a taboo and most children are
not taught to feel positively about their own bodies. Children's
natural curiosity about the bodies of others is, at best, a cause for
nervousness and, at worst, strongly discouraged. Are you a parent who's
worried about this? If so, then this book may be a big help. According
to the publishers, it "unabashedly shows how people look to satisfy a
child's natural curiosity about human bodies: young & old; boy & girl;
man & woman; black & white; large and small." They further describe it
as "an owner's manual on positive body
awareness for young children and their caregivers. It is simply
written for use by adults with children - full of photos - written so
parents can insert their own family values." Check their
Web site for
Gordon Gill - Recreational Nudity and the Law
- Would you be tempted to enjoy the world of nature outdoors, sans
clothing, at beaches, hot springs, swimming holes, or forest trails
except for a concern about the legal implications? In fact, there are
probably far fewer laws specifically against simple public nudity than
you might suppose, but laws do differ drastically from place to place.
You certainly wouldn't want to face the
embarassment and legal repercussions of not knowing what the actual
rules are. This book can give you the facts to let you relax - safely -
about outdoor nude recreation. It presents abstracts of 101 cases
dealing with recreational nudity and how they were handled in the
Jock Sturges - The Last Day of Summer
- Sturges, of course, is the enormously talented and (to some anyhow)
highly controversial photographer whose eloquent work has created
passionate admirers and equally passionate enemies. This is his first
published book. Most of his subjects are naturists, pictured in their
natural habitat, on the beaches of Montalivet in France and the rivers
of northern California. Of the various kinds of "nude photography",
Sturges' specialty is the image that primarily explores the personality
of his subjects, rather than their "sensuousness" or abstract shape or
symbolic meanings. But it isn't about individuals alone. The relatedness
of the subjects to each other and to the viewer is also emphasized.
As Jayne Anne Phillips says in her introductory essay, "Jock Sturges'
photographs center on the self as cosmology, on the world as elemental
home to that self."
Jock Sturges - Radiant Identities
- This is Sturges' second book. The subject matter is much the same as
the first - after all, it is timeless and not really capable of being
exhausted. It is all the more timeless because the subjects, often
unclothed and in natural places, could be from almost any time, any
place. The introductory essay by Elizabeth Beverly is titled "Inhabiting
the open air". There are almost no pictures taken indoors, much less in
a studio. The emphasis is on openness. But as Beverly says, the "setting
is more than just the land; it is the culture in which [the subjects]
are photographed. Most live in communities that celebrate the quieter
virtues: family companionship, an appreciation of natural beauty, a
timely embrace of leisure." The most important fact is noted that each
picture is not merely the photographer's work, but a real collaboration
between photographer and subject. Sturges' subjects speak in body
language, but when they express themselves in words, they say things
like "In this life, we're stuck in bodies and it isn't always easy.
Sometimes I like my body, at other times I don't. But I'm always in it,
and others always see me in it. Of course, as a woman, I want to claim
myself, to grow more comfortable in my skin."
Jock Sturges - Jock Sturges
- The third of Sturges' books is a larger retrospective. The arrangement
of the photographs is generally chronological, which is highly
significant. Over 15 years of Sturges' work is presented. In most cases,
the images of each subject are in chronological order. Time and
change, metamorphosis, is one of the things his work is about. Growth and
maturation. Sturges has remained close to his subjects and now photographs
the families of subjects who were children when he met them. We have the
opportunity to see the adult-to-be in the child, and the child-that-was
in the adult. Because the personalities are as revealed as the bodies,
we see that "growing up" is not without its misgivings, but is not to
be avoided either.
Julianna FreeHand - Elizabeth's Dream: A Photographic Tapestry of Woman
- Elizabeth's Dream takes Sturges' project of depicting
growth and metamorphosis to its logical conclusion, embracing the
whole life cycle: child, young woman, wife, mother, elder. It is also
a higly unusual work - printed in a fanfold rather than a conventional
bound book. The subjects of all ages are entirely - and
appropriately - naked. The black and white images were taken with
infrared film, which creates a distinctly surreal effect - dreamlike,
as the title implies. This is a very feminist work that uses both its
medium and nudity to convey the message. In the photographer's words,
"Infrared film lends itself to a study of woman because it conveys a
sense of the emotional veil with which she clothes the nakedness of
her relationships." It is also a deeply naturist book, because it
stresses how there is no real distinction between the self and the body.
One of the older women who was a subject discovered this through her
participation: "I suddenly realized that this body I'd been denying
Laurie Edison - Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes
- Edison't book is a feminist photographic essay on the body, but as
different from Elizabeth's Dream as can be imagined. Social
prejudices against fat people in general, and fat women in particular,
are widespread and strongly entrenched, in spite of decades of
progress to overcome prejudices affecting many other minority
groups. This book tackles the problem head on by presenting its
subjects as people first, through powerful fine art photographs.
Check here for more
about the book,
here for an interview from N magazine with Laurie Edison,
and here for the
photographer's own Web site.
Howard Schatz - Waterdance
- This is a book about dance rather than naturism. Except that the
subjects, both men and women, are mostly naked. All are professional
dancers photographed underwater. They are therefore weightless and
reflect our dreams in which we fly naked, unencumbered by either
gravity or clothes - the ultimate in freedom. As Isadora Duncan, one
of the greatest dancers of all time, explained: "The noblest art is
the nude. ... the instrument of the [dance art] is the human body itself."
This work is a breakthrough about "life after gravity". And after
Edna Bullock - Edna's Nudes
- Wynn Bullock was one of the century's great photographers, in the
same league as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Like Weston, he was
celebrated in part for his work with nudes. It turned out that,
after his death, his wife Edna also achieved considerable mastery in
photography of "the nude". Wynn's nudes were, like Weston's, more about
abstract form and beauty than what one could call "naturist" in theme.
Edna's nudes in this book, likewise, represent a number of styles and
themes, a great diversity in fact. The ones which are not "naturist"
often feature models in stiff, unnatural, though "artistic" poses, or
in contexts involving humor or irony. On the other hand, a considerable
portion present their subjects in relaxed poses and natural settings.
These well deserve to be called "naturist".
Richard Lorenz, Imogen Cunningham - Imogen Cunningham: On the Body
- Imogen Cunningham, who died in 1976 at the age of 93, was one of
the great photographers of this century. Like most great artists, she
dealt brilliantly with many subjects. But "the nude" was always one
of her favorites, beginning with a nude self-portrait in 1906 at age
23, and moving on to frolicsome portraits of her new husband, nude, on
Mt. Rainier in 1915 (which were considered quite scandalous). Many of
these nude studies, including her self portrait, are unquestionably
naturist and deal with people of all ages and conditions.
Greg Friedler - Naked New York
- Do clothes make a difference? What do ordinary people look like
naked, under their clothes? Might we form a different idea of a person's
nature if we could see them naked? Questions like this motivated
Friedler to create a series of side-by-side portraits of a cross-section
of New Yorkers. In one image each is dressed normally and in the other
the subject is naked. Most, probably, are not nudists, nor is the
photographer. But his outlook is similar: "I photographed each person
clothed and naked in order to show the two sides of the same person,
the public as well as the private. The clothed version is only part
of the truth. ... Nakedness, on the other hand, reveals people the
way they are."
Kenneth Clark - The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form
- Art historian Kenneth Clark is as famous for his survey of
Civilization as for this study of one of civilization's most
noteworthy accomplishments: the apperception our own corporeal form
through "art". One of the functions of art is to explain us to
ourselves. Clark's study of the history of the nude in art through
the centuries introduces us to a variety of concepts which "the nude"
has come to represent for us, such as energy, pathos, and ecstasy.
This is a masterful work, and falls short of being "definitive" only
because it's not possible to write the "final word" on this particular
Gill Saunders - The Nude: A New Perspective
- From the book: "Since Kenneth Clark's major study, The Nude,
appeared in 1956, value changes and social changes (influenced
particularly by the rise of feminism), as well as aesthetic and
technological developments in painting and photography, have
produced new attitudes to the role and meaning of the naked body in
art." The author, an art expert and a woman, brings a feminist
perspective to the theory of "the nude" in art. This is a very welcome
addition to the traditional male point of view, but it is definitely
not an anti-nudity perspective. She points out that there is a real
problem in the overwhelming predominance of the representation of
female vs. male nudity in art of the last few centuries. Yet her
own attitude is more like that of the Greeks, in which "the nude,
apart from its celebration of physical beauty, expressed the nobility
and potential of the human spirit." And she hails the efforts of
contemporary female artists who are "exploring ways of reinvesting the
nude with a sense of women's experience of sex and the body."
Several of the other books listed here are perfect examples of this.
Robbert Broekstra - Robbert Broekstra's Nude World
- Broekstra is a Dutch photographer who has been a naturist for
over 30 years. About half the book is a documentary of naturist
activities in his native country. The other half is a whirlwind tour
of naturist sites in almost every other country where naturism has
a significant following, except for the U. S.
Richard West - Canada Naturally: The Book
- What do nudists do all day at a nudist camp or park? This is
something that more than a few non-nudists wonder about, if they
think about the subject at all. West, a Canadian, naturist, and
photographer, shows us. The answer: quite a variety of things from
swimming, to games, to tending their gardens, to getting married,
to just relaxing. Along the way one gets a good tour of naturist
club and resort opportunities in Canada.
Ed Lange - Fun in the Sun: Nudist and Naturist Living
- One of a series of photo books by the late Ed Lange of Elysium Fields.
In addition to many classic (pre-1970) naturist pictures it contains
brief essays on nudist/naturist ideals and principles and answers to
commonly asked questions. There are also
some interesting magazine-style articles, such as "The Psychology
of Clothes" and "The Brave Nude World of Gustav Vigeland" (about the
Vigeland Sculpture Park, a 75-acre park in Oslo full of nude sculpture).
Ed Lange - Family Naturism in America: A Nudist Pictorial Classic
- One of a series of photo books by the late Ed Lange of Elysium Fields.
Although it's mainly intended as a collection of classis (pre-1970)
naturist pictures, there is some text sketching the history of nudism
and naturism in the U. S.
Ed Lange - 'N' is for Naked
- One of a series of photo books by the late Ed Lange of Elysium Fields.
This is a somewhat lightweight collection of classic (pre-1970)
nudist/naturist pictures organized as an "ABC" book.
Ed Lange - Nudist Nudes
- Long before he became deeply involved in organized nudism and in
operating his Elysium Fields resort, Ed Lange was a successful
commercial photographer. But nudist subjects were always a large
part of his work. This book is a collection of black and white
nudist photography he did through the mid-1960s.
Copyright © 1997-8, All Rights Reserved
Last updated: November 12, 1998