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Topless Ladies in NYC
February 15, 2007 9:16 PM   Subscribe

A Gallery of Topless Women on the Streets of New York (nsfw) - Jordan Matter's photographs are alternately stunning, striking, inspiring, and provocative.
posted by frecklefaerie (60 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a side note, this post led me to look into the topic of Topfreedom - of which NYC is one of the few places in America that allows women to go topless in public areas.
posted by jeresig at 9:29 PM on February 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Love this write-up, thanks frecklefaerie!

I was wondering about that, jeresig - go NYC!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:39 PM on February 15, 2007


Texas? Really. Wow.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was a lot less prudish? Of course, we're still the country of the hoohaw dialogs...
posted by maxwelton at 9:58 PM on February 15, 2007


Cool stuff there, jeresig. Thanks!
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:59 PM on February 15, 2007


3£33717$ |\|¥. ¥0µ® ƒ4\/0®173 (µp $123 $µ)()(0®$!
posted by isopraxis at 10:04 PM on February 15, 2007


Alvy - I was really into the write-ups, myself. Sometimes with personal photos (I'm thinking of that "I like my face" photo/essay link from awhile back) the commentary can seem either too flippant or too arty. In this gallery I found the text to strike the right reverent yet conversive tone.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:09 PM on February 15, 2007


This is beautiful.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:13 PM on February 15, 2007


I ♥ N Y
posted by mazola at 10:37 PM on February 15, 2007


Everything should be this great all the time.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:38 PM on February 15, 2007


Site.... is... so... slow.....
posted by rolypolyman at 10:42 PM on February 15, 2007


There is some fantastic photography in there and equally wonderful write ups. I love photos that seem to have a story and then finding a bit of the story that goes along with it.

And speaking of the topfree movement (a new term for me, btw), I lived in Eugene, Oregon for 12 years where it is legal for women to be topless in public. That right wasn't generally exercised all that often, but sometimes it was to great effect.

Symantec (of Norton antivirus fame) had a big office right downtown. At one point there was a todo where topless women were asked to leave the parking lot or some such and it become a minor cause celebre. Topless women were gathering on the sidewalks and shaking their breasts at the ground floor windows for several days. A truly wonderful sight and almost (but not quite) made me wish I worked for Symantec. I think that an exec from the company finally figured out how to mollify the protesters, acknowledging their legal standing, etc. Then Symantec bolted for a suburban industrial park in the next town over :)

I know it had little to do with the protest, but I think that most large companies just don't know what to do when threatened by womens breasts. A symptom of rotten corporate culture.

Only write up of the incident I could find online was here at CNet
posted by afflatus at 10:50 PM on February 15, 2007


Cool. This should happen more often. People are usually so freaky about the body, which is understandable, but it's nice to get over it. So many surprises, e.g. Asking cop to assist with map. Yeah, the site is soooo slow right now.
posted by Listener at 10:54 PM on February 15, 2007


Boobies!
posted by newfers at 11:07 PM on February 15, 2007


"Striking" really is. There's a lot going on in that picture, and it makes me wonder about the story. Great photography. Great post.
posted by lostburner at 11:16 PM on February 15, 2007


That one dude is going to totally lose that chess game.
posted by wobh at 11:20 PM on February 15, 2007


Dude, speaking of people being freaked out about the body, what's up with this guy?

Awesome stuff, thanks.
posted by equalpants at 11:48 PM on February 15, 2007


Really cool. From the nuts and bolts section:

Bring eight to ten tops, though we won't use that many.
LOL.
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:59 PM on February 15, 2007


What hubris, to think that cloth could ever be more beautiful than the skin.
posted by phrontist at 12:45 AM on February 16, 2007


What hubris, to think that cloth could ever be more beautiful than the skin it covers.
posted by phrontist at 12:45 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


NYC is one of the few places in America that allows women to go topless in public areas.

I'm pretty sure that's a NY state law.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:57 AM on February 16, 2007


I figured they just didn't have enough cops to enforce indecent exposure laws.

I'd like to look at the site, but it's slower than molasses running uphill in an Alaskan December.

The one photo I did see involved a lithe young woman bare-chested in the middle of a light snowstorm. I can't imagine that was very comfortable.
posted by Target Practice at 1:06 AM on February 16, 2007


I remember the day the law went into effect. Tons of bare breasts on the street.

The next day? All clothed and business-as-usual.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:18 AM on February 16, 2007


mazola: "I ♥ N Y"

I ♥ titties.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:01 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


All joking aside, that striking link is absolutely fantastic. Presumably, she's a pregnant doctor, taking a break from her shift on a hot, NY day who has just opened up her jacket to let some cool air in.

Talk about one picture being worth a thousand words -- I immediately wanted to know more about that woman, and not because she has nice baps, but because that combination of high achiever who isn't constrained by social convention is exactly what floats my boat.

However, it's probably a pre-arranged posed shot, and that would be absolutely shit.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:12 AM on February 16, 2007


what's up with this guy?

I think that's Joe Rogan.
posted by Cyrano at 2:32 AM on February 16, 2007


This is awesome. Thanks for the link!
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:42 AM on February 16, 2007


here's the case in 1992 that made it legal-
New York State v Santorelli
posted by bhnyc at 3:06 AM on February 16, 2007


[this is good]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:12 AM on February 16, 2007


All of the blurbs with younger, beautiful women are about how they're too fat to be models and actresses.
All of the blurbs with older, unattractive women are about loving your body.
An interesting pattern.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 3:17 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


(and when I say "all" I mean, you know, most, as a general rule.)
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 3:18 AM on February 16, 2007


*scans for pictures of ThePinkSuperhero, scans for pictures of witchstone

I call bullshit on this project!
posted by ColdChef at 4:09 AM on February 16, 2007


3£33717$

717$ indeed.
posted by emelenjr at 4:31 AM on February 16, 2007


This was very interesting, especially the write-ups. All those wintery shots have left me feeling quite nipply, though.
posted by debralee at 4:57 AM on February 16, 2007


Thanks for the mammaries.
posted by pax digita at 5:39 AM on February 16, 2007


Texas? Really. Wow.

You're legally entitled to go beyond being topfree in Texas:
Under Texas law, indecent exposure is defined as exposing the anus or genitals "with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person ("any person" is often defined as the offender him- or herself). So Austin attorney Stuart Kinard, whom [conceptual artist Katherine] Chronis consulted about her arrest, said that the outcome of her case may depend on whether her anus or labia were actually visible to other people. "I have a very thick bush," said Chronis, "and I was not displaying my genitals in 'a lewd manner.'" As Kinard put it, "That might set her free, because a 36-year-old Eve comes with her own fig leaf."

"The law in this particular case is very simple," concluded Kinard. "No Pink, No Clink."
posted by grouse at 5:43 AM on February 16, 2007


It's legal in Ontario as well but is rarely seen.
posted by dobbs at 5:50 AM on February 16, 2007


Metafilter: No Pink, No Clink
posted by the sobsister at 5:55 AM on February 16, 2007


...or should I say, "no Pink, no Clink?
posted by the sobsister at 5:58 AM on February 16, 2007


I can't tell if its art or just tits. My mind is foggy with a million years of evolutionary impulse.
posted by four panels at 6:07 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pokey site, but great photography. Thanks.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:18 AM on February 16, 2007


Women have been able to go topless in Toronto for a while now, though the only time you see topless women on the streets is during the Gay Pride Parade. Lots of naked dudes too.
posted by chunking express at 6:23 AM on February 16, 2007


Only got to see a few before I got this:

Active Server Pages error 'ASP 0113'

Script timed out

/view.asp

The maximum amount of time for a script to execute was exceeded. You can change this limit by specifying a new value for the property Server.ScriptTimeout or by changing the value in the IIS administration tools.



Still what I got to see was just great. It wasn't porn, just real women living life and trying to be comfortable. This should be nation, it would probably get rid of lot of sexual hangups.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 AM on February 16, 2007


It's timing out for me altogether.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:34 AM on February 16, 2007


So where's the gallery of naked men? Has metafilter descended into porn links now?
posted by agregoli at 6:37 AM on February 16, 2007


RE: Texas: My wife's parents spend the winters in Port Isabel (mainland, across the sound from South Padre Island). As they drive down S. Padre beach towards their favorite fishing spot, they go through a large section marked off as a nude beach. You need 4WD to get there most days, but it is there and quite legal.

From what I saw of the nude beach when we went fishing with them, I can conclude that the real issue with nudity in the US is that most of the people who want to be nude seem to be the ones we'd rather not see naked.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:57 AM on February 16, 2007


I can conclude that the real issue with nudity in the US is that most of the people who want to be nude seem to be the ones we'd rather not see naked.

No, the real issue is thinking that naked people should all look alike. It's about screwed up standards of beauty.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I met Jordan a couple of years ago. Actually, my wife met him first. She's an actress, and she went to him to get new headshots taken. During the shoot, they got to talking about his "topless" project. Without thinking about what she was saying, my wife blurted out, "I'll volunteer for that." To which Jordan immediately replied, "Okay, how about tomorrow morning?" To which my wife replied, "gulp!"

The next morning was one of the most interesting days of my life. I tagged along to provide moral support and to see the antics.

Before going, I'd skeptically thought Jordan was a perv who had found a good angle to get women to take their tops off. But I quickly became convinced that he wasn't like that at all. His interest is vulnerability -- a great subject for a photographer. Though it's true that in NYC, it's legal for women to be topless in public, few women ever actually take their shirts off. So when Jordan gets a woman to do this, she's suddenly very vulnerable, and the photo either captures her raw vulnerability or her attempts to cover it with bravado or whatever. In either case, the results are interesting.

I asked him about that other photographer (I forget his name), the one that gets hundreds of people to take their clothes off in a public space. Jordan wasn't a big fan of that guy's work, because it seemed too posed to him.

Jordan doesn't like a posed look, and he took pains to get my wife to lose herself in activities and forget that she was being photographed. At the same time, he did "pose" the background, which is actually his main concern while shooting.

His method was always to pick a background first. While doing this, he didn't want my wife in the frame at all. He would walk from place to place until he found a building or street he liked. When he finally found it -- and chose an angle from which to shoot -- he would add my wife in, with her top on at first -- and get her involved in some activity that placed her in the scene (smoking, drinking coffee, reading, etc.) After a while, he would signal me (I was standing near her) to ask her to hand me her shirt. Once she did, I would leave the frame. Then she would stand there for a while -- often five or ten minutes -- continuing to engage in the activity, while Jordan snapped pictures.

While snapping, he would still focus his attention on the background -- the people walking by, the pigeons, etc. He admitted to me that he often doesn't really look at the model until he was back in his studio, checking things out in photoshop.

The social aspect is what fascinated me the most: watching how other people reacted. This is New York, so of course I saw every sort of reaction, including none. Some people just walked by, seemingly bored by yet another piece of New York craziness that they had to deal with on the way to the office. A very small number of people were noticeably offended. (One dad pushed his small boy past us as quickly as possible, muttering something like "not very amusing.")

Many people were curious and asked what we were doing. And, of course, there were a lot of guys who ogled. And, since this day-and-age is this day-and-age, many of the oglers had cellphones with cameras in them, and they snapped away. At one point, Jordan moved really far away from us, so there was no one obviously taking my wife's photo. She was just standing there, topless, smoking a cigarette, and suddenly about thirty guys surrounded her and started taking her picture. It was like a swarm of flies.

After the shoot, when my wife looked at the photos, she got upset. She wasn't at all bothered by her bare breasts. She thought -- and this was so prosaic and everyday that it broke my heart -- that she looked fat. Of course, she didn't. She looked lovely. But she reacted the way almost every girl I've ever known has reacted when seeing herself in a photo.
posted by grumblebee at 7:22 AM on February 16, 2007 [21 favorites]


mazola: "I ♥ N Y"

PeterMcDermott: I ♥ titties.


What I meant to say was:

I ♥ N Y  ( o Y o )
posted by mazola at 8:42 AM on February 16, 2007


[I can conclude that the real issue with nudity in the US is that most of the people who want to be nude seem to be the ones we'd rather not see naked.]

[No, the real issue is thinking that naked people should all look alike. It's about screwed up standards of beauty.
posted by Brandon Blatcher ]


I agree with the self-image thing, but, like alcohol, there's a forbidden aspect to nudity that makes (some) people crave it / react to it. A year in France at the age of 13 got me used to the sight (on TV, no less, to promote things like OJ).

When I moved to NYC, I was struck by the sheer volume of sexy advertising. It took a little while to acclimate, but now I don't even notice anymore. (topless woman smoking on street would turn my head, though)
posted by Busithoth at 8:56 AM on February 16, 2007


*scans for pictures of ThePinkSuperhero, scans for pictures of witchstone

I call bullshit on this project!


Gee, ColdChef, I'm, uh, touched?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


My mind is foggy with a million years of evolutionary impulse.

Indeed. A limbic system is a terrible burden sometimes, especially when putatively attempting useful, billable activity.
posted by pax digita at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2007


afflatus writes "I think that most large companies just don't know what to do when threatened by womens breasts. A symptom of rotten corporate culture. "

I'd bet they are often worried about getting sued for creating a hostile work environment.

dobbs writes "It's legal in Ontario as well but is rarely seen."

Better than that it is specifically legal in BC, Manitoba and Ontario and in theory legal across all of Canada for women to go topless anywhere a man would be permitted to do so.
posted by Mitheral at 10:27 AM on February 16, 2007


Gee, ColdChef, I'm, uh, touched?

I'm sorry if that was offensive. Here's a nude picture of me as my way of saying, "Sorry."
posted by ColdChef at 10:42 AM on February 16, 2007


"I'd bet they are often worried about getting sued for creating a hostile work environment."

I'd have to wonder - who would sue because of nude women outside? I can't think of a single guy that would.

It's too bad that things are that way.
posted by drstein at 1:57 PM on February 16, 2007


Dammit, all youse browsers done buried the server. How'm I sposed to dig on teh b00bz0rz from work, anyway?

Why you I oughtta...
posted by zoogleplex at 4:04 PM on February 16, 2007


Coralized Link which means, cache for your boobie aficionados.
posted by elpapacito at 5:50 PM on February 16, 2007


> > *scans for pictures of ThePinkSuperhero, scans for pictures of witchstone

> > I call bullshit on this project!

> Gee, ColdChef, I'm, uh, touched?

ITYM "stalked", HTH!
posted by davy at 6:10 PM on February 16, 2007


I asked him about that other photographer (I forget his name), the one that gets hundreds of people to take their clothes off in a public space.

Spencer Tunick.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:31 PM on February 16, 2007


Bright lights, big titties.

I apologize.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 10:59 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


No wonder NY real estate is so high
posted by Count at 11:00 PM on February 16, 2007


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