First, a letter which made me laugh.
Second, a letter which almost made me cry.
What will happen to Domai when you are, erm, no longer around? Have you ever thought of this?
It will be a real shame if the website simply stops being updated. Or closes altogether.
I hope you have good plans for the long-term future of Domai! Would you be willing to pass it on to someone else?
Well, finally, I have decided to write to you. You get today a two-in-one mail from me. One part is my story, as a Domai reader, the other is my first submission to Domai as a blossoming photographer. I hope you enjoy both.
My gratitude goes to you for having created this site which has made me more self-confident and inspired as a woman and as a photographer (not professional, but autodidact and passionate photographer). It made me more aware of my own beauty and of the beauty I can capture through the lens.
So here is my story, the story of how I discovered your site three years ago and how much good it did me. I think it is a great thing to share happiness and beauty and the job you are doing is great. You are channeling positive energies through the web.
It was winter-time, November, and the shiny young man I was interested in was not interested in me. We were having very nice discussions, but that was it. I was feeling invisible as a woman as, I had to admit, I always did when attracted to somebody. I kind of started to look at pictures on the web thinking I should learn to be more sexy. Some were funny, some were nasty, but basically not giving much inspiration. Then I bumped into a page explaining the concept of simple nudes with a bunch of links. I followed some links and discovered Domai. I immediately liked the site’s name because it reminded me of an Indonesian word (I'm actually writing a book about Indonesia) and it wasn't until half a year later I found out the actual meaning. I found there so much beauty. So much fun and sunshine in wintertime. Young ladies all naked, climbing on trees, swimming in rivers, flying with umbrellas, so happy and free I had to smile back at them.
I have been taking pictures and drawing since I was 14 so I could really appreciate the aesthetics of the pictures. I could feel there had been a nice communication between the photographer and the model. Actually a lot of pictures were the kind of pictures I liked to take myself. I mean... I had never taken any naked pictures but I especially liked to take portraits. I liked to make people feel really comfortable so that, through the image, a glimpse of their inner beauty might be revealed. I loved to make somehow “true” pictures that people would accept and treasure. So I was feeling very much at home with most of the Domai pictures. I had been making portraits of peoples' faces. These pictures were portraits of the whole body, of the totality of the women.
Looking at Domai, nudity was becoming more and more natural to my eyes. I remember one day I saw women with lingerie on a newspaper advertisement and I felt those pictures so deeply artificial... At that moment, I realized I had become seriously Domai-addicted and that it had changed the way I was looking at nudity.
Somehow a magic started. Looking at those girls on Domai being happy, free and beautiful made me myself feel more and more happy, free and beautiful. It was as if their energy, their glow was coming through the pictures. Somehow, while looking at them, I was them, and they were me and it was also me who was climbing on the tree and swimming in the river. I don’t know how this magic operates but day by day I was going on the site and feeling vitality, flying away from fears and cold. The girls were all shaped different, thin or large, some bigger here or smaller there, with their bodies as personal, unique and beautiful as their faces. By looking at their pictures, nudity was becoming more and more natural, and... maybe it sounds weird, but I was feeling my body more and more belonging to me.
It was part of my personal growth and healing. Actually I am one of those girls who got somehow abused when they were young. I was much luckier than many, I was not raped, nor was I seriously aggressed, but my mum’s second husband kind of tried to be close to me in an explicitly not father-like way. I talked to my mum about the problem once when I was 13. She did not seem to take it seriously, so I did not talk about it any more. Actually, many years later, I got to know that she had taken it seriously and had she known anything had happened again, she would have divorced on the spot. But I did not tell her. Fear brings distrust. So I made myself as small, diplomatic and invisible as I could. I spent a lot of time out of house, and two years later left home.
There is the saying that “What does not kill you makes you stronger.” I think it could be obscene to state it as a general rule. Two girls I know of, one raped by her priest when she was 12, the other by a neighbor when she was 4, never got over it. Maybe the saying does not apply to them because a part of them was actually killed. People having limbs taken by accidents or wars would probably also not like to hear that saying... Actually it is the kind of wisdom that everybody can feel free to apply on one’s situation or not. For me it worked. This story made me more mature, made me start working for money earlier, enjoy more being at school and, later, when my mother divorced, really enjoy being at home. Life gave me a real problem to deal with, and through it I gained the self-confidence to deal with real problems. I met wonderful people on my way but with attractive boys I remained invisible. It was as if I had an integrated alarm system that would switch me off and make me invisible when close to a boy I felt attracted to. The clothes I would wear were for hiding, still afraid of generating attraction.
I would say that Domai was one of my gurus and finally helped me through this, more than ten years after the happenings. The beauty of the girls in the pictures made my body feel more free and shiny. The letters posted on the site were so sweet, conveying a whole philosophy of respect and love for female beauty that I started to feel differently about myself. I started to see myself and other women around me through Domai perspective. It was quite transcendental. I could feel more and more that I was young and beautiful with nothing to hide.
During those four months, November to February, I was checking Domai every day, and it really changed me. By February the guy was still not interested. One day I got fed up with the situation and decided to let it go, not to have hopes any more, it could still be a very nice friendship. That very evening there was a party and I danced feeling young, happy, beautiful and free. That was the moment when he became attracted to me.
Domai changed my way of seeing the body in general. I see more glow and beauty in it than before. I think this site is spreading love, health and peace of mind. May it be blessed.
Forces of intolerance, domination, control and fear alienate us from ourselves. For me, it was one specific threat I experienced, for others it may be other kinds of oppression. I feel that Domai allows people to be more connected with that which they are. Discovering how beautiful and natural the body actually is makes us more aware of human beauty in general, that means getting closer to what we really are. It is a great source of joy, peace and freedom.
As the world is sometimes going mad, inner peace and mental health are most valuable. By the way, in Indonesian, the language of the country I am writing about, “damai” means peace.
So that was my personal love-letter to Domai ! And I mean it truthfully...
And, as a blossoming photographer, I would really love to have my pictures on it!
Actually that dream grew in me when I became Domai-addicted. Domai really inspired me. Without it I don’t know if I would have ever had the self-confidence to ask somebody to pose naked for me. Domai gave me a definite goal, a project, a framework. I was looking for my model in a very shy way for many months until I finally found her. She is a dancer who had been posing for painters and really liked domai when I presented it to her.
At first I was feeling quite weird about being a woman taking pictures of a naked woman. Maybe still the old “hiding-reflex”, feeling that a naked body has to be hidden, even when it is somebody else’s body. But as my model was relaxed and very friendly I too relaxed and could be the photographer, helping her beauty to unfold. I am very happy with the pictures we made! Really. When I looked at them, I was overwhelmed. I was feeling these were the pictures I always wanted to make. It made me more complete as a photographer and as a human being. Through my friend’s beauty caught in those pictures, it was magically also my own beauty that was shining back at me. The beauty of a woman no longer afraid of her own beauty.
I feel that these pictures are my last steps on my path of personal healing, and my first steps on a long road of photography where I would not have ventured without Domai.
Thank you so much, Eolake!