Censorship on Twitter (or how to post nudity without losing your account!)

Nude male in the environment

A nude self portrait from my open access project http://www.scottyh.com/open-access

Yes, I publish photos of naked people on the internet and on Twitter. Often self portraits, I like to be in control of what I present to an audience and I do not like to be censored by anyone but myself. In deciding what I publish I consider my audience carefully and the conditions set out by the owners of any publishing platform. I do this because after all my time investment I do not want to lose that audience – I am also aware that many in that audience would not want to lose me.

One purpose of this blog and my tweeting is to promote the freedom to be naked in as many places as possible and prod those who feel reluctant to expose themselves to feel comfortable naked in front of others. While being vehemently anti-censorship, what I am not doing is running an anti-censorship campaign. If I were, then one possible and quite legitimate strategy for me would be to run a campaign of disobedience of the rules to get myself banned. But that is not what I am about. I do not wish to be banned.

Twitter allow me to play in their space and I have no wish to abuse that privilege. And why should I feel aggrieved anyway? After all, when it comes to naked human beings, there is nothing that I create that Twitter would not permit me to publish. What is more, although I do not follow such accounts, it seems Twitter is in fact tolerant of the publication of all but illegal pornography, so it more than meets my anti-censorship principles.

Unfortunately, despite what I have just said, people publishing harmless non-sexual nudity manage to get their Twitter accounts suspended! If you are here to participate in the regular promotion of the naturist lifestyle, foster followers and stay connected then it is more than a little careless to lose your account.

There are two basic rules to follow to steer your content safely through the sometimes highly strung world of Twitter:

  1. Do not include nudity in your profile pic or banner image.
  2. Mark any tweets including nudity as ‘sensitive’.

Rule 1. is of critical importance.

My own banner image twitter.com/allablur includes nudity – Twitter’s rule is that you “may not use pornographic or excessively violent media in your profile image or header image”. Be sensible – do not test Twitter’s interpretation of what is pornographic by needlessly posting a conventional naturist image that contains genitals or even breasts. While not pornographic, because such images are projected into another context (twitter users’ following and followers lists) then such images may be put in front of prude users who have their ‘sensitive media’ filter turned on to avoid nudity in tweets. You will eventually get reported and then things are left somewhat to chance in the hands of a twitter administrator who may be pre-disposed towards preventing nudity being put in front of those who have elected not to see it.

Following Rule 2. is less important – the worst that can happen for infringing Rule 2. is that you can get the sensitive media setting imposed on you through Twitter forcing all your content to be marked as such.

I know that what I have written here throws up some queries. So here are some supplementary questions that I find being put by naturists on twitter…

1. What on earth is ‘sensitive media’?

Unlike the rules for profile images, https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169199  refers to nudity rather than pornography:

“By appropriately marking your media settings, Twitter can identify potentially sensitive content that others users may not wish to see, such as violence or nudity. If you intend to regularly post such content, we request that you adjust your media setting.”

2. There is pornography appearing in my stream, how do I get it deleted?

If not marked as sensitive, then you may report it. You will need to turn off your “Do not inform me before showing media that may be sensitive” setting to find out if it is marked or not. This action will get the image marked as ‘sensitive’ but not necessarily removed from twitter.

If the publisher already marked it as sensitive, again you can report it – but since it is probably published within Twitter’s rules they are unlikely to take any action. They may well suggest that if offended you simply stop following that account, which is what I would suggest too!

3. There is pornography on Twitter, how do I get it deleted?

With great difficulty given Twitter’s current stance. If it offends you don’t go looking for it!

4. Some people are posting pornography while pretending to be naturists hence hence associating naturism with sexual activity. How can I stop that?

This seems to be of concern to many. I would suggest that you think carefully about giving them the oxygen of publicity by calling them out for what they do. Like it or not there are far more people surfing the internet looking for porn than looking for innocent naturist pics – a consequence of your actions is that you are sending more followers in their direction.

Assuming that they have sensible profile and banner images, there is still one route that may be open. Many such profiles entirely consist of stolen images so you can go after them for copyright infringement – see https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311. For example, one account promoting one interpretation of naturism that publishes occasional porn carries the profile image of an actress. I doubt that it is actually that actress producing the tweets so if concerned she could get in touch with her photographer who would be in position to take action.

Rules are different on facebook but I have had somebody’s facebook account removed for using a photo I took of a friend as her profile image. The snag is that it is the photographer who normally has to pursue such claims and the process can be convoluted.

5. What if I don’t change my sensitive media setting when posting nudes?

See https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169199. You may get a warning and you may have your default setting changed for you but you are most unlikely to be banned.

6. Where do I find Twitter’s rules?



7. How do I change my sensitive media settings?

Go to the ‘Tweet Media’ heading in the ‘Content’ section of your ‘Profile and Settings’. On a standard twitter web page, this is got at by clicking on your profile image at the top right.

Good luck, and unless you are shallow, insincere and exploitative publisher of photos of individuals enjoying what they assumed was private nudity, don’t get banned!





Nudity in the locker room; is prudery taking over?

Eighteen years ago I wrote this in an online diary….


A flashback within a flashback, so you actually need to add 18 to 11 to work out what year this described – 1987. And just to emphasise, this was a very busy, totally mainstream, Toronto health club, not anything in any way off beat.

Fast forward ten years, back in the UK, to when I was a member of a local health club in Surrey. With squash courts, a swimming pool, gym, bar and studio spaces for yoga etc, this was an equally up market affair. As in Toronto, the locker room had lovely wooden lockers, a communal shower area with no screens and a steam room. You would not be able to tell whether anybody might be a naturist or even an exhibitionist for everybody was naked. Nudity was normal.

Fast forward to Brighton in the present day. An extremely popular 24 hour gym full of fit young things, most with bodies to envy. Here the shower room is fitted out with prefabricated cubicles, each with a single shower head and a lockable door. Few men at any stage seem to be naked. Some are going for showers but at least half are heading there and back wearing damp underpants. Most of the remainder walk with a towel around their waist and then perform an inelegant ‘towel dance’ to maintain their modesty while getting dressed.

What is the message to me and how does it make me behave? I may be unconcerned about being nude but I am also not somebody who particularly wants to stand out in a crowd. So I walk to the shower and back carrying my towel in front of me, trying to be nonchalant and modest; I do not want to be considered brazen, although some might see me this way. In getting dressed I could be seen naked but not for long. I’m consciously making a point in a low key way with that being naked is no big deal. But I am very conscious of my nakedness, almost uncomfortable.

My self-consciousness of all this is borne out of my interest in people’s attitudes to nudity. Most of those there in that room will probably not be thinking about such things – but the majority are sub-consciously reinforcing on each other, that nudity is not OK, that the social norms that apply on a clothed beach should apply in that locker room. As somebody who thinks that we would all be better off if nudity was normalised in a greater range of locations, this is dispiriting. What hope a clothing optional environment on a mixed beach if a single sex locker room is becoming a nudity free zone? Where will be left outside naturist venues where people see other people naked?

Why is there this apparent change in attitudes? The large chains of gyms and health clubs in switching to private shower cubicles are probably doing so because they think the lack of private space might lose them precious signatures. So their financial insecurity feeds individuals’ body insecurity and the vicious circle continues. Some public swimming pools and even grander venues such as Bath Thermae Spa already have mixed sex changing facilities with cramped individual cubicles and we may see more  of that.

Now, to argue against this change is difficult. In today’s knee jerk environment, an easy response for many would be to could cast one as a voyeur or exhibitionist, or both. But this is important. If people in general do not get to see other people naked in real life then they will only pick up their idea of what ‘real people’ look like naked from computer screens. Inevitably this will lead to a further erosion in general body confidence because most nakedness seen on screen is unrepresentative of how real people are.

I’ve now joined another club that has a greater age range and there are lots of people who are comfortable naked around the roomy locker room. It has a swimming pool and more comfortable facilities. It costs 3 times as much but I will go more often because of the facilities but the nicer vibes in the locker room will be welcome.


Not a naturist (?)

I am not sure that anyone will notice but I have just changed the tagline of this blog from “A blog that is about more than walking. And more than freedom exemplified by naturism.” to “A blog that is about more than walking, and more than the freedom to be naked.”

On my separate blog that deals with the art of my photography I have recently added a post The Private Exhibition which was a difficult write because it dealt with some very personal body issues which are a big part of what is behind my very personal nude self portrait photography. My recourse to certain naturist activities thirty five years ago was a quite separate way of helping deal with the same issues.

In that separate blog article I posted these three images and the one that is important here is the final one, largest if viewed on a monitor, which I entitled “Not a lovers’ tiff”…

I wrote about that image: “I need to say, for those that do not know me, but maybe primarily for those that do, that in making this particular artistic statement I’m not afraid to construct some images which have very little to do with the way I really am. In this final image, the title is a clue, because although there seems to be a dispute and there is some erotic charge between the two men, they are not lovers. It is merely a provocative way of presenting myself and my internal arguments over content, and right now it appears that he who is not afraid of the erotic is the more confident presence.”

The content I refer is the images that I choose to make public online as representing my art and the internal argument was one that also raged in my head over the title of the image because what I originally had in mind was “Not a naturist tiff”.

This image is me. Not lovers. And not a naturist. It’s not even the way I am at home. It’s a fabrication representing an argument with myself, and my self that decided that I am not a naturist was the self that won.

I can feel like a naturist, I certainly act as a naturist should act – a naturist beach, in saunas or swims etc. But nevertheless I have been told that I am not a true naturist because, for example, in a particular situation I did not have a towel to sit on. There you have it. QED. Not a naturist.

No doubt the same person would tell me that I am not a true naturist because I don’t go clothes free at home. The same person might also take exception to my eclectic art photography (especially if I am ‘not afraid of the erotic’), but what I create there is a world away from naturist photography and nothing to do with how I quite naturally conduct myself when I am engaging in naturist activities. Indeed, the way I conduct myself is quite different to many ‘naturists’ who abuse the word as a cover for their swinging activities.

Anyway, in deciding not to tag myself as an exemplifier of naturism and merely a seeker of the freedom to be naked I think I am going to avoid some arguments, but more importantly I think it will allow readers to understand better who I am.

Do feel free to substitute ‘nudist’ for every use of the word ‘naturist’!

Losing control of my image, 7 lessons from 2015

At the end of 2013 I first wrote about losing control of my image as being one of the hazards of participation in nude events in public. It was a little tongue in cheek as I hardly have an image to lose control of, but it did raise some serious issues as well.

I am revisiting the subject again looking back on 2015, a year when in retrospect I think I could have done rather more in this direction. After all, one naked walk, one naked bike ride and one naked visit to an art exhibition could seem a bit of a damp squib, but I am aware that for many this could be considered the height of (mis)adventure.

Thinking of a specific photographic image, control has two aspects, control of what is captured, and control of who gets to see it. Clothed or unclothed, if you are in a public space then you have to be able to deal with the fact that you are liable to be photographed and that photograph could finish up anywhere.

Lesson 1: Be careful who you ‘pose’ with

My local World Naked Bike Ride (the Brighton WNBR) is one of the oldest and largest in the UK and I have participated for the last three years. Like all WNBR’s I take photos of other participants on my journey around my home town centre and as well as my compilation of my favourite WNBR photos here you will find all of my 2015 Brighton WNBR photos here.

Now with over 20,700 views this is Faye Kinnit’s ‘most interesting’ photo on flickr and that is of over 1,200 excellent photos she has captured at WNBR rides.  You’ll have to be a member of flickr to see the discourse around this image there, but the speculation is that it’s my little Fujifilm camera that is garnering the attention. That’s hilarious photographer to photographer banter for you!


The good news is that I really like this image. I happened to be in the background and had just looked up – and my posing mechanism had not had time to kick in!

Lesson 2: Don’t allow yourself to be smoothtalked into sharing live naked walk images on twitter


This rule is especially true when you are in a silly ‘pose’ and the photo is being tweeted by Emma James @Socksoff1 one of the leading lights in the UK naturist movement! For the record, the caption competition was won by @TweedGoblin with “Emma help, someone tied my shoelaces together!”

Lesson 3: Do not engage with such images yourself!

Ah well, too late now.

Lesson 4: Don’t be fooled into thinking that sunglasses render you anonymous


Funk Dooby on flickr can always be relied upon to get an excellent image or two of most Brighton naked bike riders. This one got an airing on the public Brighton WNBR facebook group, judiciously cropped to avoid facebook censorship at the second posting.

Lesson 5: When riding a bike naked try and keep the handlebars between your bits and cameras.

Ah well, that advice doesn’t really work. But seriously, many of us guys have to accept that riding a bike naked is just not flattering! But in the end the messages from the WNBR are all important – for all its joyful exuberance, at heart it’s protest and demonstrations are not beauty parades.

Lesson 6: Don’t be fooled into thinking that wearing a wig renders you anonymous

20150114-20150114-at Forbidden by Loredana Denicola 2-2

It’s about as useless as a bike helmet. And less safe if you are on a bike. It is however perfect for swanning around an art exhibition. This is an image captured by Loredana Denicola and she has a blog about the Forbidden event where I feature in several more images – but this is the one where I was aware of the importance of keeping my wig straight, so this is the one you get here!

Lesson 7 – Setting up a shot can be worthwhile


Here you see me helping a damsel in distress. Now that’s the sort of shot that we can approve of getting published anywhere!

But yes, it’s a bit of a cheat in the context of me losing control of my image because I carefully set this shot up with Peter controlling the shutter. In fact Emma and I then had to get back up the slope which was off the route of our walk, so the whole exercise was artificial. But having started with the first favourite image of me from the year I wanted to finish with the second.

And yes. There will be other photos out there, and videos – but that’s your lot for 2015. No doubt I will return at the end of this year with another self indulgent exercise in losing control…


It is the season for World Naked Bike Rides!

The start of June is not the obvious time of year to hold naked bike rides in the UK but 1st of June 2014 signalled the start of my naked bike riding season when I went off to Hastings, 30 miles down the coast of West Sussex from Brighton, to get involved in their inaugural WNBR event.
The ride was organised by my friends Will Golden and Richard Collins and though them it was really good to meet co-organiser Roger Coupe. Unfortunately Will is suffering with cancer and he was not able to ride. I got him to Hastings and shuttled him around Hastings between different points in the ride. I was able to get in a skinny dip with the riders at the end of the ride when Hastings sprouted a temporary clothes optional beach.

I also took lots of photos – these are from the post event party  and these photos are from the Hastings WNBR itself. A few of my favourites are below for those who lead busy lives!

After the skinny dipping I took the unusual step for me of spending time naked in a pub, watching bands in The Union Bar, the after-ride venue. I was actually there for over five hours and some who rode were naked for this whole time.  I managed a couple of hours, being clothed for the rest.  I must admit that I found what was initially a bar full of naked men unusual but I would not say I was uncomfortable. As the bar became more populated with people, clothed and unclothed, women too, and the four excellent young bands, all playing their original music, started performing, I found myself getting into the swing of things. Only once in the whole evening was the nakedness remarked on by the bands and then in a really cool way. “This song is for the naked people!”.

This coming Sunday it’s the Brighton ride followed by the London ride a week later. I’ll be at both. See you there!

ed by the London ride a week later. I’ll be at both. See you there!

All photos are my copyright except those with me in! Me scrubbing the slogan off the back of a rider in the Hastings sea is by Funk Dooby on flickr. In the bar I was set up by Joanna Jobson with her boyfriend who is bass guitarist with Hastings band The General. Picture on stage are Andy Harston and the Brighton band Black Rooster Black Shag.


2013 – the year I lost control of my image!

Celebrities understandably fear the photographer who seeks to capture them going about their ordinary lives. Whether that photographer is paparazzi, or an amateur who stumbles across them, the fear is that they lose control of their image. The carefully posed and manicured photo commissioned by Hello! is a world away from the ordinariness that could be captured by a photo in the streets.

Before participating in the World Naked Bike Ride in Brighton this year I had always felt in control of my nude image. That is despite the proliferation of nakedness of my good self on the internet since the mid 90s. This feeling of control was because I took the photos – and I decided where they would go and who was likely to see them. For the many embarrassing or less than flattering images – there existed the delete key to deal with those.

This year’s decision to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride meant that I was going to lose all control. And I was a little apprehensive about it. Being photographed by random people in the streets was not so worrying – I regarded the randomness as part of the great anonymity of living in a city. However direct requests to take photos of me potentially to go in the press would be more concerning. So what happened almost immediately at the start of the ride? Well, I just found I couldn’t say no 🙂

Photo by Simon, fotografm on flickr

Thanks Simon (fotografm on flickr) for that pic of me being snapped by Gail Orenstein – I am glad I looked a bit more relaxed in Gail’s own picture that went online at the Demotix agency site!

photo by Gail Orenstein

This, and the photos of me and my escort, taken by BareWitness on flickr, have to be the best captures.

Photo by bare witness on flickr

But should I be worried anyway? How many images of me are in any case going to be floating around the internet as a result of my participation in the Brighton Naked Bike Ride? The only real place I know to find any is flickr, and that is where I have looked. The sum total just entered double digits. I have learned from this that the most obvious ways I can help my image (in my eyes anyway) is i) to try not to smile with my lips clamped together and ii) avoid any effort at posing!

by Simon, fotografm on flickr  by Simon, fotografm on flickr  photo by Gail Orenstein  Photo by Anthony JamesPhoto by Anthony James Photo by Anthony James Photo by Nathan RaupalPhoto by big-zee on flickr Photo by big-zee on flickr
me by Elaine, a passing rider who liked my slogans me by Elaine, a passing rider who liked my slogans me by Elaine, a passing rider who liked my slogans

The last three were taken by Elaine, a participant who stopped me and asked if I had any photos of my slogans, which she then proceeded to take with my camera.

My own situation contrasts with that of the many young females such as Elaine who were riding naked in Brighton the same day as me. There will be hundreds or even thousands of images captured of each one of them. In particular females have to cope with the very obvious close attention of photographers at the start and end of the ride and at rest point on the route. There is no doubt that the presence of obtrusive photographers has ruined the WNBR experience of many women.

I do assume that there are many celebrities who would love to be able to do stuff like the WNBR but are prevented from doing so through concerns about the impact on their image. When the Mail Online goes to town over the hint of a celebrity nipple, it is few who have the balls to do what Amanda Palmer did and strike back by baring all.

It takes a certain strong mentality to be able to rationalise and say ‘fuck it, I don’t care’. It’s a mentality that I admire and is a mentality that I have had to try to cultivate myself.  I’m not going to pretend that I have succeeded yet.

The other notable potential loss of control of my image in public was on my naked hikes with Will and Richard, or on my own….

I have written about those hikes extensively already in the earlier posts on this blog. In particular, the theatrics on a bridge over the River Ouse captured by a guy who claimed to be a BBC cameraman could have been a televised loss of image control if it were not for the fact that the cameraman embarrassed himself more than he could ever have embarrassed us.

A further opportunity for loss of control came at a little workshop that I facilitated for naturists at the White House club. Most of the images I turned up in cannot be shown here because they include other people. This is my own edit of a colour original by Peter L. As is often the case for my own images, I have converted to monochrome and severed my head 🙂


I hope to participate in many more such group activities in 2014. I’d rather just be another participant, model or photographer than facilitator, but I’ll always be happy to share my photographic experience.

So why have I gone and gratuitously posted all these images here? It’s to illustrate through their numbers and content that I have finally grown up about my perception of my body. I can’t emphasise enough that I do care about keeping fit and lean and all that stuff and that I really ought to do more to keep my limited musculature in shape. But through posting them all, without self-censorship, I can lose some of the last elements of the self-awareness about my body that has been slowly chipped away at over a long period of some 40 years.

Walking to Fairlight Glen naturist beach

If you came here for detail of how to walk down to the naturist Beach at Fairlight Glen, Hastings or what the beach looks like when you get there then you are going to be partially disappointed. If you want to enjoy some of the natural beauty of the walk there kindly set off by my co-walker, Richard Collins, then you are in the right place.

For the route (to what some incorrectly know as Fairlight Cove), go to advice from the Saturday Walkers’ Club  or British Naturism


Access is through the Country Park to the East of Hastings. We took a route from free street parking to approach the Park from a different angle to what you’ll find in the route advice links but eventually our path met the usual route from the car park and it is here that we stripped off to make the final naked descent to the beach down a spectacular wooded ravine. You probably cannot detect that the rock face in the photo above is decorated with sprinkles of falling water – standing underneath it to admire it is quite wonderful.



There has not been much rain recently but the route we took was quite muddy. You do not have to use tree trunks to ford the stream as the intrepid Richard did but any wetter and our trainers would have been inadequate.



Eventually the route opens up and the sea comes into view on the other side of an area with a single tree in a clearing. Richard talked about the scenery being similar to the Greek Islands and as the vegetation changed as we approached the beach I could not disagree.


We spotted the remains of wooden steps painted with a notice “Naturists on beach ahead!”. This whole area is prone to landslips and as I witnessed more and more signs of recent earth movement I became a little more wary of where I was stepping.


The reward is the beach itself. Sadly the tide was all the way in so respect for the privacy of the 10 or so naturists squeezed into the remaining section of shingle meant that I did not take a photograph. We moved a little further on to the rocks and took a picnic lunch before indulging in a couple of hours of sunbathing and clambering around followed by a final swim.

I commented to Richard about how the landscape loosely brought to mind Antonioni’s film Zabriskie Point. Those who have seen the film and are aware of other aspects of Fairlight Glen will know what I mean.


I could come here to spend all day doing some serious photography of my monochrome art nude variety – more at the link. I did indulge briefly, setting up my tripod after finding these two marbled rocks to nestle into.


We walked up what was a completely different route. It involved crossing the Zabriskie like hinterland to ascend over and above the East side of the bay. This is a longer route but much drier terrain because it is open to the sun. The climbing is in my view more hazardous and the route is very difficult to pick out. But if I can do it….

Again we were naked perhaps half of the route back to the car before Richard said, as we were approaching more wooded terrain, that we might start bumping into people. I have different sensibilities to Richard on this matter. I prefer walking naked in more open country so approaching walkers can be spotted and do not have a sudden shock of a close up encounter with a naked person. I also prefer then, in most circumstances, to cover up, something that is not practical when bumping into someone at close quarters. We walked on for about five minutes before I chose to get dressed, as did Richard probably out of deference to what he is aware of as being my different perspective.

Of course we met nobody until we were practically back at the car, leaving me feeling to be a bit of a wuss, but with a very pleasant nude four and a half hours behind me the extra sun was probably best avoided!