Going topless is taboo in many places. The countries that I’ve lived in have all had cultural differences about toplessness in general. My own reactions to it have changed over the years.

After growing up in England I lived with the double standards of modesty and provocation. A tabloid newspaper can criticise a TV programme for showing a scene with a topless actress after 9.00 p.m. while – at the same time – printing a picture of a topless girl on Page 3. In England, young women – when they are in changing rooms – usually hide their breasts from each other so they can’t be seen easily. Many of those same women have no problem baring their breasts at passers-by in the street after they’ve been binge drinking for hours.

When I lived in France, I experienced instant culture shock when I watched TV ads for shower gel and deodorant. Back home there were strict rules against topless scenes in commercials. So, in Paris, when the camera didn’t cut away before the nipples appeared I didn’t know where to look. I didn’t know what to think either when I stood in front of a huge billboard on the Metro platform. I remember an Evian campaign featured numerous topless women; it was intriguing but not without a little hint of sexism. I’d think differently if I saw it now, of course. When I went to their municipal swimming baths I found the communal showers placed so close to the pool-side that toplessness – and more – became commonplace. In spite of my English attitude I finally realised that a nipple is just a nipple.

Living on the Mediterranean means toplessness is so matter-of-fact that it never seems unusual. Just walking in the sand for several minutes gives anyone the opportunity to see every kind of breast, any type of nipple. With the popularity of silicon implants now, I’m starting to notice the same shape of topless breasts more and more.

This photo-set wasn’t really planned as I prefer spontaneity in my shoots. The moment I crawled onto the sofa I realised that I could explore an idea I’d been keeping to myself for a while. I was already dressed up in my retro suspender belt, stockings and high heels. Sliding off my bra I chose to go topless but without showing too much.

I wanted to have my breasts bare but – at the same time – to maintain an air of mystery.

My intention was to be the ultimate topless tease.

Photos by Stephane.

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This post is also available in: Spanish

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