Why wouldn’t I?
It’s my penis. And as a great man once said, it’s meant to be photographed. Though I have no idea who that great man was.
Where some people have photos of their families on their desks at work, I have photos of my penis. My penis on vacation in the Bahamas. My penis in Madrid, on a business trip, the Prado in the background (slightly out of focus). My penis receiving an award for Outstanding Employee of the Month.
At birthdays and holidays I like to send photographs of my penis to friends and family. My in-laws, Marge and Walter, say they always look forward to getting my penis Christmas card.
Someone asked me recently when I started taking pictures of my penis and sending them to people, and I honestly couldn’t remember. College, maybe? All I know is that one day I picked up a Nikon SLR and thought, “Maybe I should look down my pants and take a photo and then send it to some people.”
And I’m not alone in history.
Teddy Roosevelt, for instance, was a big fan of photographing his penis, and would pose for hours at a time. In Paris, in the twenties, it was all the rage. Hemingway’s little-known short story “Look at This Photo of My Penis” attests to it. Stalin often adorned his dacha with framed eight-by-tens, coyly saying to visitors, “Boy-oh-boy, is that a lovely penis, or what?” (The wrong answer proved costly).
Go back further, of course, and you’ll find the drawings. Jefferson was a madman for it, often sending John Adams dozens of sketches of his penis in a single day. Adams is said to have enjoyed them with his wife, Abigail, who was herself a fan of penis portraiture. Even further back, we find that Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian all made frequent charcoal sketches of their penises, giving them as gifts (a common practice in Florence to this day). And then there are the famous cave drawings at Lascaux, France, purported to be more than seventeen thousand years old, where one sees dozens of penis portraits, crudely drawn, but a statement in their own right: a plea, as if to say, one cave man to another, “My name is Dave. This is my penis. Let us be friends.”
You enjoy your spinning class, your yoga class, your gardening and bird-watching and power-walking. I photograph my penis and send those photos to people, some of whom I know, some of whom are complete strangers or corporate headquarters. I recently got a very nice note from the head of public relations for Citibank, thanking me for the enlarged photos I sent, suggesting them as lobby murals.
At dinner parties, where I often share photos of my penis on my iPhone with anyone who talks to me, people sometimes say, “Glen. Have you ever considered photographing your testicles as well as your penis?” And always I’m deeply offended. You have to wonder sometimes what people are thinking.
John Kenney/New Yorker