The Girl with the Ganesh Tattoo · Photographed by Robert Sturman. {Nudity}

“Freedom is to stand naked at the moment, having no expectations, nothing to lose or to gain. The empty then is fulfilled, just to be emptied again at the next moment. The Absolute Freedom is, to become every path, at any given moment.” ~ Grigoris Deoudis


“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein


“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” ~ Jim Morrison



“It’s only after we’ve lost everything…

…that we are free to do anything.” ~ Fight Club



The Black and White Portfolio 


“Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.” ~ George Bernard Shaw 


“Love says ‘I am everything’. Wisdom says ‘I am nothing’. Between the two, my life flows.” ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj


“And were an epitaph to be my story
I’d have one ready for my own
I would have written of me on my stone
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”
~  Robert Frost



‘The girl with the Ganesh tattoo’ is Michelle May.
Stay connected with Robert Sturman’s work on Facebook.

Daily posts to inspire.



A little more life:  

>> 108 yoga images from 2012: from the lens and through the soul of Robert Sturman.

>> Rebelle Society’s interview with Robert Sturman.



{Rebelle on Facebook & Twitter.}



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Robert Sturman
A dedicated yoga practitioner, photographer Robert Sturman has increasingly focused on capturing the timeless grace and embodied mindfulness of asana in his work. His portraits, whether set in the lively streets of Manhattan, the expansive beaches and canyons of Malibu, the timeless elegance of Walden's New England, or the bleakness of Marin County's San Quentin Prison, remind us that there is beauty everywhere. In Sturman's own words, "I often think of Rumi's words, 'I can't stop pointing to the beauty.' That feels right to me." Sturman's honors include Official Artist of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards, 2010 FIFA World Cup Artist Representing America, and Official Artist 2007 United States Olympics. In 2012 and 2013, Sturman was the subject of two separate New York Times articles celebrating his photographs of yoga from around the world. You can find out more about Robert’s work at his online studio and connect with him via Facebook and Twitter.


  • Elaine Rainey commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    A work of art on a work of art on a work of art.
    • Cami commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
      So true and so elegantly spoken.
    • Wildwoman commented on September 23, 2013 Reply
  • Mamaste
    Mamaste commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    We are witness to the evolution of an artist. Thank you, Robert, for bringing us along on your journey. Breath-taking. ~Mamaste
  • JenPastiloff commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
  • Amy commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    Yes, she is utterly beautiful. So are all of the images in your yoga series. But why so many women? If we can discuss nudity a little more here, it seems that our culture is so much more open to female nudes than male. Quite frankly, I rather enjoy the male form. Let me emphasize – I rather enjoy the NUDE male form. When will we see them? How long until our society comes around and fully appreciates the body in all its forms?
    • Anne commented on November 2, 2013 Reply
      Your words made me think of Robert Mapplethorpe’s Lisa. Those photographs opened my eyes to the beauty of the un-sexualized human body. I think that this is a conversation we need to continue.
    • Satya commented on November 27, 2013 Reply
      Women represent the life force, the feminine energy, beauty, Tripura Sundari. Men represent the Consciousness, Shiva.
      • Cassandra Damiris commented on March 1, 2014 Reply
        Both “men” and “women” have feminine and masculine energy, both are fair game. I too enjoy male nudes, so let’s bring it on.
  • Carolyn Riker
    Carolyn Rikeryn commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    Stunning,artistic, creative, magnificant! Wow! Thank you for bringing art to a new level.
  • Andrea Balt
    Andrea Balt commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    Robert, I’ll never recover from this beauty overdose.
  • Cami commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    Robert’s work keeps getting better and better, more creative and more life-affirming. It feeds the heart.
  • Tanya Lee Markul
    tanya lee markul commented on January 9, 2013 Reply
    Stunning — + breathless. Amazing, beautiful, beyond words. Love.
  • Christine Kincaid commented on January 10, 2013 Reply
    Outstanding. :)
  • Sandi Bohle commented on January 10, 2013 Reply
    Beautiful!! Love Robert’s work!!
  • cazaflows commented on January 11, 2013 Reply
    Wow! Simply stunning…
  • Joe Longo commented on January 11, 2013 Reply
    Stunning as always Robert. You are an inspiration!
  • Tracy commented on January 12, 2013 Reply
  • Holistic DIVA commented on January 21, 2013 Reply
  • Bernard Hemensley commented on January 26, 2013 Reply
    Great photos, Robert…i was blown away as soon as i saw them…and still am every time !!!
  • Anna F. commented on February 8, 2013 Reply
    Inspiring. I will start every day with a photo of yours.
  • Courtney ShockT commented on February 18, 2013 Reply
    Where can we find out more about Michelle May? Seems like a cool chick!
  • Helly M commented on March 3, 2013 Reply
    utterly speechless…. simply a strong and powerful image. beauty subject, beautifully done!
    • Helly M commented on March 3, 2013 Reply
      …ops.. beautiful subject and beautifully done….
  • Seb commented on March 24, 2013 Reply
    just wow. namaste.
  • Johnson commented on March 25, 2013 Reply
    “You ROCKS, man!” WOW
  • arvind shah (@sohambaby) commented on March 27, 2013 Reply
    Please STOP this nonsense. Ganesha is a Hindu GOD. Anyone who Insults by putting Tattoo on a NUDE Body will go to HELL in his/her next birth. That is that simple !
    • Adit commented on March 28, 2013 Reply
      You are an idiot. This is simpler.
  • cyber_praps commented on April 12, 2013 Reply
    The photos seem very artistic and beautiful. However, some may find it offensive watching a sacred god printed over a bare skinned body.
  • Barbara Davis Cerra commented on May 19, 2013 Reply
  • Jessica Sage commented on May 23, 2013 Reply
    Ganesha <3 And her body! Such an artform. Great photography too.
  • John Hathaway commented on July 4, 2013 Reply
    Or how do I get this elephant off my back.
  • Ramanjit Garewal
    Ramanjit Garewal commented on July 4, 2013 Reply
    Dear Robert …:-) Elegantly nudacious Yoga Sutras …:-) Your name should be Stunman …:-) Love … :-)
  • Rah commented on August 7, 2013 Reply
    This reeks of sexual objectification and only furthers the cause of the patriarchal male gaze through the shield of the camera lens. I have no problem with nudity, but If the model looked back at the camera she would have some element of agency, some humanity we could identify with – as the photos are now she is nothing more than a flexible piece of painted flesh on a rock.
    • Mojo commented on August 7, 2013 Reply
      @Rah: Ahhh, but depending on HOW the model looked back at the camera (and I believe she actually does, in one pose), that could also be interpreted any number of ways. So you certainly are free to express your opinion, but I vigorously insist on my right to disagree with it (as have the majority of other commenters).
    • Anna commented on August 8, 2013 Reply
      hmm.. I did a nude photo shoot one time. Didn’t get paid. I approached the photographer and artist. The one requirement I had was that my face wasn’t shown or if I could wear a pretty lace mask. I had a lot of say in the shoot. Why did I do this? I like the artist/photographer. Not ashamed of my body. Love nudity in both the female and male form. I didnt want to show my face because *I* didn’t want to. The photographer usually includes the models face. Sooo Am I purposely Sexually Objectifying myself? OR…or.. just maybe I didn’t want to show my face. I know the answer to this question, but I want to hear what others want me to believe.
      • VeronicaThePajamaThief commented on January 4, 2014 Reply
        The eyes are the windows of the soul. I think, and it is only one person’s opinion and perhaps shared by no one else, that by covering your face, you accomplished little more than sexually objectifying yourself. You covered the most beautiful part of yourself. Why would you expose your body but conceal your soul? I’m curious as to what you really think you were saying. I too have done nude photo shoots, with my face fully revealed. The face and all that it reveals is absolutely critical in study of the human form. It should be the model that is making a statement, not the photographer.
  • Nicole Jensen commented on August 9, 2013 Reply
    stunningly beautiful. not offensive in the least. curious about who did her Ganesh. he is lovely too.
  • Nancy O'Toole commented on August 9, 2013 Reply
    I don’t see this as an objectified photo shoot (and I can be critical in those regards). All I see is beautiful art.
  • LB commented on August 9, 2013 Reply
    the extra piece:)
  • Victoria Erickson commented on August 9, 2013 Reply
    So. Beautiful.
  • mark sadan commented on August 14, 2013 Reply
    I love Ganesh and what Ganesh represents and is a metaphor for in our world. Therefore your visual meditation and collaboration with the woman with the Ganesh tattoo was appreciated. mark sadan
  • Zofia Cartlidge
    babybird commented on September 23, 2013 Reply
    Love. So beautiful
  • Flickhead commented on October 10, 2013 Reply
    Those colors are going to fade in all that sunlight.
  • Anjana Love-Dixon
    Anjana commented on November 2, 2013 Reply
  • sakthivel commented on November 13, 2013 Reply
  • A. commented on November 21, 2013 Reply
    Beautiful…but makes me hate me more.
    • jack housman commented on January 6, 2014 Reply
      Dear A. Don’t hate yourself because you don’t look like Ms.May. Few of us do. We must learn to love ourselves as we are. Your own kind of beauty is fine in it’s own unique way. I have no doubt. Take care.
  • Yami commented on December 4, 2013 Reply
    You can barely see her face, just a body. He really failed to capture the beauty of the practice.
  • ravi commented on December 23, 2013 Reply
    STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!DON’T USE HINDU GOD IMAGES EVEN IN THE NAME OF ART
  • j orchid commented on January 19, 2014 Reply
    Flexible body! Beautiful.
  • Nikunj commented on March 15, 2014 Reply
    Difficult to keep look away.
  • Sharmila commented on April 3, 2014 Reply
    umm, so is this an example of yoga being bastardized?
  • Melanie commented on May 10, 2014 Reply
    This glorifies being young and skinny and white and incredibly fit. I would rather see the beauty of diverse bodies and abilities than see more of the same super body and super ability that is already repeated and repeated on every magazine cover, advertisement, etc., etc.. There is nothing rebellious or radical here. Just the superficial, limiting, status quo image of the “perfect” female body to which every woman learns to compare her own.
    • bodhibrother commented on June 21, 2014 Reply
      While I agree that it’s nice and more realistic to view a wide range of bodies, I really see no need to aim criticism at someone for having, or photographing, a well toned body. All bodies are beautiful, including those deemed perfect by the “superficial, limiting, status quo…” Are women with such bodies not to disrobe now because they will offend you? Should they not be photographed because they don’t fit your criteria for what photographed bodies should look like? Please bear in mind that most people with a bit more weight would never be able to reach those postures, and, if they could, it would be difficult to discern muscle tone which, to me, is pretty much the whole point of photographing people in yoga postures. I applaud diversity, but there’s a point at which political correctness begins to look like simple, good ol’ fashioned envy.
  • JR commented on June 14, 2014 Reply
    But would you photograph her or him.
  • JR commented on June 14, 2014 Reply
    That was a response to: jack housman Dear A. Don’t hate yourself because you don’t look like Ms.May. Few
  • JR commented on June 14, 2014 Reply
    Amen, Melanie.
  • philipbond commented on September 9, 2014 Reply
    Dramatic art on beautiful canvas’. Thank you.

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