R.I.P. Neecam, 1995 – 2011

In 1995, I put one of the first consistent webcams on the internet, the neecam. It was, at one time, the focal point of what would eventually become phuqed.org, and then notso.phuqed.org, spend a short year stint as its own spinoff at neecam.net, and finally settle as a single, burried page on neevita.net.

The first neecam was a black and white connectix quikcam, that looked a little something like this. It had been gifted to me by lars, of #suicide on EFnet, and I’m pretty sure I masturbated with it more than once because I knew he’d touched it. It was one of those gifts, like the mixer that WhiteKnight sent me, that altered the course of my development as a person.

Pervert that I was, neecam was rarely used as a sexual outlet, and rated R, mostly — which is probably part of why you don’t know about it, even though it was around before Jennicam or Anacam and a lot of others that are much more famous. The cam would refresh every 30-90 seconds depending on my mood, and only when I was actually around and wanting to be on camera. Which was, frankly, a lot.

Around the same time I started using webcams, I began cautiously shifting my style from huge boys t-shirts and jeans and sneakers to tank tops and .. jeans and sneakers. Still, I was coming into my own and moving into adolescence. Through the neecam, my creativity, and the support of my viewers, over time, I began to realize something very amazing. That I could be pretty.

It was years later before I did anything sexual on cam, but finally, in the year 2000, some random drunken early morning late night, I used a vibrator in full view on cam while talking with whoever was awake on #suicide. That rare, thrilling, nerve wracking, and slightly awkward experience, in hindsight, marked one of the many progressive leaps in my journey of embodying and accepting my sexuality, and myself as a fundamentally sensual person.

Over time, the cam grew up. It went from the PS/2 connectix, to a color quikcam, to various logitech cameras, to the amazing and still unparalleled 3com HomeConnect USB, complete with the lens pack, which I still refuse to get rid of. My cam equipment was part of the elegance, and each camera I had gave me different freedoms that I exploited.

The neecam, over many years, was one of my primary social outlets. It was the first place to go if you wanted to know what kind of mood I was in. It was an amazingly effective method in which to express myself and reach out to people, even as I burrowed myself away in the dark cave of my artificially lit, tiny little room. I cried on cam, I laughed, I did drugs, I showed off my friends, my pets, my injuries. I told stories with it, mourned with it, celebrated with it.

I even went through a period where I slept on cam, kept it running at night, attached to my ceiling over my bed. For years, to be near me meant the potential of being broadcasted, in a world where that wasn’t normal, yet. My friends were such good sports.

As my relationship with this expressive outlet progressed, I became more discerning about the images I captured, and went from a single image format to a main image with three previous thumbnails displayed below it. I began thinking in terms of order and sets, and slowly, I began to create artwork with the cam.

The neecam became my gateway drug to self photography, where I’ve created some of the most profound imagery in my body of artwork. The cam was where it all started. Later in life, as I became more confident in my body and my looks, I began dressing up, taking more of an interest in clothes, and doing elaborate things with makeup in order to.. stay home, and do cam sets.

There was even a short period of time, circa 2001 (long before any software existed for it), that neecam images were automatically converted to ASCII art before being displayed. That was a collaboration with my friend Furan. There were a few other projects like that over the years, including a php authorization script felix (creater of camsnarf) wrote for me to keep haters from stealing and hotlinking my images, before mod_rewrite was in play on Apache servers.

Though at times neecam was archived, it was meant to be active and transient, in the moment. As time moved forward, and social anxiety relaxed its deathgrip on me, life started filling up. I discovered circus, aerial, and that I hated working at Microsoft. I began going out socially and meeting people in real life more. The cam, while still a large part of my life, began to take up less of my free time.

And less.. and less. The neecam became then what most peoples cameras or skype or google hangouts are now – another way to keep in touch with the people I knew in the meatspace.

In 2004, I ripped all three of my hamstrings doing aerial, and found myself rather immobile for a period of many months. I decided, to help pass the time and stay social, to join a website created by an old #suicide regular, stile, whom I had shown the basics of HTML to one day many years before. He took that ball and ran with it, creating stileproject.com, and eventually, camwhores.com — which I joined, anonymously, and began posting sets to.

For the first two weeks, my trademark was that I never showed my face. I was bald to the skin for a while back then, and so chose the handle Agatha, and for a time, neecam became its softcore alterego, Agathacam, wherein I did cam shows of my baths, cleaning the house naked, and other such torrid things.

The neecam was, for 16 years, completely free.

I’d say 80% of the snapshot photos from 1995 to 2007 are shots from one of the various forms of the neecam. I pretty much attribute any image I captured and uploaded through Webcam32, the only cam software I ever used to any notable degree, with being of the neecam ilk. But since 2009, neecam has been stale. Pictures stay up for months on end without being refreshed, and my use of imagery online, has matured.

Nowdays, I have a phone, and a few good cameras, and little reason to maintain a webcam presence any longer. Times have changed, and if I do say so, it was the people like me who socially pioneered them. I’ve integrated neecam into my life, into my world, and it’s time to say goodbye and honor what the original neecam brought to me, and to the lives of others.

So rest in peace, neecam, and thank you. Thank you very much.

courtnee@cerberus ~/public_html/neevita $ rm -rf neecam/
courtnee@cerberus ~/public_html/neevita $ ls neecam
ls: cannot access neecam: No such file or directory
courtnee@cerberus ~/public_html/neevita $

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