Nude art or erotic art?. They may appear to be very similar genres. Here is a couple of simple definitions:
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Erotica but not nude? A seductively clothed model can be much more erotically attractive than the completely naked figure. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to combine the erotic with the aesthetic.
Between glamour and the more formal naked figure lies a wide expanse of the erotic, the documentary and the personal. Personality, whether it is the model’s genuine personality or make believe conjured from the photographer’s and model’s creative collaboration is largely created in the viewers mind by setting, clothes and props. In creating images of the erotic photographers tend to swing between hard and soft styles. Whether poised and flawless in a hard-edged setting or soft an innocent lying in a meadow both create an inhuman woman. A creation in which the photographer, model and viewer are all compliant.
Millions of photos are taken from about five feet eight inches (1.75 m) above the ground because that’s the average persons eye line. Whether photographing fine art nudes, boudoir or glamour nudes it pays to look for a different point of view.
It is easy to take better nude photographs. Anyone, even the best at something can always get better at it. All you have to do is acquire more knowledge, practice, and maybe have a bit of inspiration.
There is something intrinsically surreal about masked nudes. Everything is displayed but we are deprived of the one thing that enables us to identify an individual human.
The nude female form elicits a number of, sometimes conflicting, potential responses from the viewer of an artwork. It can be seen as the depiction of a human being as a sex object, an anonymous manifestation of beauty or the nudity can be used to foreground aspects or themes within the picture. The most common criticism levelled at photography is that it simply imitates another art form.
It is a common misconception that better technique will help you take better photographs of nudes. I recently took part in a critique where a photographer put up a technically perfect but aesthetically boring picture of a nude. He commented that he had no concept or message when taking the picture but would like to do more ‘artistic’ work. I suggested that if he worked on having the former then the latter might naturally flow.
These nude and naked portraits are created with the help of many talented women. The finished images are a result of a collaboration between the photographer and subject rather than an imposition of a style on them. Some of the subjects are models but here you are projecting elements of their character and personality; they are part of the creative process and not merely a blank canvas on which to project my viewpoint.
It is very difficult to separate the artistic (fine art nude photography) of the nude from the erotic and the sexual.
When is a nude an attempt to produce a meaningful picture
and when is it merely a body displayed for erotic titillation?
Even the word artistic carries certain connotations. Many of the paintings that are now considered works of art by old masters were created for his Lordship to hang in his personal salon. In a later era it conjures up an image of a 1950s bloke in a Trilby accosting a gent with the words ‘Oy mate – want to buy some artistic postcards?’