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 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.
1.2 trillion photographs are taken worldwide per year (statista.com). Before the introduction of mobile phone cameras ninety five percent of these billions of photographs where taken in horizontal format; compact cameras are ergonomically designed to be held that way. Now that eighty five percent of the population uses a smart phone to take photographs ninety five percent are vertical because that’s the way they hold it.
Out of 1.2 trillion how many created rather than taken? How many are composed, and I don’t mean just with the subject fitted in to the frame? Let’s guess at 10% good composition is subjective anyway. So out of that billion or so how many are well composed? Think about your composition
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?’
Personal space is a collection of nude portraits of women at home in their environment. They are surrounded by treasured possessions and sometimes the detritus of real life. Stripping away clothing means the viewer only has the surroundings from which to glean information about the subject.
It takes a lot of guts to stand naked in front of a camera, to let it record, to let it see – you. To produce nude portraits. Some of these images have remained, fixed in tiny silver grains, for nearly thirty years. Then converted into electronic code they continue; their owners growing older, changing, dying, whilst they remain.
Others were created quite recently and are just beginning their journey to become a record of what was rather than what is.
but capture my beauty
and maybe a little sadness
These women maybe do not conform to society’s norm of body image but they are beautiful, sexy and confident.