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.
Emily was a talented nude figure model. She appeared on several Silvermoon book covers and in the Scrapyard Girls calendars. She always showed up at my studio in jeans and trainers so I included them in her portraits.
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.
These pictures 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.
Some appear in naked portraits; the art historian *Kenneth Clark defines a naked human body as exposed and vulnerable as opposed to nude which carries no uncomfortable overtone. In one sense the women in these photographs are nude as they project an image of balance and confidence. In another they are naked but they are not vulnerable or embarrassed*, they are confident in their nakedness.
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?’
A Quick Guide to Shooting Studio Nudes
Producing studio nudes gives you a choice. Use a plain background, strip away the real world, and produce an image that depicts the human body only. Alternatively add props or build a setting to create an illusion. These tactics along with extensive make up are used to produce glamour images but can also be used to produce pictures that depict the models personality.
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.