Nude Art and the brain hemispheres
The art of nudes
The nude form is expressed in many arts like painting, sculpting, photography, and also in writing and music. My guess is that as soon as humans started to describe the beauty of life, humans started to describe the nude form.
In those thousands of years of celebrating and expressing the nude form, all is said and done, and what’s left over to do is to add the artist’s own observation and associations with the complex study of the nude form.
That’s something I need to keep in mind while creating nude art. I need to question myself about what my own view or association is with nude art. There lies the opportunity to create meaningful and creative work.
Why is it that the nude form is described in so many art forms and by so many artists? Is it because of the shape of the body? Is it because of our associations with the human body? The human body can represent many things, obviously it can represent love or sex, strength and health. But it can also represent age, lust, pleasure or pain. So many emotions can be expressed by the human body. And then there’s the association of the artist, but also of the viewer. Both can be completely different and can be a combination of any of the mentioned examples.
It is therefore that nude art can be so complex and in order to create something meaningful it requires careful consideration and sensitivity.
Progress comes slowly
My third nude model photoshoot.
I recently had my third nude model photoshoot in my studio. I feel that I slowly get a grip on the whole process of such a shoot. Although I have quite some photographic experience, photographing a model in such an intimate setting is still a challenge to me. How do you make your model, but also yourself comfortable? What is the concept and in what detail do you need to explain the concept? What are all the elements within the process of such a shoot?
So many questions, but with every shoot my confidence and experience grows and I guess it is all a matter of just doing.
What's also still challenging is to me is posing a model and creating a composition. Composition is not new to me, but posing models to create a composition certainly is. Suddenly so many details besides the composition also need attention! How are the fingers placed? How does the pose of the model change the form of the body? What expression do you want the model to have?
In street photography the photographer does not have any influence over such details. Objects and people form a composition and it's your job as a photographer to be at the right place at the right time in order to capture the composition which is unfolding within the frame. In the studio the photographer needs to know the wanted composition before he is able to recreate the composition. This aspect is new to me.
Luckily Noa is an experienced nude model and had no problems to pose, but I wish that I'm quickly capable to "see" what I want before I make the shot.
I also lack the skills to come up with a good concept. I might have some idea in my head in the form of an atmosphere or elements I want to use, but I'm not able yet to use these ideas to form a concept. Sometimes I wonder if I need a concept, but then....what am I going to photograph...
So much still to learn!
What's in a portrait?
A portrait photo seems like a simple concept. Photograph a person's head, and there you have it, a portrait.
But why is a portrait not just a photo of a person's head?
What is the use of a portrait?
Families hang a (family) portrait on a wall to look at for themselves, or to remember a loved one. Newspapers use portrait photos to introduce the subject of the article. An environmental portrait connects the subject to its surroundings in order to explain or introduce something about the subject. And sometimes the sole function of a portrait photo is to wonder about someone’s beauty, character or emotions.
With all of these examples, the setting of the displayed photo gives the portrait its meaning and therefore the viewer knows or feels how he or she should interpret the portrait But what if that setting is not so obvious? Does the portrait lose it’s meaning and becomes just a photo of a person's head?
The type of portrait and the setting of a portrait determines how we try to interpret the portrait. But what about the content of a portrait? We connect with people by making eye contact. It tells us a lot about the person we look at. Is a photo of a person without the head or a person photographed from behind still a portrait? I do think so. As soon as it is clear that the person on the photo is the main subject of the photo, the photo becomes portrait.
When you look at a portrait, please ask yourself, who do you see?
What does that say about yourself?
Why do I photograph nudes?
In order to answer that completely there are two more questions that need to be answered. Why do I photograph? What is nude to me?
I’ll try to keep it short.
Why do I photograph?
For me photography is a way to be creative. I like camera’s, I like to create, and I like to experience growth in the quality of the work I produce. A photograph captures something that “was there”. Preferably people.
What is Nude to me?
Nude vs naked, what is the difference? To me a naked person is a person without clothes. In nude art the naked person in service of art. Nude art. The nude person performs, the artist translates and records.
So, why do I photograph nudes?
People are fascinating, bodies are fascinating, emotions are fascinating, expressions are fascinating and photographing nudes is a way to explore all these fascinations. It's a way to translate and record these fascinations into art.