There, that title tends to get the pulses racing! Are you a person that enjoys nude photography or one that hates it intensely as degrading and something that shouldn’t be seen?
Whichever you are there is one thing that always guarantees to puzzle me about nudes. It is that it should ever ‘offend’ anyone? Why? We are all similar underneath our clothes be it men or women. The thing about the nude photograph is that there is a never ending debate about what is porn, what is art and what is gratuitous.
I never like to join in these debates too much, as obviously we all have a different idea of what is what. However, to be offended by the body itself I find extraordinary. I may not like the image, or think the depicted body is beautiful but I am never offended. It is like describing somebody’s face as offensive and that is a very uncommon sentiment isn’t it?
I care not what people think of my nudes with regard to whether they cause offence. It would be hard to call them ‘pornographic’ but I guess in some circles it could be said! Take this image. It is of my beautiful fiancee Hels. She is nude, it was a moment, we captured it, we move on. Is it offensive? Could it ever be described as such? Why not? She is naked, it is subtle I agree but surely not offensive.
My point is that we all have our idea around decency. However, I am far more offended by a poor photograph than I am about the body or person in it. I am a nude snob maybe? This shot was spontaneous, planned but relaxed and captures a fleeting glimpse. How many are simply shots of a naked person. The fact they are naked does not make it a good shot. Merely a bad shot of a nude!
This is what saddens me most about lots of forums and debates in camera clubs all over the world. It seems most prevalent in photographs of people. There seems to be masses of discussion about the technical aspects of a shot but very very rarely does anyone ask the question – why?
Why have you taken the shot? What were you trying to convey? Have you achieved it? I once wrote these sentiments on a dreadful thread asking for crit showing a set of portraits shot in a studio. The images were lifeless, showing nothing of the person they were shooting. In fact no thought had been given to the model at all. I gave them my crit! I was immediately praised by another poster who said that my comments were the most helpful he had ever read on the forums anywhere!! I was shocked and saddened that someone should say that. However, the rest of the comments demonstrated my (and his) point. Energy to burn on lighting and f stops etc but none on the model themselves. Why has this occurred?
My theory is (and nobody says that this works or is correct, just my opinion), if you are going to shoot someone, ask yourself why, what do you want to get from them. What is the point? What mood do you want to convey? Happy, sad, scared, excited, love, passion, greed, etc etc If there isn’t a point, then the images will show this and be lifeless and dull to the viewer.
Interesting debate though isn’t it? Happy shooting…