Nudes

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by blansky, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    After reading Ed's "Renoir" thread in the interesting quotes threads in off topic discussions ( that's a mouthful) it brought to mind an observation I've had about nudes in photography. I meant to mention this before but Ed jogged my memory.

    I'm wondering if it's because the US was founded by Puritans and a lot of other religious sects that we have such a strange relationship with nudes in art, as I guess in everything else.

    I see so many nude photographs that are so self conscious, so peek-a-booish and so adolescent that I want to puke. It's like, "well I've shot three rolls and I've talked her out of her bra, now maybe if I can just get her pants off. Or from her point of view, "well I'll show you my tits but nobody get to see my pussy" (if you'll pardon the expression) .

    What happened to photographs that celebrate the beauty of the human body, male and female. Why are nipples okay but genitals not. If the body is beautiful all parts are beautiful. The cleft ofa womans genitals is as interesting as the cleft of her breasts and her butt. The landscape of human body can put Yosemite to shame anyday. Do the models actually put crazy glue on the insides of their knees before each sitting.

    Where are all the women photographers that should be photographing nude males. 99% of the nudes of males are done by gay men. They are great but how about some from a womens point of view. Is not the erect male penis as intersting as an erect female nipple. Is not a male shot from behind as intersting as a female. Do not the curves of the male equal the curves the female.

    I realize that there are lots of photographers doing great nudes and some are members of this site and some are absolutely great. But I'm still in awe of the self consciousness and self censorship I see. After all in my opinion it is still the most beautiful form that has yet to be invented and the most fun to photograph.

    I'd love to hear your opinions,


    Michael McBlane
     
  2. inthedark

    inthedark Member

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    Well, being a hetero female, I have to say I just don't find the male body as inviting as the female from and artistic point of view. Even the mucles bound jocks just don't emit the sensuous response that a female does even in the most mudane poses as I found out at nude art class.

    But that being said, nudity and our relationship to it won't be changing anytime soon. We would have to suddenly have a majority (obviously not the "moral" majority) of the society comfortable both with their own nudity but also the postential nudity of their family members. Where to draw the line? I don't know, but I am confused by a country that thinks nothing of letting children watch umpteen kinds of explicit violence, but gets its panties in a wad over implicit or explicit nudity. But we are odd men out so to speak, making us seem like antisocial, perverts just cuz we like nature in all its glory.

    My humble opinion as requested.
     
  3. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Jill,

    You answer deserves a much more "well-thought out" answer than this, but even though I'm burned at the moment, I have to say that I agree. The most troubling thought is that the so-called "odd wo/men" are the ones that have really learned to handle the human figure with maturity and appreciation. Some in this world obviously can not.

    As far as the "moral majority" - how "moral" are they when thier critique of the work of the Great Creator is so severe that they choose to not only cover it up, but to DENY its existence - or so it seems.

    I remember one Television program from the past: It dealt with the Atlanta Censorship Board banning the motion picture "Never on Sunday". One of the members of the board, in an interview, said, "I've watched this movie seven times, and I've never seen anything so disgusting.. etc."

    My immediate thought: SEVEN times? You couldn't have figured that out after the first two or three..?

    Can anyone name a "significant" photographer who has *NOT* produced nudes at some time or other? At first I thought: Ansel Adams ... but he did... he just did not think those were "keepers".

    More later. I need some rest.
     
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I agree that Thomas Sauerwein's work is *brilliant*. I like it - very much.

    Seeing that I am one of the few others who have posted nudes here - all I can say is "Ouch!".
     
  6. George Losse

    George Losse Member

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    Ed,

    When it comes to people's view of your nudes, I think its better to take more of an don't get too high if someone really likes the work and don't get too low if someone doesn't like it. Someone's views on the nude in photography is a very personal thing.

    Some of the best comments of work I've shown have come from the parents of models. One time in Phila a local model couldn't make it to the opening because her school had restarted, but her mother, her brother, two cousins and a family friend all showed up at the opening. Her mother was great, trying to find all the images of her daughter.

    Back to where the thread started at. I like to shoot the subject, sometimes that's means her feet, sometimes her but or breasts, sometimes that means her genitals. The only self imposed censorship that I employ is I want her to be natural, basically just shooting the subject as presented in front of me.

    Michael, you didn't bring up the thought of Hetero males shooting the male nude. I have shot a number of men. The first few were to push myself away from the sterotypes of nude work, where the subjest is one of desire. Shooting the male nude alloud me to see the form of the subject.

    I found one other side effect of shooting the male figure, it gave a different feel to the work when hung on the wall. With the male images hanging with the female images, the work became more about the nude as a subject and not about naked women.
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Jill:

    With all due respect, you say you are a hetero female, then there must be a male nude type or angle or body part which you would consider worth photographing. I, as a hetero male have photographed male nudes and found it very interesting and challenging. the landscape is slightly different but none the less beautiful.

    JDEF:

    We have had countless threads that must have convinced us all that we are indeed "artists". Then what do we care what anyone says of the work that we do. You mentioned Sally Mann and Jock Sturges, and their photographs of nude children. I doubt that there is any self respecting pedophiles around that does not have copies of their books. In most circles this would be called kiddie porn. There are people in jail or lost their kids for lesser pictures. Mann and Sturges were somehow saved from this fate because they rightly convinced people that they are artists.

    Who cares if some calls your work art, erotica or pornography. The unwinable debate will forever go on about which is which. But who cares. As so called artists we should be photographing in an uninhibited manner and view with complete irrelevance the opinions of nay sayers and critics.

    Lastly anyone who hasn't seen George's site is missing out on really fine work.


    Michael McBlane
     
  8. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I don't think we as humans really have developed the ability yet ,to seperate nudity and sexuality. Sex is a frame of mind. bein the the nude is a celebration of this vessel that we live with in, that thinks and creates. I was part of a group exibition some years ago, within which I was the only person showing figurative images. A woman and her two childrenwere cruzing the show, as soon as she realized the kids were looking at she took their hands and escorted them from the show. A couple weeks ago my wife and I visited the Getty museum. In the rennaissance building theirs a 12ft long by 7ft tall painting of a reposing nude female. the exact thing happened only this time it was the father who dragged the kids away. My doctor (who is a woman) asked me"why would someone put a nude picture of someone else on their wall?" I wish I had an answer to these but I don't except to wish that parents and people of influence would change their teaching or preaching from"this is naughty" to theirs a time and place for freedom without clothes and a place for a sexual frame of mind. This is a generational solution that does not solve the artful expressions for today.If I had to guess 90% of the nudity that is sold today is quite sexual in attitude and is kept for private interigation. Also a very high percentage of marketing is based on sexual innuendo for prducts that have nothing to do with sex!. As to why I work so often with the nude, it just kind of evolved from art school after about 8 years of commercial photography I got board with being a tecknition so I went back to drawing then drawing the figure then photographing the figure. Now my drawing and paintings have nothig to do with the figure, yet ironically my paintings out sell my photographs. But the one seems to feed the other conceptually so i'm pretty happy with the mix. Any way I'm rambling, Ed and Aggie thanks for the support.
     
  9. George Losse

    George Losse Member

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    jdef,

    What's to defend. Just follow the laws of your area and you won't have to worry. Everybody has to sign a release (whether rights are released or not) and prove they are of legal age.
     
  10. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Anyone remember the old coppertone adds with the little girl wearing only a bottom, that a dog was diligently pulling off? We even in the bad old 50's when anh nude was wrong, thought that was ok. Today any one trying to take that same image with today's children would be crucified.

    ED I did not mean you in particular, I meant the genre as a whole. There are many fine examples. I even have a favorite beyond Thomas'. It was at the start of the impressionist movement. Can't at this moment remember the artist. It was the one of the French prostitue reclining. It is a beautifully done image with more than just the body being nude to tell the story for those who investigate beyond the initial look.
     
  11. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I am surprised at this comment, one of the reasons I like your photographs so much is the contrast between the man made structures hard and straight lines and the soft and roundness of the nature structure. But I certainly do not see anything sexual in your photos. The photograph of the women on the cubes is less suggestive and actually shows less "sex" than some of the girls I have seen at bars...
     
  12. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    The fact that we are having this dicussion highlights the lack of sophistication we North Americans have when it comes to our perception of the human body as compared to Europeans. The Puritan were the ones who came to NA and their legacy still haunts us. It is just to bad that so many people equate nudity with sexuality.
     
  13. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Congratulations to Thomas Sauerwein for showing what nude art can be. It is difficult to assess pornography. I guess the poster who said, “I can’t define pornography, but I can tell it when I see it.” Is positively correct.

    But now I guess it is time for true confessions. I considered posting this under the “Ansel Adams’ Goofs” header as it fits both places. As a very young man I was seriously considering photography as a profession. I worked after school in the darkroom of the only pro in town (a very small town). I was allowed to do some assignments and was in charge of the music section of the high school annual for which I received an award for the cover page (I’ll scan it and post it some day, maybe).

    At any rate, my parent subsidized a class in an adjoining town. I was 16. If my parents knew everything that was included, I’m sure they would have declined. Anyway, one session was “figure photography”! We had to purchase our material and 8x10 negatives were quite dear then. We were to expose two plates each. When it was my turn, I tried to act dignified, business-like, and indeed – competent, even though the only naked woman I had ever seen was my mother in the tub.

    I deftly posed the model, reset the lighting (as if I really new what I was doing ((even now I don’t have a good knowledge of artificial lighting)) ), set the lens, removed the darkslide, released the shutter, removed the holder, and was readjusting pose when the model began to giggle. I was concerned. What had I done to tip her off? “Aren’t you supposed to put that black thing back in the camera before you remove the negatives?”, she ask. I’ve never tried nude photography since. (I am reminded of one of Ed Sukach’s recent posts on the "quotes" topic ;_)

    Truly. dr bob.
     
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  15. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Purposley I've stayed away from sexualy motivated images, Helmut Newton or Robert maplethorpes work, these images are targeted sex. In Roberts case the images can be quite explicite. yet as his style evolved this explicite nature was'nt neccesary any more. The Lighting became sensious all by it self the printing became masterful the images could have stood on their own. Helmits work has a great sense of humor though grafic at times he always seems to have maintained a distant respect for his sitter. When we try to accomplish a concept it's business, they come in they take their clothes off we go to work! Yet when my wife comes home it's a different story, If I try to photograph her in one of my environments it's imopossible, we're to distracted. My comment was a statement towards the population as a whole, our buying public. The obove named people who accomplished great fame in this industry understood that sex sells, Course in Roberts case, I think thats all he thought about and just got lucky enough to make money at it. We set out to create sensious light , thats the line we've drawn. Theirs tons of sexually motivated stuff out there, the same thing done over and over again. Really boring!
     
  16. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Why is it necessary to seperate nudity from sexuality. Can they not exist together. Can they not exist apart.

    If your work serves to enable someone elses masturbatory needs why does that make a difference to you. 50 years ago people were using Sears underwear ads, and the wonderful nubile African features from National Geographic.

    The nude as art form has existed since the beginning of time, and why is it necessary to censor our own work because someone else my find it erotic or use it for self pleasuring.

    I don't find that to be a legitimate argument. You could take a portrait of a beautiful face that exudes so much sex that it hurts. Do we then put a veil over it.

    As George said take the pictures that present themselves honestly and naturally and let the viewers do what they want with them.

    Michael McBlane
     
  17. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    Yes, nude photos become boring due to too much exposure, specially in Playboy and the likes.

    But there are photographers (both man and woman) that are masters at suggestion - and these are the ones I appreciate.
     
  18. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Ref: Blansky, They do exist together every where anyone turns. Theirs also this puritanical effort to control or even eliminate overt sexuality in public. for now this co-existance seems to keep the flagrant abuse pretty much in check I'm sorry to say it's nessesary but until society reaches the next level these two sects will have to mediate each other. It's my business choice to prove to the nude industry that we can further disect nudity, eliminate the strappings of sexuality and still create sensuously lit compositions that include the figure. If genetalia does show up in our images it's part of the hole not the focus. I selfishly avoid those areas unless it works best for the pose because people will focus on those areas rather than see the complete image. Case and point I installed two images in the standard gallery section a couple weeks ago. The image "socks" that shows the breasts has far more veiws than does OTA IX which in my opinion is the stronger image. Wheather nudity and sexuality can or cannot exist together I don't know, and don't care. I just want people to frame and place my images on their walls, In a place where they and thiers can visit the image every day! Pretty sappy but there it is.
     
  19. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Thomas:

    In the first place I don't consider your work self conscious. You seem to be defending something that you in fact are not doing. Your work is far from what I'm referring to in my initial post. Your work celebrates in the best possible way the human form.

    On a personal note, without seeing any other of your work, I would be tempted to name OTA IX "shame". It brings to mind an Eve expelled from the garden of eden, look to me. Or to be more precise Eve expelled from the industrial utopia, as she steps down in shame.

    Just an initial response and an opinion. Great picture though.

    Michael McBlane
     
  20. RAP

    RAP Member

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    I guess every human being on earth looks at a naked body almost once a day, their own.
     
  21. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Well Michael,

    I'm one of the lucky ones! When this topic poped up I got to talk about some of the things that only my wife and I get to talk about. So by derailing your post a little I got to put it out there. So Thanks!
     
  22. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    What nudes in Playboy? These girls all have five pounds of body make-up on them - and there is *no* way their skin is visible. I don't like them for one reason: they are artificial - as artificial as a Department Store mannekin. Man-made "perfection" (it isn't) cannot even come close to comparing with nature/al - complete with random "irregularites."

    [/quote] But there are photographers (both man and woman) that are masters at suggestion - and these are the ones I appreciate.[/quote]

    Isn't that our mission in life - to become MASTERS of suggestion - hypnosis? Picasso once said, "The moment you lie for the sake of beauty - you are an artist."
     
  23. inthedark

    inthedark Member

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    So does this mean you can lie for some other sake besides beauty? :shock:
     
  24. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Isn't that our mission in life - to become MASTERS of suggestion - hypnosis? Picasso once said, "The moment you lie for the sake of beauty - you are an artist."[/quote]


    Pretty "heady" sentiment. I would hope that my mission was something more than that...
     
  25. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  26. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    Ed

    Not only makeup - but heavy computer editing nowadays...