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gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 06:38 PM
I find it interesting that nudity still seems to have the power to draw people in. In this age of pornography everywhere, internet, videos etc why does an image that has simple nudity still draw more viewers?

I notice that when I place a photograph for critique on a site like APUG or on EBay for sale that the photos that get the most hits (every time) are the ones that have nudity in them, it does not matter if it is male or female, nudity draws the hits. I can have the same subject with the same lighting, camera etc with a clothed subject but it will not get as many hits as the nude version.

Are people just so concerned with seeing others naked? Curiosity? Is it a sexual thing? Or does including nudity make a image more visually strong?

dpurdy
08-24-2008, 07:00 PM
In my pbase galleries the nudes get waaaay more hits than the other stuff. I think it might just be because we are animals that think only of eating sleeping and fornicating. Art comes just after that. OR perhaps it is a testament to the nature of people who look at pictures on the internet all time.
Dennis
PS the difference in hit counts on ebay print sales is huge. Like nudes will get 500 hits and a still life 1.

dbonamo
08-24-2008, 07:10 PM
human nature

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 07:25 PM
In my pbase galleries the nudes get waaaay more hits than the other stuff. I think it might just be because we are animals that think only of eating sleeping and fornicating. Art comes just after that. OR perhaps it is a testament to the nature of people who look at pictures on the internet all time.
1.

haha..yes your probably right...maybe it is a animal lust sort of thing...I agree with you on ebay, you get more hits if you put up nudes, but who are the people that are opening the page? potential collectors? or the eating sleeping fornicating crowd!

Thanks Dennis

TheDreadPirateRobins
08-24-2008, 07:32 PM
Most of the "eating sleeping fornicating crowd" probably doesn't fantasize about bowls of fruit or arrangements of antique glass bottles on a table in a study.

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 07:38 PM
hmm good point! thou some folk seem to fantasize about the strangest stuff! who knows what those bottles and bananas could be used for.

Thomas Bertilsson
08-24-2008, 08:08 PM
I too agree about nudity and watching other people being nude is a primal curiosity. I'll admit that even though I'm adding a few years to the tally (I'm 37 this November) the primal urge of thinking about nudity and sex is an extremely prevalent activity. I cannot walk by a woman that I find attractive without wondering lots of things about her, one of them what she looks like without her clothes on. It's my opinion that most people's minds work this way, it's just that they don't like to admit it. To me it's the most natural of things.
Then comes the flip side of the coin, usually once the secrets are revealed, it's not really that interesting to fantasize about anymore. But the initial curiosity is what makes me click on the nude image links. Then after a while I study the beauty and grace of the human form, or the lack thereof - you know, things that make a photograph interesting beyond the initial wow. I find that very few nudes have real depth and meaning to them, or even beauty or good form.
It would be interesting to compare numbers of hits and numbers of sales. Is there any correlation there with nudity vs 'anything that lacks the presence of a nude human being'?
Interesting thread!
- Thomas

David Brown
08-24-2008, 08:15 PM
Are people just so concerned with seeing others naked? Curiosity? Is it a sexual thing? Or does including nudity make a image more visually strong?

Why do you make nudes?

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 08:55 PM
Why do you make nudes?

I actually do not really consider them nudes, more like realistic portraits. It is sort of a honesty thing in my eyes. If I photograph a baseball player I might include his bat or his glove or his uniform or all of the above. If you photograph a sex worker, the product they sell is their body so to not show the body seems somehow like your not taking an honest portrait or that you might be limiting the reality of what the portrait could be. What I tend to do is shoot clothed and unclothed but it seems that most times the best pictures involve partial or total nudity, not sure why but it does, maybe it fits into the visually strong thing from the original post.

Photographing a lover would have a more sexual emotional feel to it for the photographer but lover photos can also be rather coldish (Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Weston). I just look at the nudity in my photography as functional and honest to the reality of the subjects.

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 09:08 PM
I too agree about nudity and watching other people being nude is a primal curiosity. I'll admit that even though I'm adding a few years to the tally (I'm 37 this November) the primal urge of thinking about nudity and sex is an extremely prevalent activity. I cannot walk by a woman that I find attractive without wondering lots of things about her, one of them what she looks like without her clothes on. It's my opinion that most people's minds work this way, it's just that they don't like to admit it. To me it's the most natural of things.
Then comes the flip side of the coin, usually once the secrets are revealed, it's not really that interesting to fantasize about anymore. But the initial curiosity is what makes me click on the nude image links. Then after a while I study the beauty and grace of the human form, or the lack thereof - you know, things that make a photograph interesting beyond the initial wow. I find that very few nudes have real depth and meaning to them, or even beauty or good form.
It would be interesting to compare numbers of hits and numbers of sales. Is there any correlation there with nudity vs 'anything that lacks the presence of a nude human being'?
Interesting thread!
- Thomas

Very well put, you gave me lots to think about. I think your right it is a primal curiosity thing.

I also agree on your nude comments, most are stylized and lacking in depth/meaning. If I see another nude lady reclining on a rock I think I might lose my lunch!

Not sure if they sell or not, certainly not as much as they are viewed. You would think thou that the more people who look at the work the better chance you have at sales.

Rolleiflexible
08-24-2008, 09:32 PM
I actually do not really consider them nudes, more like realistic portraits. It is sort of a honesty thing in my eyes. If I photograph a baseball player I might include his bat or his glove or his uniform or all of the above. If you photograph a sex worker, the product they sell is their body so to not show the body seems somehow like your not taking an honest portrait or that you might be limiting the reality of what the portrait could be. What I tend to do is shoot clothed and unclothed but it seems that most times the best pictures involve partial or total nudity, not sure why but it does, maybe it fits into the visually strong thing from the original post.

Photographing a lover would have a more sexual emotional feel to it for the photographer but lover photos can also be rather coldish (Robert Mapplethorpe, Edward Weston). I just look at the nudity in my photography as functional and honest to the reality of the subjects.


But that begs the question.
Why do you choose subjects
that require nudity?

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 09:50 PM
But that begs the question.
Why do you choose subjects
that require nudity?

For me I would say it is a curiosity thing, especially this last series on ladyboys. Trying to figure who they are, what there lives are like why they are the way the are. If on the other hand your doing a series of portraits of a lover it is not like your seeking nudity out, it is part of the flow of an honest loving relationships, so your just recording the reality of your lives together.

It also a search to find subjects for portraiture which are visually strong.

Richard Avedon said that what he looked for in a portrait subject was "Someone who held a wall" which meant he looked for subjects that were visually and emotionally strong, subjects that would hold the viewers eye in the gallery or museum. They could not leave, they had to stare and think and stare some more. A strong visual subject could draw and hold the viewer.

I think part of my reason for shooting ladyboys is a curiosity into who they are, the other part is trying to find subjects that I am in interested in and that will hold the wall.

Maris
08-24-2008, 10:10 PM
I think responses to nudity are shaped by the circumstances and frequency of experiences in which nudity is encountered.

For a lot of people encountering others nude is limited to sexual or sensual situations. And the number of nude "others" is relatively few.

Contrast this with the alternative. Here at Noosa Heads is a beach used by unclad people and I have photographed nudes there many times. After seeing thousands of nude people, old, young, fat, thin over many years I can report to you that nudity and sexuality are not inherently linked. Attractive people are attractive whether they are clad or not and jerks are still jerks.

That famous (notorious?) photographer Spencer Tunick who specialises in installations of hundreds or thousands of nude figures in urban settings is trafficking in something but I bet it's not sex or sensuality. I reckon he is using the nude in an unfamiliar setting for its transgressive potential. And good luck to him.

Beyond sexual, sensual, or transgressive I think the power of the nude in visual art is drawn from its capacity to address the human condition. If you want to make a general statement about humanity, good, bad, ugly or beautiful then the nude is an ideal form. The plain nude figure stands outside the context of time, place, and personal identification.

Along with the capacity of the nude to address general themes it also offers an uncomfortable personal reminder that it is basically what we are: skin and bone vulnerable to the terrors and pleasures of everyday existence.

phaedrus
08-24-2008, 10:26 PM
If the question is why do pictures with nudity on them generate more primary appeal than those with any other subject, the answer surely is: it's our egoistical genes having us respond to a stimulus that promises procreation and thereby the immortality of those selfsame genes.
Aesthetic and sociological ruminations come later.

Bill Mitchell
08-24-2008, 10:27 PM
"We're all going straight to hell," (Woody Allen, Radio Days.)

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 10:47 PM
Along with the capacity of the nude to address general themes it also offers an uncomfortable personal reminder that it is basically what we are: skin and bone vulnerable to the terrors and pleasures of everyday existence.


One of the my friends who views nude work often brought up that word also VULNERABLE.....

Maybe that is why those images from the contacts stand out, especially for the subjects I have more compassion for (lady sex workers).

I think you have something there, photographing someone nude shows their vulnerabilty and ours also.

If you want to make a portrait that shows compassion and vulnerabilty for the subject then if you do it right the nudity can help do that.

gerryyaum
08-24-2008, 10:52 PM
If the question is why do pictures with nudity on them generate more primary appeal than those with any other subject, the answer surely is: it's our egoistical genes having us respond to a stimulus that promises procreation and thereby the immortality of those selfsame genes.
Aesthetic and sociological ruminations come later.

wow...not sure what to say to that..

so it's our genes trying to reproduce themselves? hmm have to blame the procreation/egoistical genes thingy the next time I surf and the wife looks over my shoulder.

Thanks : )

jnanian
08-24-2008, 11:05 PM
One of the my friends who views nude work often brought up that word also VULNERABLE.....

Maybe that is why those images from the contacts stand out, especially for the subjects I have more compassion for (lady sex workers).

I think you have something there, photographing someone nude shows their vulnerabilty and ours also.

If you want to make a portrait that shows compassion and vulnerabilty for the subject then if you do it right the nudity can help do that.

the people you photograph are some of the most vulnerable in
society. their job is very dangerous on many different levels.
their being photographed without clothing, while it shows them
for who they are, it also shows us there is nothing protecting them
from the people they service. i don't know if it shows our vulnerability,
other than we too are human &C ... and we too can be on the street
if something drastic ( or maybe not so drastic ) happens, and who
knows what we might be forced to do to survive ...

gerryyaum
08-25-2008, 12:21 AM
the people you photograph are some of the most vulnerable in
society. their job is very dangerous on many different levels.
their being photographed without clothing, while it shows them
for who they are, it also shows us there is nothing protecting them
from the people they service. i don't know if it shows our vulnerability,
other than we too are human &C ... and we too can be on the street
if something drastic ( or maybe not so drastic ) happens, and who
knows what we might be forced to do to survive ...

yes true, thanks very much for contributing

Ken Nadvornick
08-25-2008, 12:52 AM
Are people just so concerned with seeing others naked? Curiosity? Is it a sexual thing? Or does including nudity make a image more visually strong?

Five million years of evolution is a tough thing to ignore...

Ken