But that begs the question.
Why do you choose subjects
that require nudity?
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.
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.
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.
"We're all going straight to hell," (Woody Allen, Radio Days.)
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.
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 ...