Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash
Nude photography is controversial. After all, there are powerful photographers who abuse models under the guise of “nude photography.” Why would anyone want to put themselves through that?
Plus, is there really a difference between nude photography and porn?
Despite the fact that nude photography is a hot-button topic, I would argue it is a true art form and very different from the stuff you see in “adult films.”
Here are the top three reasons why people do nude photography, and if you think you may be interested in trying this photography niche, make sure to check out our complete nude photography guide for in-depth tips.
To Convey Deep Human Emotions
photo by simonapilolla via iStock
Nude photography is about more than the nude human form. It’s about intimacy. It’s about emotion.
When you take a model’s clothing away, you take away any pretensions about who that person is or who that person wants to be. The only thing that is left is their body.
Nude photography is especially challenging because of this. If your model isn’t practiced, it can be hard to draw these deeper emotions out of them, which is great practice for other forms of photography.
If your model is practiced, though, you can do just one shoot that covers a range of feelings that deeply resonate with your audience.
To Rebel Against Society’s Standards
Nude photography began as a way for photographers to rebel against the society they were living in. It began in the 1800s, but really took off in the early 1900s when photographers (who often posed for their own photographs) were sick of living in a society where they were given strict instructions about how they should live.
By throwing all ideas of modesty away, these photographers were obviously rebelling against explicit societal norms, but they were also able to comment on implicit norms, or standards nobody really talked about.
Sure, they were posing naked which was seen as immoral, but they were also making statements about religion and questioning what morality really meant if the basis of morality is hiding your true self.
Since this time, nude photography has obviously evolved, as has society. But, the root of this type of photography remains quite the same.
I wrote about a “Bonnie and Clyde” photographer and model duo who were arrested outside of the Vatican last year for posing nude. The two were trying to make a statement about the abuse that has been uncovered inside of the Catholic Church.
For me, this is one of the truest forms of rebellion.
To Reclaim the Female Body
photo by Staras via iStock
Another reason why people participate in nude photography is that they are trying to reclaim the female body. The “male gaze” has long afflicted women in many industries, including photography. When men are the only ones taking photographs, women are portrayed as men want them to be.
By getting rid of specific clothing, hair and makeup to pose nude, women are exploring how they want to be seen. Fine art nude photography is more about expressing emotions.
Instead of covering up stretch marks or shaving their body hair, women are using nude photography to argue that they, too, are imperfect, and that it’s okay.