This is a multi-part post on photographing fine art nudes. Due to the nature of the topic some people may find this topic offensive. So if you are underage or feel uncomfortable with this topics you may want to skip this post. Several readers have expressed interest in this particular photographing fine-art-nudes. So here’s a post covering the subject in its entirety. The post shall be published in several parts and here’s Part I of this post.
- Artistic Expression vs. Profane: If you are just starting, there are good chances that the works may have little or barely noticeable dimension of art. Thus you run the risk of having your hard-work mistaken for profanity. Try to make the art obvious. And one way to do this is by intellectualizing. Getting started along the right path shall help you get along with the initial phase which may not be an easy one. As a photographer you must build the imagination and foresight to be able to overlook the realm of color and reality and visualize the subject in the context of aesthetics and artistic expression.
- The Model: If you are starting out, hiring an experienced model with help ease the air of tension and stress which builds around when working on intimate poses with a stranger. Additionally it will also give you an opportunity to draw from the experience of the model help you get started.
- Interpersonal Communication With The Model: Keep the communication open, light yet professional. This shall ease up the model and make them comfortable working with you. Small talk helps. Also ensure that the model is physically comfortable in the environment so ensure proper room temperature etc. Remember they are working without any cover to their body.
- The Modal Release Agreement: The modal release agreement defines the copyright usage, exceptions to it and other declarations and agreement between the photographer and the model. This is a legal document and the details should be worked out in consultation with a lawyer. The model release is signed on a per session basis. Nude photographs can be a subject of litigation for several reasons including “invasion of privacy”. Ensure that the legalese is proper and avoid working with under-aged models in all circumstances.
- The Landscape: The human body is analogous to a landscape in more than one ways. Visualize the human body and explore your subject from various angles. Pose them against various angles and quality of light to realize the potential of a work of art.
- Sensuality: The human body as a living (and lively) subject can be very expressive. Experimenting with the expressions of the sensuality of the human body can bring out some creative and interesting results. Try to explore the feel and intensity of the human skin, the hair strands, the texture to the liveliness of the human.
- Plan the Session: Plan your session in advance in preparation of the shooting. Most of the times during such occasions, creativity doesn’t yield the expected results easily and it requires some getting used to and quite some vision and foresight. Keep scope for creativity in your planned session as you never know when creative ideas strike.
- Expression: Expressions add life to a photograph. Eyes are the most expressive part of the human body and when combined with the complete human frame the intensity of the expression is enhanced. Expression is the communication — the language of any art-form. The more expressive your photographs, the more interesting and impressive they come out to be.
- Use Black & White: Black and white helps you overlook the explicit and look into the world of aesthetics. It rules out most distractions that can be intrusive and kill the artistic expression of a work. Thus subtle qualities like reflections, contrast, etc. get highlighted thereby enhancing the quality of the photographic-work. Eliminating the color also helps keep the distractions to the viewer’s eye to a minimum while bringing focus to the subject.
- Motherhood: Motherhood is an special occasion for the human body. Such phases give you an opportunity to capture and portray the human body from a unique perspective. There is a lot of emotion and life to such works when executed efficiently. Additionally photographs of pregnancy and motherhood are more welcomed and well received than the fine art works of nudity often because of cultural outlook of the societies.
Now that we are through with the basics, we’ll be exploring a lot of technique and skill in the upcoming part of this series. We hope you find this post informative and we welcome you to provide your inputs and point out omissions if any for the sake of completeness. Keep watching this space and if you like do subscribe to keep up with the latest posts here.
And then I misspelled “rapport”!