"Art" or "staring at breasts?"
January 29, 2015 6:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm a visual artist, and recently I've been feeling the urge to photograph nudes, male and female. Whilst I don't have any issues with male nudes, I seem to be getting hung up on past experiences when it comes to the female nudes. Help me understand what is due to the past and what is actually a genuine problem with what it is that I want to do (details inside).

I've done plenty of photography work before (I'm mostly a painter and filmmaker, but I came to filmmaking via still photography and I still have a love for it). I've shot fashion and conceptual stuff; I've shot up to "implied" nude (i.e. the model might be topless but their nipples are hidden).

I can't get out of my head that, whilst shooting male nudes is fine, shooting female nudes is just a sign that I'm a big old pervert and that I'm just doing it for my own gratification (no matter how much I tell myself I'm not doing).

Part of this, I'm sure, stems from my now-dissolved marriage. My wife was fine with the idea of me shooting female subjects and would often come along and help out on my shoots, but she had very strong ideas about nudity, mostly:

- Any guy who shoots nudes just wants to see naked girls.
- Shooting nudes leads to the photographer screwing the models
- No self-resepecting woman would model nude
- Nude photography of women is driven by the patriarchy and is inherently sexual
- There's no such thing as "art nude"; there's just varying levels of porn
- Were I to shoot with a nude model, that model would later accuse me of sexual assault.

Now, whilst I don't agree with her on all or even most of those points, I find myself wondering: Is the nude in art inherently sexual? I have no sexual feelings about shooting nudes whatsoever, male or female (I'm straight, FWIW). I often attend life drawing classes with nude models and never feel even the remotest stirring of anything at all, and I should imaging that making photographs of nudes would be much the same: i.e. concentrating on light and shadow and shape and composition.

My current S.O. is perfectly happy for me to follow these ideas; she's been very supportive (she's an artist herself, often models nude for art classes, and is the least body-shy person I know). But for some reason my ex's words echo in my head: that to do this I must be a pervert or wannabe pornographer, that it's not really art and that I can only be doing it for titillation. There are enough naked photos in the world, my ex's voice tells me; I'd not be doing anything new so it can't be artistic.

I guess what I'm asking is this: can a straight man legitimately photograph naked women for artistic reasons, or am I really just expressing some deep seated urge to see boobs? Can one identify as a feminist (as I do) and make artisitic pictures of naked women? And if I am just out to see boobs, why can't I just look on the internet like a normal pervert?
posted by six sided sock to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I guess what I'm asking is this: can a straight man legitimately photograph naked women for artistic reasons, or am I really just expressing some deep seated urge to see boobs?

You are an artist. This is something you've done before and you have other things you've done that point to this not being just a ploy to seeing breasts.

Can one identify as a feminist (as I do) and make artisitic pictures of naked women?

Of course. The women who would be posing will be doing with their fully informed consent. Treat them well and be upfront with what you plan to do with the finished product and everything is groovy.

Hell, you could be a pornographer and still be a feminist. The two are not mutually exclusive.

And if I am just out to see boobs, why can't I just look on the internet like a normal pervert?

Because you're not. You're just feeling shame that someone else projected on you.

The nude in art is not inherently sexual, but they can be and there's nothing wrong with that, too. But while you're on the shoot, you're to remain professional and there's nothing you've said here which leads me to believe you have done anything untoward or plan to be the stereotypical "guy with camera".

You say your wife was fine with you shooting nudes, but nothing you said after that supports this contention. She had very strange ideas about what it was, who the models were and what kind of person you must be for shooting nudes - none of which I agree with.
posted by inturnaround at 6:19 AM on January 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


Your wife's logic is skewed- if what she says is true then you would want to have sex with everyone and everything that you photograph. A curve is a curve and a shadow is a shadow. Congratulations on your divorce.
posted by myselfasme at 6:20 AM on January 29, 2015 [11 favorites]


I think it's important to say right away that only you will ultimately know the answer. This is individual. But.
First, much in art has a sexual component, not only the explicit, and oftentimes this is just okay. Art is about life, one could argue.
Second, anyone can "see boobs" so that argument doesn't ring true. You go to the bookstore and spend a few bucks for that pleasure, if you're so inclined. Not everyone can make good photographs that show the inherent beauty of the human body, though.
posted by Namlit at 6:20 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


People photograph what they like to look at, for the most part. Nudes are complicated, because they're not inanimate objects, but they're also not a subject that photographers haven't been using since the invention of film. With consent on the part of you and the models and a completely businesslike relationship during the shoot, I don't see why you should feel any guilt about filming nudes, especially given that your current partner has no issues with it.
posted by xingcat at 6:35 AM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Most of the nudes I see are of conventionally attractive women in their early twenties. If that's what you're planning on doing, I would probably raise an eyebrow and wonder about your motivation.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:41 AM on January 29, 2015 [30 favorites]


But for some reason my ex's words echo in my head: that to do this I must be a pervert or wannabe pornographer, that it's not really art and that I can only be doing it for titillation.

Maybe unpack this a bit? The way this is phrased, I think you know it to be false. It more or less can't be true, on the face of it. But there is some reason it's sticking in your head and I think it is worth seeing if there is some element of truth that's making it hard to dismiss, even something that's not on the literal level.

My own experience? I've done a ton of figure drawing; we had nude models at my high school. I've also modeled for people a few times. And-- again in my experience-- sometimes there is a sexual component. There's a fair amount of fiction written about photographers for whom the process is part of their sex life. If that's you, or there is a possibility it's you or that it might become so, that is something to consider. And not all partners would have a problem with that either.

But something is not sitting completely well with you; maybe it's just unfinished business with your former partner or maybe it's something else. I always think these uncomfortable things are fruitful to explore.
posted by BibiRose at 6:47 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you need to persuade yourself that this isn't just a desire to see naked people, maybe you could accept and make peace with that possibility and give yourself permission to go look at a lot of naked people in a non-artistic setting. If you still want to do the art project, then you will know that you actually want to make art.
posted by steinwald at 6:50 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


you might find it easier to get over this hump if you seek out models who are not 23 and completely fit and toned. maybe put an ad out for 50 year old women who want to be photographed nude as a milestone, or find a woman wanting to photograph her progression through an illness or weightloss. try to find subjects that would be interesting more than titillating at first so you can really just concentrate on the light and shadows of it.
posted by nadawi at 6:53 AM on January 29, 2015 [44 favorites]


Glad to see you're moving on from your ex-wife. She was not good to you. I remember your username and I've wondered about you.

I still hear my abusive ex talking to me in my head too. People like him and like your ex wife do that. They worm in and it's so hard to exorcise them.

When this happens I say "hi, I don't want you in my life anymore" to him and I just dismiss the thoughts. Don't listen to your ex-wife's words.

The question of whether or not taking nude photos is important to ask and think about but no need to beat yourself up. That's your ex-wife talking! It's good to get advice about doing this ethically and not doing it for the wrong reasons.

I hope your ex wife is not involved in your life in any way anymore. People like that have to be excised.

Godspeed.
posted by sockermom at 6:59 AM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


Leonard Nimoy's comments on photographing nudes might be interesting for you.
posted by bunderful at 7:15 AM on January 29, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think these thoughts are less about you and your motivations than about what a lot of other people will think about your motivations.

By people who don't know you, or understand clearly the actual forces behind your work, you may be mentally classed with a number of less-than-savory dudes (including even people marketing clothes, like the Abercrombie & Fitch guy -- not just the I-have-a-van-come-see-my-etchings-you-could-be-a-model folks).

Can you communicate clearly why you are drawn to doing this kind of art? If so, maybe that would help.
posted by amtho at 7:16 AM on January 29, 2015


I think it might be useful, both personally and artistically, to pay attention to what feelings are coming up for you as you think about this project and as you work on the project, if you pursue it. If it is only sexual (which may be slightly hard to separate from sensual) for you as an individual -- as opposed to trying to psychoanalyze the entire genre -- then maybe rethink it. I think the suggestion to use models without conventional lingerie-model body types is a great one.

I also remember your past questions about your ex-wife, though, and I think it's going to be even more useful to remember that she expressed her anxiety in highly manipulative ways designed to push your buttons and that you are likely going to be spending a fair amount of time excising that button-pushing voice of anxiety from your head. Being able to recognize that your doubts are not really your doubts as much as they are the doubts that your ex instilled in your head is a really great start, and being able to question their validity (as you're doing here) is a wonderful next step.
posted by jaguar at 7:18 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems that much of this predicates on the idea that enjoying looking at nudes is a "bad thing". It's not. Whether due to biology or culture, many people enjoy looking at naked people (and yes, especially attractive ones), and that is a-ok. It doesn't make you the photographer, or the person viewing your work, a pervert.

If you start with that, does that make it easier?
posted by eas98 at 7:29 AM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


No self-resepecting woman would model nude

I used to feel that way once too, even as I self-identified as a feminist. But I've grown up a bit, and grown more comfortable with my body, and I understand now that choosing to model nude can be very empowering. It's a deeply personal choice for anyone to model nude, man or woman.
posted by cabingirl at 7:35 AM on January 29, 2015


I notice that you bring up a comparison between nude men and nude women. You seem to be particularly conflicted, because of this comparison: why should you be uncomfortable photographing women but not men? And, on its surface, that definitely seems like a worthy question. On its surface, as myselfasme says, a curve is a curve: it's all just nipples and muscle and fat deposits, just organized differently.

But you have to keep in mind how a piece of art fits within a wider context. You're an artist, so probably none of this is new to you, but just let me get to my point... The Mona Lisa is an important piece of art, not so much because of what it is (a woman barely smiling) but instead because of how it related to the pieces that came before it and the general cultural expectations for women, expressions of emotion, and artistic representations that surrounded it. You can make the same sort of point about any piece: what separates out a six year-old's scribble from a postmodern masterpiece is the artist's relationship to a particular cultural backdrop. In general, what is a piece of art and what a piece of art means is influenced pretty dang significantly by the surrounding cultural and social atmosphere.

So, note, the culture in which you're taking nude photographs understands the nudity of men to be radically different from the nudity of women. The culture in which you're presenting your photographs has almost no capacity to understand a woman's body as anything other than a sex object, an item for male sexual consumption. A man's body can be presented as any number of different things: as a symbol for weakness or strength, for humility or pride, for intimacy or self-sufficiency. What it means to photograph a naked man, in our culture, is far different from what it means to photograph a naked woman. And, unfortunately, in our culture, it is extremely, extremely difficult for photographing a naked woman to mean anything other than "omg boobies."

But, at the same time: you're an artist. Part of your job--part of your responsibility to us, as a culture--is to help change the meaning of our symbols, of our cultural precepts, of how we do and can represent ourselves. Part of your task, as a photographer, is to tear asunder the stagnant and unjust limitations of our cultural imagination. It is possible for you to photograph a nude woman without it being just yet another presentation of a female body as sexual object. But it's damn hard. It's challenging. It's something that likely takes a lot of thought, a lot of effort, and also probably a fair amount of aesthetic luck.

What all the above is my attempt to get to this: I think you need to consider how your intentions as an artist fit into a larger cultural context. I think you need to consider how the aesthetic projects you're undertaking, in photographing a woman's body, relate to the oppressive cultural context in which you've developed those aesthetic projects. You can present women's bodies as nude in an artistic context and not have it be pornographic... but given the culture we live in, you, as artist, have to actively fight against extremely powerful cultural forces that twist just about any representation of nude women into objects fit only for pornography.

Up for the challenge? I hope so. Fight the good fight. Photograph women, photograph them nude, but make your photographs force a narrative of power, of personality, of humanness. Make sure your photographs make valuable changes to the cultural landscape surrounding artistic representations and women's bodies.
posted by meese at 7:38 AM on January 29, 2015 [40 favorites]


Meese is right.

I think, yes, photographing beautiful young women's bodies is part of the objectification continuum. I don't think it makes the photographer evil or a pornographer or makes the model anything but a professional supplying a commodity; but "this woman is an object for you to ogle" is what it is. So if you don't want to be on that continuum, make sure you are conveying something else with your photography.

An unconventional choice of model would be a good start, but is not enough in itself -- nudes of fat or old people can be just as objectifying.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:54 AM on January 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


No self-resepecting woman would model nude

I just want to provide a counter-anecdote as someone who models nude occasionally. For me, it's less about the empowering-ness of being naked in a room of people (I mean, that's cool too, but I just mostly don't have much of a nudity taboo), and more about the fact that I get to inspire creation in other people. My very existence means that art is created, and that's endlessly special to me. So, at least from my perspective, it's less about sex or even self-respect and more about being a part of the creative process.
posted by kalimac at 8:07 AM on January 29, 2015 [9 favorites]


I think if you have a strong aesthetic/creative vision towards shooting a female nude here or there, go for it.

There are a lot of creative pursuits that can be seen as a sort of slippery slope towards OMG PORN. Whether it's art that features nude people or sexually suggestive compositions, films with graphic sex scenes (is Shortbus porn?), sexually frank fiction, especially phallic sculptures, whatever. The bottom line is, what is your creative vision here? Are you intending to make wank material*, or do you have a creative force that goes beyond that?

I would also say, beyond your concerns about being a dirty lech or whatever, that it might be worth keeping in mind that nude women are kind of... done, as an artistic subject. Especially in photography. I have an illustrator friend who draws female nudes, and I don't think he's an oversexed pornographer or anything, but those are not his best work, in my opinion. There's nothing terribly interesting about them, or different from what a thousand other illustrators who draw nude women. What do you have to say about the nude female form, as an artist, that hasn't been said a million times already? There's a huge difference between Robert Mapplethorpe's portraits of female body builders and your average dude shooting nudie pics nobody will ever care about. Do you really want to be in the latter camp?

*Keep in mind that there's a difference between making wank material and people wanking to your work. The latter is not something you really have control over.
posted by Sara C. at 8:22 AM on January 29, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also, FWIW, I don't think that the mere act of taking a picture of a topless woman is "objectifying". Though I would filter that through the "what am I trying to say with this picture" and "am I doing anything new or different here" filters.
posted by Sara C. at 8:39 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


You might want to check out Irving Penn's Earthly Bodies, if you've not seen those nudes before. If you're going to shoot nudes, shoot them like Penn did — show us something new, something we don't usually see, something that stops us in our tracks and makes us look. What can you say about the nude female body that's not been said?

Go and shoot that.
posted by culfinglin at 8:42 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sex is very important. It's absolutely central to life itself. It's an entirely valid artistic concern. If you plumb the depths of your soul and realize that a part of you just wants to look at boobs, then I don't think there's anything wrong with that. As long as you're being totally upfront with your models about the themes you're exploring with your work, then it shouldn't be a problem.
posted by sam_harms at 8:55 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


From I Capture the Castle:
"And two of the men I sit for are abroad," she went on, "and I don't like working for Macmorris."

"Why not?" asked Rose. "He pays better than the others, doesn't he?"

"So he ought, considering how rich he is," said Topaz. "But I dislike sitting for him because he only paints my head. Your father says that the men who paint me nude paint my body and think of their job, but that Macmorris paints my head and thinks of my body. And it's perfectly true. I've had more trouble with him than I should care to let your father know."
posted by michaelh at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2015 [5 favorites]


You like photographing nudes; I like making linocuts of fantastical birds and illustrating scenes from the Ramayana. Who's to say whose motives are purer? Just do the work. Get enthusiastic informed consent, then just go and do the work. Sara C points out above that choosing a subject as well-explored as the female nude may make it hard to find an original or especially insightful approach. I tend to agree, but that's no reason for you not to try. I very much hope you ignore the above advice to consider "the oppressive cultural context in which you've developed those aesthetic projects" first - that way lies paralysis*. It's the job of the critic** to challenge and critique your work when and if you get to the point where you display it. In the meanwhile I say go ahead. Do the work. Make sure your models and crew are treated with respect and get paid a decent wage. Then go and do your work. As for me, I can't even begin to judge the quality (let alone moral content) of my work until I've finished it and hidden it away for a long while. Usually it's not as bad as I think, but that's only because I hold myself to very low standards.

*Of course you could decide to make deliberately banal self-referential capital-A Art about the gaze and subject/object relations, which often seems for some reason to involve painting Kleenex boxes white, sticking them on the wall, and selling them for $60k - not that there's anything wrong with that - but typically that racket involves rich parents and/or an MFA from Yale.

**If you're lucky. Most of us have to make do with our own bad judgement and barely-interested knee-jerk responses from family and friends
posted by jcrcarter at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2015


Any guy who shoots nudes just wants to see naked girls.
- Shooting nudes leads to the photographer screwing the models
- No self-resepecting woman would model nude
- Nude photography of women is driven by the patriarchy and is inherently sexual
- There's no such thing as "art nude"; there's just varying levels of porn
- Were I to shoot with a nude model, that model would later accuse me of sexual assault.


So, this is all stuff you seem to have (at least partially) picked up from your ex.

But now you have someone very close to you who is also a woman and who clearly has no small amount of life experience with being an art model. Have you had any serious conversations with her about the topic and the above ideas?
posted by soundguy99 at 10:16 AM on January 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


I often attend life drawing classes with nude models and never feel even the remotest stirring of anything at all, and I should imaging that making photographs of nudes would be much the same: i.e. concentrating on light and shadow and shape and composition.

Dude, you have answered your own question. Trust yourself and not your ex-wife's shametastic and manipulative hangups.

There are enough naked photos in the world, my ex's voice tells me; I'd not be doing anything new so it can't be artistic.

There is nothing new under the sun, but this is not a reason to stop making art. Good grief, if you let the idea of "this must be new!" drive your art, well...that often leads to some pretty boringly trying-too-hard art that is also not really very "new" after all.

You don't need to justify to the world why you deserve to use nudes in your work. And purposefully picking less-conventionally-attractive models just to avoid the spectre of your own titillation is not necessarily any less objectifying of an attitude than photographing fit 23-year olds. But this is all probably pretty moot, because you undoubtedly already know from drawing from life models that the most "perfect" bodies are not necessarily the most interesting artistically.
posted by desuetude at 10:32 AM on January 29, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm a woman. I was sexually abused as a child. Art and literature that deal with nudity and sexuality were important to my recovery process and continue to be important to my personal growth. I am now 49. I was, by most accounts, a very beautiful child and young woman. I have serious health problems and I have been homeless for the last 3 years. I have been celibate for a long time for medical reasons. I am of an age where I begin to wonder if anyone will want me ever again once I am well enough for sex to make sense. So I still have questions I struggle with. Even in cases where I feel I have done a good job of putting down old baggage, I find myself needing support to deal with new baggage more recently acquired. Age and poverty have taken their toll on my self image. So there is still a need in my life for art and music and literature that can help me see myself in positive terms.

When I was in therapy in my twenties, I wrote my own erotica and I drew my own nude self portraits. I did this as part of my healing process. One big, important moment in therapy for me was when I told my therapist that a vagina looked to me like an open wound. He told me some people compare them to flowers. That was shocking to me and very eye opening.

There are enough naked photos in the world, my ex's voice tells me; I'd not be doing anything new so it can't be artistic.

About two years ago, while homeless and celibate for medical reasons, I went through a period where I tried to find imagery and song snippets and the like to put on a Posterous account to try to express certain sexual and emotional things. I found it very challenging to find good imagery online that captured or expressed what I wanted to try to express. You can find, for example, countless pictures involving blow jobs, but most of them are not art. Most of them are, in my opinion, pretty disgusting. Most of them are something I find repellent. There was an extremely short list of images online that appealed to me in that regard. There was an extremely short list of things that I found tasteful, beautiful, not pornographic, something uplifting and something that expressed intimacy and pleasure between two consenting adults.

So I strongly disagree that just because there are many nude photos out there that your particular take on it provides nothing "new." If you have something to say about humanity with your camera, I would like to have the chance to know what that is and judge for myself if it is just more of the same ole, same ole or whether it was exactly the insight I needed to move myself forward another step.

I can't quite put my finger on who said it or the exact quote, but someone has made the point that sometimes the only thing of value you have to bring to the table is your point of view. I think that is the single most valuable thing an artist brings to the table: Their point of view. You can't know what specific things about your point of view are different from that of other people without at least trying to capture it somehow. You may never know exactly what is different about your point of view that is of value to another. We all have trouble seeing ourselves objectively and with clear comparison to what is "normal" or standard.

People who think vaginas look like flowers may think that is "obvious." They may not understand how big of a deal it is to share that framing with someone who saw only pain and suffering in their sexuality for a long time -- who saw their own vagina as looking like an open wound.

If you need to blog about it or journal about it or wonder what you think, see and feel, do so. But please don't let the extra work involved in dealing with your feelings about the work stop you from pursuing your art.

I will also suggest that one of the ways in which women are oppressed is by being kept invisible. One actress has suggested that perhaps there is a connection between the fact that only 17% of CEOs are women and the fact that 17% of individuals in crowds in movies are women. So I think photographing men but not women does a bigger disservice to women than risking the possibility of accidentally focusing overly much only on women of a certain socially acceptable look. Making us taboo to even look it is a far larger obstacle to us than making us feel pressured to fit a particular image of beauty. Literally leaving us out of the picture entirely robs us of oxygen to an extreme degree. It is far, far worse than wondering if we are thin enough or busty enough or pretty enough.
posted by Michele in California at 10:45 AM on January 29, 2015 [6 favorites]


In your situation, with especially with these doubts, I guess I would just think very deeply about about not doing the same old thing, and see what strikes a creative chord. For example, you could pose as a nude model for photography and find inspiration in how that feels and how you would do it differently on the other end of the lens. Or you could make diptychs (you and model) of yourself posing in the same way you ask a model to pose, and this could be a progressive series, as you maybe (or maybe not!) change your thoughts about what makes a good nude photo.

You could choose to shoot loving couples of any orientation who would be willing to pose nude together in a nonporno "this is how we love each other" way. You could ask for male and female models who are willing to have you photograph them showing the thing they like least about their bodies, and shoot that in the most beautiful, affirming way. You could try to get families who are willing to be photographed nude together. You could ask for individual professional male and female models to submit their own tableaux of how they would like to be photographed (I would be fascinated!), and make that a series. You could ask your models, male and female, to bring one thing with them that is close to their heart and create fantastic photos incorporating that sentimental object. You could ask for models to pose interacting with their pets, or holding a photo of their own favorite photo of a nude... or so many things!

These are just quick examples of a few ideas that could make a photo or series or set of photos clearly less about objectifying a body, and more about exploring and celebrating humanity, and also rewarding as an artist and photographer and someone who cares about being non-exploitative.
posted by taz at 1:04 PM on January 29, 2015


Any guy who shoots nudes just wants to see naked girls.
- Shooting nudes leads to the photographer screwing the models
- No self-resepecting woman would model nude
- Were I to shoot with a nude model, that model would later accuse me of sexual assault.


My ex did a lot of nude modeling and photography of nude models, and so I have a ton of secondhand knowledge from both her and other models.

The basic summary for all of the above is: "sometimes, but not always".
1) These definitely exist (the term I'm used to is "GWC" or "Guy With Camera", who is usually more interested in having a nude model around than actually producing art). But its not every guy, and the models get a good sense of what someone's motivation and interests are.
2) Again, this happens of course but not the vast majority of the time. And is completely under your control :)
3) Definitely not true, most of the women I knew had no issues with this.
4) Its possible, of course. There are plenty of he-said/she-said stories in the community. But if you're a drama-free person with reasonable intentions, its extremely unlikely.

If you're not familiar with it, check out Model Mayhem. The forums there are full of information, stories, drama, and so on.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:25 PM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


My god. Mefites never, ever fail to astound me with the breadth and depth of their thoughts. Thank you so much, everyone, for helping me think some more about this.

I wish I had time to respond to everyone individually right now, but I don’t. I will say the following, though:

A lot of this is very much about the ideas that my ex put in my head, yes. There’s no denying that (and I knew that anyway; I just couldn’t sort those thoughts from my thoughts, which made things awkward. Whilst I have no intention of just shoot fit-and-healthy twenty somethings, I also know now that I shouldn’t feel guilty about photographing those subjects; I just need to know what it is that I’m trying to say in those pictures.

And that’s the key thing that I’ll take away from your answers (aside from “no, you’re not a pervert” (thank you :)) is that what really matters to me here is saying something with my what I do, rather than just shooting nudes for shooting nudes’ sake (though sometimes, I think, it’s perfectly acceptable to make a particular picture that’s in my head because it’s aesthetically pleasing… but that’s not why I make art in general).

It occurs to me that I’m beanplating a lot in this question, and I guess that’s because I’m an inveterate people-pleaser and don’t want to be seen as Yet Another Guy With a Camera. Add onto that the years of being judged for Every Little Thing I did and it does tend to skew your thinking somewhat.
So I guess what I’m saying is this: I’m going to go and make pictures. And if I have to sit and think for a while about the whys and wherefores of the picture I’m making (and I may) then that’s okay. But Michele in California’s words will resonate with me:
If you need to blog about it or journal about it or wonder what you think, see and feel, do so. But please don’t let the extra work involved in dealing with your feelings about the work stop you from pursuing your art.
Thanks again all. You’re fantastic.
posted by six sided sock at 9:16 AM on January 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nudity != sex
I'd like to suggest that a very good way of sorting out ones feelings about that, is to spend some time [a couple of weeks at least] living a nudist lifestyle [with other people].

After a while, nudity becomes so non-exceptional that the socialised concept of "nude, therefore sex", will start to fade away, and you can start to see people [clothed and nude] as they really are.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 5:31 PM on February 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


« Older How to upgrade a laptop SSD?   |   Help me find a new favorite bra. *sigh* Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.