Ok, so, I recently read an article that was posted quite some time ago on TheFrisky.Com, entitled “Girl Talk: Confessions of a Nude Model“. A response in the comment section on that post directed me to read a response to that article which was written and posted to her blog by another model who also poses nude, titled: “Confessions of a Nude Model: A Wee Rantette.” Both were very interesting reads. The latter much more so than the former, imo.
As a photographer who has been shooting nudes for close to two decades, I thought I’d offer a few quick thoughts from my side of the shutter. Of course, I’m just one photographer, and can only offer personal perspective. I don’t know, with certainty, what other photographers do, nor how they operate, in their own studios when I’m not there. But, I know what I do and how I operate. And, I know what other photographers have told me, and what the hundreds of models I’ve photographed nude over the years have told me. So, that’s something, no? Well… whatever.
As I’ve mentioned before on this site, I use nudity a lot in my artistic photographic work. Over close to twenty years, I’ve worked with hundreds of nude models. So, inspired by those two above mentioned articles, from my own perspective, here are some opinions on nude modeling from my side of the lens — some of them might seem somewhat cold and harsh… I dunno… maybe I’m an ass? But, I’m not going to candy coat anything. And, the following is not directed at any way at either of the authors of the two articles mentioned, nor, necessarily, specifically at what they wrote. Those articles just inspired me to offer my own opinions on certain things touched on in those articles, and from other places I’ve seen on the internet, in other articles, or chat forums, or what not. So, here’s some of my thoughts in that regard:
Number one: As a nude model, you’re not that special. Get over yourself and deal with it. I need nudity in my image for the artistic character it provides. I don’t need YOUR nudity, specifically. If you’re willing to pose nude, you have a look that works for the particular shot I’m going for, and you’re pleasant to work with, then I’ll welcome the chance to work with you to get the shots I’m after. If you’re not every one of those things, I’ll go to the next person. Your willingness to take off your clothes and let me photograph you isn’t some great, special gift to me. You aren’t some rare and precious commodity. Except, perhaps, entirely to yourself and in your own mind, you’re not making any great sacrifice of which I need to be in awe and reverence, and for which I must be unyieldingly grateful. Clothes on; clothes off — same thing; big whoop. If you’re willing and right for the job, I’ll hire you and we’ll work together. If you’re not, I’ll find someone who is. It’s just a nude body — I’ve stood in the presence of hundreds of them — it’s almost assured that many were more impressive than yours. …Harsh? Maybe. Truthful? Yes.
Number two: I don’t want to have sex with you. Really. I actually and truly don’t. Look; I’m not going to lie — I’m an artist. I have a great appreciation for all things beautiful. The nude female form is beautiful. So, it’s always pleasing to me to view an attractive woman without her clothes on. When you come to my studio and stand in front of me without your clothes on, it’s a pleasing sight to me. Don’t think that I’m entirely indifferent toward it. If you’re uncomfortable with the mere fact that I will, most likely, find your unclothed body to be visually pleasing, then be forewarned and don’t work with me. But, there’s a difference between finding a beautiful vision pleasing and sexual arousal. I find sunsets beautiful as well — they don’t arouse me into wanting to sleep with them — not in the least, I assure you. I’ve never been even remotely excited by the thought of a setting sun making any sort of contact with my penis, whatsoever. Strange but true.
And, that non-sexual, pleasant response of seeing you without your clothes on? It very literally lasts for all of about five seconds after you drop your robe — There’s a fairly quick “Wow. She’s beautiful. I’m experiencing a pleasant, joyful reaction to seeing this.” Then, it’s all business: How do I get the shots I need? My mind is on all the technical aspects that go into getting the shot the way it needs to be gotten so that the finished product will be as I need it to be. Five seconds after I first see you sans-attire, and for the rest of the shoot, you could be fully naked, or you could be wearing a full suit of armor — same difference. For your five-ish seconds of nakedness before that? You look nice. I’m not put out by it. Seeing you is not a hardship. Now, can we get to work? I need these shots, and there’s a show on at nine that I’ve been looking forward to watching.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been alone in a studio over the years with an attractive woman who wasn’t wearing any clothes. It’s going to take something more than just your bare breasts to evoke any sort of actionable sexual response in me — I’m not fifteen years old anymore. The last time I got “boob-nervous” around anyone, I wasn’t yet able to vote, and I think Bush was a newly elected President — the Dad, not the kid.
If I wasn’t married and I could be absolutely certain that it wouldn’t cause any sorts of problems down the road, due to it hurting my reputation as a professional, or due to the possibility of you perhaps being some sort of crazy bitch who would go on to cause all sorts of drama in my life, or for any other reason, and you threw yourself at me? Then, yeah, maybe I’d take you up on it — for no other reason than: Why pass up a ready and easy opportunity to get my rocks off, free of unwanted consequence? But, the same would hold true for any situation, really. The fact that you’re naked in my studio doesn’t really play a part in it. All the same things being true, but we’re at a baseball game, or something? Yeah — same deal.
It may seem unbelievable to you, but I honestly can not remember a single time that I ever had a nude model in front me and the thought went through my head “Man, I wish I could nail her!”. Not once — ever. Cross my heart and hope to die. If it has occurred at any time, I have no memory of it. And, believe me, as a number of women with whom I’ve been romantically involved over the years can fully attest to: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with, nor slight, nor limited about my libido. Quite the opposite, really. It gets all over the place. The photo-shoot is just not a sexual environment for me.
Sure, there have been times when I’ve seen a model disrobe and I’ve thought to myself “Wow! Her breasts are just absolutely perfect!”, or “Man! She has a gorgeous figure… exceptionally well formed posterior… beautiful skin… What a vision!…etc., etc….” Many, many, many times, in fact. …it’s not sexual, though. Honestly. Those thoughts have never been followed by any sort of sexual fantasizing including myself and the model. That might seem strange to you. It actually seems a little strange to me — noting what my response has been in the past to certain attractive women in certain situations other than a photo-shoot. But, that’s truly the way it is. The photo-shoot, for me, is an environment of work and artistic creation. It’s not a sexual environment, so its not conducive to the arising of sexual thoughts — even though, wonder of wonders, I have a persistent and plain, unobstructed view of ta-tas, bum-bum and hoo-ha.
And, of course, if I wanted to get all hot and bothered by a female stranger without her clothes on, I’d hit a peeler joint — What do they charge now? Like, $20, $25 for a private dance, or something? Not bad compared to the rates a lot of models are asking these days. And, I get to sit back, relax, have a beer, take it all in at my leisure, and not have to worry about lighting ratios and shutter speeds, or any of that crap?
But, no, no, no… that would be too easy. I’m looking to get a little sexual thrill out of seeing a naked woman, so I’m going to go to all the bother of coming up with and developing a photographic theme, start looking for models and arranging times and dates, worry about bringing in hair and makeup, sets, props, maybe wardrobe pieces, probably have to go through the hassle of meeting them before hand, worry about her potentially bringing some jack-hole with her as a chaperon and deal with it if she does, worry about her being a jack-hole herself and dealing with it if she is, make sure my studio is all set-up, presentably clean and uncluttered and smelling unoffensive after a couple week’s worth of spilled coffee, ordered-in pizza, and too many cigarettes, pay her much more than she’s probably worth, and that I can really afford, because she’s used to it now that every Tom, Dick and Harry with a well paying office-job, photography hobby and free time on weekends has the money to drive up rates, and then have to be satisfied with sneaking in the odd eye-full while futzing around with lights, cables, snoots, etc., etc. Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’m going to go through all of that because its fun to look at boobies! Oh, but there’s also a remote chance in hell that I might actually get lucky with her? Yeah, well: Big secret here: Thirty bucks or so to cover the door and a dance, a half a bag of blow, and a quick trip to almost any strip-joint in the country, and there’s little “chance” involved in scoring with a nekkid chick.
Anyway… just some of my thoughts on the matter. Read the two articles linked to at the top of this post. Both are interesting reads.