I shoot a lot of nudes. I’ve always loved photographing nudes. Why? Why photograph nudes at all? In my opinion, there’s two main reasons for why I photograph nudes. One of the reasons is fairly elegant. The other is not.
The first reason is simply because I find nothing in nature more beautiful than the nude female form. To my eyes and sensibilities, it is the most perfectly beautiful, aesthetically pleasing thing in all of nature’s creation. The nude male form is not quite as appealing to me, but it also occupies a fairly high rank somewhat near the top of the list. So, I wouldn’t put it second, but perhaps around fifth or sixth, or something like that. The nude male form is still quite a beautiful thing to me.
Of course, being an artist and photographer, I’m driven to capture beauty and, through my own creation, express and share what I find to be beautiful with the rest of the world. And, since I find such exquisite beauty in the nude human form, I am, of course, driven to capture it in as beautiful a vision as I can and share my creation with the world. This is the main, and by far the most important, reason why I choose to use nudity in my photography as much as I do. It’s just exceptionally beautiful, and I have an appetite for capturing, creating, revealing and sharing my vision of beauty with others. It really is as simple as that. It’s exactly the same reason why I photograph sunsets and scenic vistas.
The second reason, as I mentioned, is not quite so eloquent. In fact, it’s more of a dirty little photography secret of mine, which I’m about to share with you. It is this: Using nudity in photography is kind of like cheating at photography. Allow me to explain my philosophy on the matter:
In my personal opinion there is truly only one sin that a work of artistic creation is capable of committing. That sin is the sin of being boring or uninteresting. And, that’s it. A work of art doesn’t have to be beautiful, necessarily. Art can be ugly and still be immensely worthwhile. A work of art doesn’t necessarily have to be important, or convey any message, or anything else. As long as it’s not boring it’s at least worth something. It’s existence is at least justifiable. The work the artist puts into creating it is also, at least, justifiable — just so long as it isn’t boring.
Here’s the thing: No matter what else you do, if a photograph contains human nudity, it absolutely will not commit the sin of being boring. It just wont. Can’t happen. An image of a person without clothes on is never boring — to anyone. Everybody, in at least some measure, will find the image at least somewhat interesting. Some people will find it immensely interesting; others will find it slightly interesting — depending on the particular person, and the particular photo. But, nobody — and, I mean NOBODY — finds the image of a nude person to be entirely uninteresting. Some people will find the nude photograph to be beautiful. And beautiful things are always interesting. Other people may find it offensive, or even disgusting. But, again, offensive and disgusting things are never boring. They may be unappealing to the individual viewer, but they’re never boring. If you’re offended, disgusted or repulsed by something you absolutely will not be bored by it. Conversely, If you find something pleasing and beautiful, you absolutely will not be bored by it.
It’s just a fact of human nature — human beings find images of other human being without their clothes on to be, in at least some measure, interesting. Such images, to at least some degree, always have some level of impact on the viewer. That’s just the way it is.
So, by simply including nudity in a photograph you absolutely guarantee that the resulting photograph will, at the very least, not commit the only real sin that a work of art can commit. You guarantee that, if only even just a little, your image will be, at least to some degree, not entirely boring. Your image may not be very good. It may not be very beautiful. It may be ineptly taken. But, for creative works, those things are not truly sinful. They’re just shortcomings — they’re just things which render the work as falling short of perfection or greatness. No matter how your nude image turns out, it wont be entirely, boringly innocuous — and that is the ONLY thing that absolutely, in any and all cases, renders any piece of art as truly ‘bad art’.