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[NSFW] The Naked and the Lens

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I’ve resisted shooting nudes for most of my photography career. Partly because I didn’t want to be cliché — just another Guy With a Camera — but mostly because I didn’t know what my motivations were for actually shooting figure nudes. After all, it’s not as if it hasn’t been done to death already, right?

But in the end, I realised that the best thing I could do would be to just do the work, make the images. If they didn’t work for me, if I felt uncomfortable on the shoot or afterwards, then I’ve lost nothing.

Earlier this year – much earlier this year, in fact: January — I sent out a casting call for an art nude model. One of the models who responded was my friend Keira Lavelle, whom you may remember played the part of Black Annis last year. So off we trundled into the windswept and snow-covered Yorkshire Moors to make some images. Some clothed, some nude.

The first thing I learned on this shoot was that art-nude models are a hardy bunch. I already knew that Keira was gutsy from her crawling-around-in-the-mud-in-a-cave performance as Annis, but shooting in the altogether in the Yorkshire snow is a whole new ball of wax. And she was phenomenal.

The second thing I learned on this shoot was that there is so much for me to learn about shooting nudes. All photographs are essentially a combination of the following factors:

  1. Light
  2. Composition
  3. Gesture
  4. Emotion

Except that when you’re shooting nudes you become acutely aware that whilst #1 and #2 are important, the list should actually be ordered thus:

  1. Emotion
  2. Gesture
  3. Light
  4. Composition

In fact I’m trying to bring this ordering to my photography more now, because I’ve realised that gorgeous light and good composition only get you so far.

There was a lot of learning that went into this shoot, and I’ve got a lot more yet to do. Nudes aren’t going to become a focus for me, but it’s a good string to have to my bow, especially with art projects like subject|object and Celtic Gods in my mind.

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More (NSFW) images below the fold.

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