For their subjects composition and lighting the differencesin place before the shutter was opened

NUDITY WITH A MESSAGE One of the first nude images, however, by Hippolyte Bayard (1801-

While early photographs were technically difficult to produce, they 1887), had nothing to do with eroticism or any classical appreciation paved the way for a visual experience that anyone could enjoy. As of the human form. In Self-Portrait As a Drowned Man, Bayard photography grew in popularity, so did images of the naked body, portrayed himself naked except for a piece of cloth representing both male and female, introducing sexuality into the new medium, a shroud, seated in a slumped position, apparently dead. Bayard albeit often in the guise of aestheticism. These nudes, photographed had invented his own photographic technique of positive printing in daylight, seemed excitingly real compared to those in paintings, at about the same time as Louis Daguerre (1787-1851), but it was where the viewer knew that the artist had painstakingly described Daguerre and his "daguerreotype" that received official recognition the light on the model's body in the way that he or she chose. from the French government. As a reaction against the injustice he felt had been committed, Bayard created this photograph. Not only was this the first political use of a nude photograph, it was also the first one to show the human body in a theatrical setting. It may in fact have been the first photograph of a nude human figure ever, as Daguerre's technique needed an extremely long exposure time and his photograph of a female body in 1839 had been achieved by photographing a sculpture.


In the early 1840s, improved lenses and chemicals made exposure times of less than a minute possible, paving the way for popular portraiture. Another development was the stereoscopic camera, which gave the illusion of a three-dimensional image by presenting slightly different two-dimensional images next to each other. They were not only used for portraits but also to show secret, erotic, "real" images.

< Hippolyte Bayard

Self-Portrait As a Drowned Man (1840) expressed Bayard's despair at the lack of recognition for his work.

Nude Self Portrait PhotographyDaguerr Otype Femme

A Auguste Belloc

This hand-colored daguerreotype is part of a stereoscopic set of two, entitled Femme nue allongée sur un canapé, created in about 1850. Nude images such as this were often used and even commissioned by painters, and were presented in albums.

Two of the most prolific proponents of this new technique were F. J. Moulin (approximately 1800-1868) and Auguste Belloc (active 1850-1868). These two French photographers seem to have attempted every different genre in the domain of nudity: academic nudes, pictorial nudes mimicking famous works of art, and erotic, even pornographic, images. Their academic nude photographs were used as reference by painters such as Courbet and Delacroix, and both men were among the pioneers of fine art photography,

After the invention of photography the question arose as to how the human body should be depicted. In paintings, the tradition had normally been to show nudity in the form of mythological, religious, and allegorical scenes, which lent a cloak of respectability to the act of looking at something that frequently had a sexual content. Taken out of these contexts and made real, photographic nudes inevitably took on a more sexual connotation. Many of the photographers who

A Auguste Belloc

This hand-colored daguerreotype is part of a stereoscopic set of two, entitled Femme nue allongée sur un canapé, created in about 1850. Nude images such as this were often used and even commissioned by painters, and were presented in albums.

explored the sexuality of the human body did so anonymously, and some of their images remain shocking even today. They showed not only the beauty of their models but also their sexual needs, desires, and often explicit activities—a theme that was to reappear in the mid-20th century art scene.

The production of erotic and pornographic nude photographs quickly developed the world over into a thriving business to feed the appetites of certain sections of the public, whether officially sanctioned or existing illegally underground, depending on what was permissible under local legislation.

V Eadweard Muybridge

Motion Study of an Athlete on the March was created ir California ir about 1900 as ore of Muybridge's movement studies. Influenced by Etienne-Jules Marey's work, it was achieved with the use of carefully timed multiple cameras.


While the genre of erotic photography was developing and artists were discussing the use of the human form in this new medium, other photographers sought to explore the scientific and technical possibilities of photography, In the US and France respectively, Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) and Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904) performed experiments with chronography—a set of photographs of a moving object at regular intervals—in which the naked body became the perfect subject for artistic as well as scientific reasons, Chronography captured movement which was too fast for the eye to see, with a black background allowing the comparison of different positions that the body assumed in motion,

Another popular 19th-century scientific area of research was anthropology, and scientists were eager to build up photographic records of the people who were the objects of their study, As travel became easier, curiosity about foreign lands Increased, "Exotic" photographs, often from the colonies in Africa or Asia, seduced Western viewers with images of partially naked people,

This type of imagery and the fascination with people and cultures far away existed in paintings and sculptures long before the invention of photography, However, the new medium gave these images a guarantee of authenticity which resulted in a boom in ethnographic photography, Photographs of people living close to nature, with different cultural values and ideas of sexual morality, became very popular with Westerners for scientific, ideological, and, of course, artistic and erotic reasons from the 1860s until well into the 20th century, Although some photographers took a genuinely scientific approach, many of the images could be called "imaginative ethnography," This exotic view of the foreign, the romantic idealization, and the erotic fantasy verged on racism and ethnocentricity, often saying more about the culture of the photographers and their fantasies than about foreign cultures and their indigenous peoples,

Such an approach can be found in the work of Rudolf Lehnert (1878-1948) and Ernest Landrock (1878-1966), Born in Bohemia (then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire), Lehnert met Landrock,

Lehnert And Landrock Nude Photos

< Rudolph Lehnert

Fathma, de la tribu des Ouled Nail, heliograph, from about 1904. In his studio in Tunis Lehnert took many exotic, sensual nudes such as this.

< Rudolph Lehnert

Fathma, de la tribu des Ouled Nail, heliograph, from about 1904. In his studio in Tunis Lehnert took many exotic, sensual nudes such as this.

a German, in Tunisia in 1904. The pair established a photography studio in Tunis, with Lehnert taking the photographs and Landrock acting as manager of the studio. They later set up business in Cairo, selling postcards and prints of romanticized desert scenes, Bedouin tribespeople and partially clad or naked girls.

In the early years of the 20th century, while the naked body could be shown under the category of art or science, portraying it in terms of pure sexuality was still taboo. Ernest James Bellocq (18731949) photographed prostitutes in the red-light district of New Orleans in the early 1900s, but seems never to have made prints from his 10 x 8-inch glass negatives. Although the models posed proudly for the camera, their faces were often scratched out on the negatives, perhaps to preserve their anonymity. It was only in the 1960s that some of the negatives were discovered and published by the photographer Lee Friedlander.


Since Its origin, photography had been a useful aid for painters and sculptors, for whom many books with nudes in different poses and settings were available. By the middle of the 1880s this led to a movement for the recognition of photography as an equivalent art form, known as pictorialism. The goal of the pictorialists was to establish the photographic print as an authentic artistic object, so they created products which were close to paintings, in content as well as in form. Such photographs had to stand the test of criticism as in every other art medium: satisfactory in composition, color quality, tone, and lighting; having aesthetic charm; and involving some expression of the personal feeling of the photographer.

The pictorialists' images of nude models were not portraits; instead they explored narrative and symbolism and expressed the photographers' emotions and dreams. Rather than trying to produce

Robert Demachy

> Robert Demachy

Struggle (1904) was printed with the gum bichromate process, which allowed the use of subtle color. Pictorialists such as Demachy favored soft-focus images and printing techniques that made their work resemble paintings.


images of maximum detail, they softened their prints by using soft-focus lenses and elaborate printing processes.

Robert Demachy (1859-1936) was the most famous representative of pictorialism in France, while Edward Steichen (1879-1973), Frank Eugene (1865-1936), and Heinrich Kuhn (1866-1936) were its most notable proponents in the US, Germany, and Austria respectively. There is a similarity in their approaches to the female body, not only in the printing techniques but also in their tendency to portray the model in a dreamlike atmosphere. Their intention was to represent nudity in its sublimated form to make the viewer reflect upon the meaning of the image rather than to stimulate desire.


By around 1910, the pictorialist goal of copying the look and feel of paintings gave rise to a new chapter in the history of photography. Reacting against this nonphotographic approach, some photographers turned toward what became known as pure, or straight, photography: reality itself became their subject rather than an idealization or sublimation of it. Having found recognition as art, photography had no need to imitate painting any more.

The modernists photographed their subject for its own merits and with techniques specific to the photographic medium. The nude body was presented now as an object in its own right, used in a graphic way with a strong interplay of lines and angles. For artists such as the Austrian Rudolf Koppitz (1884-1936) and the Czech Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) the nude became a figure with which to create geometric and abstract A André Kertész compositions that drew their influence from Cubism, although The modernists sought to expand the limits of the they still used the soft printing techniques of the pictorialists. photographic medium. Distortion No. 60 (1933) was one

Other photographers sought graphic qualities not only in their of a series in which Kertész played with mirror distortions, compositions but also in the printing techniques. transforming his models into abstract creatures.

In the 1920s the Surrealist movement in visual art and literature was born as a reaction against the rationalism in European culture eye view and a short depth of field, or the use of mirrors and and politics that, the members of the movement believed, had darkroom techniques such as solarization—the body could be ultimately led to World War I. Influenced by Freud, the goal of the presented in unfamiliar guises.

Surrealists was to blur the lines between the conscious and the The Hungarian photographer André Kertész (1894-1985) used unconscious and to express the imagination as it was revealed in fairground mirrors in his series Distortion to deform the female dreams. The Frenchman André Breton (1896-1966) and his fellow body. In the US, Edward Weston (1886-1958) created images with Surrealists soon discovered the artistic possibilities inherent in fragments of the body, often using an upward perspective, while photography, especially in collages. In their work, the representation contemporaries such as Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) and Imogen of the body took on a mystery and a sense of eroticism. By using Cunningham (1883-1976) combined geometry and abstraction with the more radical effects that the medium offered—whether bird's- a sense of eroticism in their photographs.


Surrealism Photoshop Photography

Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitsky, 1890-1976) pioneered techniques of producing surrealist images by means of darkroom manipulation. Born in Philadelphia, he began his artistic career as a painter before he took up photography in 1916. In 1921 he moved to Paris, where he spent most of the rest of his life. He is best known for developing, with his lover and assistant Lee Miller, the process of solarization. In this, the negative or print is briefly exposed to light and as a consequence the tones are partially reversed, often giving the effect of outlining the body in his nude studies. Man Ray's career also encompassed fashion and advertising photography.

Graphic experiments and other explorations with the photographic medium remained popular in the 1940s and 1950s, often introducing new elements, for example the natural landscapes in the work of the British photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983). In a series of nudes photographed on the beaches of East Sussex, he used a wide-angle lens in close-up, giving extreme distortions of the body, and printed the images in high-contrast black and white. These startlingly white bodies photographed in the English countryside seem to be a part of the landscape—the nude returned to nature, free of the artifices of civilization.

Man Ray is best known for his solarizec images, made by briefly exposing the negative to light before it is chemically fixed. Natacha, taken in about 1930, exists in a positive version as well as in the negative version shown here.

> Bill Brandt

Nude, East Sussex Coast (1957) is one of a series of images in which Brandt placed his models on rocky beaches and created sculpturelike forms with the use of a wide-angle lens and a low viewpoint.

Low Angle Point View Sexy PhotographyErwin Huber Olympia

A Leni Riefenstahl

Lebendige Antike (1936). A gelatin silver print of the German decathlete Erwin Huber posing for Riefenstahl as a living antique statue, embodying the ideals of ancient Greece.


The beauty of the statues of ancient Greece and Rome has inspired painters and photographers throughout history, and in the 20th century the classical influence was used for artistic, political, and even erotic purposes. Early in the century the nudist movement celebrated the beauty of the human form with images of healthy young gymnasts in sunny and pure landscapes, while in 1927 Elli Souyoultzoglou-Seraidari (1899-1998), known as Nelly's, photographed the Russian dancers Nikolska and Mona Paiva dancing naked between the pillars of the Parthenon as if they were an incarnation of an ancient myth. Her images of nude female dancers caused a scandal and also secured her fame.

Where the naked human body was the subject, sexuality could still be found in privately produced photographs. The German photographer Herbert List (1903-1975) photographed nude men in the setting of Greek antiquity in a posed style drawn from contemporary literary influences, especially Jean Cocteau. These homoerotic, high-contrast, wide-angle images with naked young men juxtaposed with antique statues show a timeless and mythical viewpoint that gives equal importance to a temple and a body. His images would not be published until after his death.

A Leni Riefenstahl

Lebendige Antike (1936). A gelatin silver print of the German decathlete Erwin Huber posing for Riefenstahl as a living antique statue, embodying the ideals of ancient Greece.

In the 1930s, political regimes used Images of naked athletes to show the apparent supremacy of their people. The human body was to be perfect and healthy, the mind free to serve a higher goal— the subjects' country. The artistic experiments of the Dadaists and Surrealists were considered degenerate in countries such as Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union, and many avant-gardists left Europe for the US.

The naked body photographed in a style harking back to the glories of antiquity in the interests of propaganda was most notably represented by Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003). She photographed the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and her film Olympia famously celebrated the athletes of Hitler's Germany in heroic pose; her book of photographs, Schönheit im Olympischen Kampf, is less well-known. Her images of beautiful naked men, photographed under a blinding sun, brought her the approval from Hitler which was to overshadow the rest of her career. Removed from their political context, however, Riefenstahl's images are admired today for their technique and for the beauty of the human body—though she only photographed those that were perfect. Less contentious were her photographs of the Nuba, an ancient tribe in Sudan, whose beauty, traditions, and rituals she recorded for seven years during the 1960s, again with her interest concentrated upon the possessors of magnificent bodies,


After the horrors of World War II, sensuality and tenderness were emphasized much more in nude pictures. The artists now gave names to their models, some of whom were their wives. The most characteristic example is the American photographer Harry Callahan (1912-1999). He made numerous studies of his wife Eleanor, particularly from 1947 to the late 1950s, using a variety of techniques, and placing her both indoors and in the natural landscape. Today this series is regarded by some as the most important area of his work, with photographs that speak of the intimacy, trust, and love between them.

The American artist Diane Arbus (1923-1971) also photographed the nude in the environment in a documentary and realistic style throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Arbus is known for her sensitivity toward individuals who lived at the border of society and for her fascination with the grotesque and the marginalized; circus people,

V Harry Callahan

Eleanor (1948), gelatin silver print. Callahan's warm and tender portrayal of his wife Eleanor over many years created one of the first sensual visual diaries, showing her at home, on city streets, and in the landscape.

Nude For Mentally DisturbedChiaroscuro Naked

giants, dwarfs, transexuals, and mentally disturbed people were part of her gallery of portraits of an America of exclusion. In contrast, her photographs taken in nudist colonies show the everyday life of American families, with the exception that the people she portrayed were without clothes. As a result of this approach, the viewer pays hardly any attention to the nudity of the models but is more interested in their pose and surroundings. Far from the perfect athlete's physique that Riefenstahl sought, Arbus photographed flawed human bodies with an interest in their circumstances rather than with any sexual connotation. Despite the coldness of her documentary style, her empathy is real and the simplicity of her approach to subjects outside the mainstream of society is both exemplary and moving.


At the end of the 1930s, fashion photographers began to see models not merely as clothes horses on which to hang the designers' clothes, but as subjects in their own right. Working for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969) succeeded in uniting the avant-garde approach to composition and the use of solarization with fashion photography. His work depicted fashion in a graphic style, with the clothing abstract and the model's body as the main focus. His emphasis on the models themselves eventually resulted in Blumenfeld photographing some of the first nude images ever to be seen in Vogue. In using backgrounds appropriate for the clothing and creating an atmosphere that permeated the whole image, he invented a very personal universe that still influences fashion photographers today.

Horst P. (Paul) Horst (1906-1999) first gained fame on the publication of his photograph The Mainbocher Corset, which appeared in Vogue in 1939. Though not a nude image, the model's

> Horst

Odalisque 1, platinum print on canvas (1943), With just a few well-chosen props and dramatic lighting Horst lias managed to conjure up a scene of luxurious Intimacy,

<1 Erwin Blumenfeld

Cubistic Purple Nude ('1949) was created by superimposing different Images, bringing surrealistic experiments Into fashion photography,


hourglass shape Is emphasized by chiaroscuro lighting and the untied ribbon lacing her corset hints at nudity With her head bowed and slightly In profile, the model has accepted our gaze, voyeuristic and compllclt at the same time, Horst photographed many nudes In this style, using several studio lights to create a stylish play of light and shadow,

In this new fashion concept, the body became the most Important feature and the clothes took second place, The Images of Horst and Blumenfeld demonstrated the desire for a rediscovery of the body and Its artistic dimensions while serving the needs of fashion photography Magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, from Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to Le Jardin des Modes, encouraged this kind of aesthetic, with Images of underwear, bathing suits, and nudes,

But not every fashion photographer made his nudes the servants of the needs of fashion photography In 1949-1950 Irving Penn (1917-) photographed nudes that were highly unconventional by fashion standards: their fleshy torsos are twisted and stretched,


> Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Abbaye de Montmajour, Aries, 1983 was created In the landscape that Van Gogh painted. Minkkinen has commented "It Is with a deep sense of humility that I can say what a great pleasure it was entering the skies of a Van Gogh landscape for a split second."

with prominent bellies and mounded hips. The voluptuous forms owe more to the ancient fertility idols found the world over, the full-bodied women painted by Rubens, and the distortion experiments of the prewar modernists than to the fashion imagery of the mid 20th century.


Until the end of the 1960s, images of the body were mainly female and largely produced by men. The photographed nude mostly followed academic conventions inherited from classical art, especially in Europe. However, the social destabilization of the 1960s was to form the basis of a new approach to the body.

In the genre of self-portraiture, three photographers of the same generation broke taboos, albeit in very different styles. Dieter Appelt (Germany, 1935-), Jan Saudek (Czech Republic, 1935-), and Arno Rafael Minkkinen (Finland, 1945-) have dedicated most of their work not only to the self-portrait but also to the self-nude.

The work of Dieter Appelt displays the human body in a sort of geological concretion, a mix of theater, painting, and sculpture, emotionally disturbing by its brutal dehumanization of the body through the rough textures of the material used and the unusual perspectives and compositions.

Jan Saudek, living in communist Prague, translated his sexual obsessions through his photographs, most of which he created in an old, relatively small, basement. Paint peeling from the walls, one small window, and the absolute need for discretion were the limitations he faced. Saudek photographed erotic scenes of women and couples, in which he very often played the male role. He colored the images by hand, which gave them their characteristic look and atmosphere. His images, a forerunner to the porn art of the 1990s, received recognition worldwide after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

Until the 1960s, the nude male body was represented only as a warrior, a sportsman, or a model. However, the body becomes almost an object, an abstract stature, in Minkkinen's work. Skeletal, almost 61/2 ft (2 m) tall, he distorts his frame, sometimes showing it in silhouette. In his series of self-portraits, his body parts, placed in nature and photographed in close-up, seem to have lost their traditional function. Paradoxically. he completely unveils his body, exposing it with its imperfections, but rarely shows his face; and he is often placed in the pristinely perfect Nordic landscapes of his native Finland.

The Anglo-American John Coplans (1920-2003) followed in Minkkinen's footsteps in the 1980s when he photographed his own imperfect, aging naked body, demonstrating the desire for showing and photographing oneself as if looking in a mirror, undressed, confronting the viewer mercilessly with the cruelty of the human aging process.

In contrast to the work of such photographers, there was also an aesthetic of male seduction whose best representative is the American Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1998). With a supreme mastery of studio lighting and large- or medium-format cameras, Mapplethorpe created an exaggerated smoothness and perfection in the idealized body, influenced by the photography of Horst and the fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene. The sculptural beauty—and erotic power—that he brought to his black and white naked male bodies was unparalleled. Also in the US, photographers such as Greg Gorman (1949-), Bruce Weber (1946-) and Herb

Ritts (1952-2002) continued the search for beauty and sensuality in the male body.


With the birth of magazines such as Playboy in 1953 and Penthouse in 1965, erotic female nudity entered everyday life and became a fashionable theme within certain sectors of the population in Western Europe and the US. This type of nude imagery was entirely male-orientated in that it was both produced by, and targeted at, men.

The feminist movement that was born in the 1960s and grew in power and influence in the 1970s rejected this tradition of male exploitation, and since then numerous female artists have used photography and video to reclaim their sexual identity independently of the male gaze. Between 1975 and 1981, the American artist Francesca Woodman (1958-1981) made a series of self-portraits expressing her sexuality, her desires, and her anxieties. Her photographs were often an inner dialogue with the mirror, playing with the ideas of narcissism, her own beauty, and the fact that beauty will eventually fade. The nude in Woodman's work is more than provocative; it serves as the image of her soul, an autobiographical emotional diary which ended when she committed suicide at the age of 23. The feminist determination to assert ownership of images of the female body is the rationale for such introspective self-portraits, and Toto Frima (1953-) in the Netherlands has also produced fine examples of this kind of work.


Meanwhile, photographers such as Ralph Gibson (1939-) and David Hamilton (1933-) in the UK and Lucien Clergue (1934-) in France searched for a poetic eroticism in the female body. Clergue usually photographed his models next to natural elements such as

< Robert Mapplethorpe

Thomas (1986). Mapplethorpe's photographs ranged from sexually explicit to sublimely beautiful. He gained recognition during the 1970s with elegantly composed, sometimes shocking, male nudes.

Erwin Blumenfeld Mirror

waves or rocks, and made full use of the strong light of southern Europe, For Gibson, the erotic power of the nude originated from the way the body was dressed or from the detail of its movements, His fragmented perspective proved his love of both abstraction and mystery, One could say that the difference between the true erotic image and pornography is mystery; the covered legs of a woman can be more sensual than those of a naked woman,

David Hamilton, extremely popular in the 1970s and early 1980s, influenced a generation of amateur photographers with his dreamlike mm

images of young and innocent girls at the point of discovering their sexuality, The absence of makeup, and the use of soft tones and colors, gentle light, and timeless accessories, conjure up a feeling almost everyone has had at some point in their life: the longing for the perfect, for the promise, More successfully than anyone before him, Hamilton understood the appeal of this promise, an aspiration that advertising photography also loves to invoke,

The American photographer Joel-Peter Witkin (1939-) seems to be in search of mystery as much in the photographic technique as in the human body, He has stated: "I rebuild the negative, I tickle it, I add signs, and I erase parts of it ... I redesign the image, I make it more powerful, more mysterious," Born in Brooklyn to a Jewish mother and j J

a Catholic father, at the age of six Witkin saw a gruesome car accident that shaped his photographic universe, After studying art history and photography, he embarked on making images with elaborate, complex settings, borrowed from sources as diverse ; as mythology, Man Ray, de Chirico, still lifes from the

16th and 17th centuries, 19th-century realism and numerous pictorial artists—his meeting with Diane llllll^ Arbus shortly before her suicide particularly influenced WrnM him, His images of physical deformities and parts of JH||||& cadavers have often caused outrage, Witkin explores his own sexual universe and dares to show us the "beauty" of the body we are afraid to look at, creating fiBHH his images in large format in the studio, always after a IIBBH lengthy preparation, The reality of Witkin's naked ^^^^ bodies has been very influential in art photography,

While Witkin uses cameras of a type that date back more than a hundred years, technology has had a big impact on the way that many photographers make images, Modern cameras with automatic functions have considerably reduced the time it takes to create a photograph, and some are produced with an electronic date inscription showing exactly the moment at which the shutter was opened, This has encouraged the production of intimate visual diaries, which has resulted in some artists experiencing situations only to make images of them, In the West, the work of the Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki (1940-) is often thought of only in relation to its sadomasochism but, by the constant use of a compact mini-camera with a date indicator, he creates a fascinating journal of desire, mM '

< Ralph Gibson

Eye, Ass (1975), For Gibson, creating dynamism in his photographs means eliminating every element until nothing is left in the frame except what he wants,


In the 1970s and 1980s, fashion photographers began to present a new, confrontational Image of the female body. The pioneer In this respect was the German Helmut Newton (1920-2004). Newton's photographs of nudes were overtly sexual, with an undertone of menace, and although his models tended to be depicted as part of the social elite they were often placed, apparently caught out In reportage style, In sordid environments engaged In fantasy and fetish. His work made him highly Influential In fashion photography though some of It was thought too highly sexual for American magazines and appeared only In those published In Europe.

In the 1980s, Newton undressed the dynamic and Independent female In a series called Big Nudes. In this series the women are Indeed naked and very tall, wearing nothing but makeup and high heels. The Big Nudes were exhibited In the form of life-size prints that were Intended to provoke the viewer by showing self-confident women who knew what they wanted and were very aware of their beauty and sexuality.



Clergue Nude Art

A Lucien Clergue

La Chute desAnges, an llfochrome print from 2002 and highly untypical for him, shows how much) a photographer's work can evolve, Clergue was a friend of Picasso, and this later work clearly shows his Interest In art outside the realm of photography.

A Lucien Clergue

La Chute desAnges, an llfochrome print from 2002 and highly untypical for him, shows how much) a photographer's work can evolve, Clergue was a friend of Picasso, and this later work clearly shows his Interest In art outside the realm of photography.

Other photographers followed Newton's example with the same desire to push nude photography to the limit, With the wide choice of visual stimuli from magazines, satellite and cable TV, video, and film, striking Images were used to grab the attention of the public, The Benetton campaigns of the 1980s, the heroin chic look of the 1990s, and "art porn" photography shortly afterward succeeded In shocking viewers by the daring use of political content In fashionable mainstream Imagery, as seen In the publicity campaigns of the American photographer Terry Richardson (1965-).

Aesthetic considerations and the approval of fellow photographers often had to take second place to the commercial impact the photography was designed to have, and this has applied

Peter Lindbergh

to the beautiful nudes created by top commercial photographers such as the German Peter Lindbergh (1944-), the Frenchman Patrick Demarchelier (1943-), and others.


In today's digital era, images are invisibly stored in a computer system. While traditional photography was once the most important way of providing pictures for the media, it is nowadays more often the computer which produces and modifies images, using digital codes; a representation of the human body can be constructed entirely from a mathematical plan or be modified from an existing image.

This revolution obviously also influences the approach photographers take to the naked body; perfection is no longer required at the moment the shutter is released, and the photograph now serves as the basis for a painter's work on the digital canvas. Skin can be airbrushed, eyes, breasts, and lips enlarged, waists and chins reduced, necks and legs made longer; nude perfection can now be entirely artificial, in a completely credible way. Photography no longer needs to capture the "decisive moment," to use Henri Cartier-Bresson's term, and can instead enter the world of the virtual painter. As today's technology opens up endless possibilities, working with the naked body through photography now has no limits other than those of the human imagination.

However, the need to express aesthetics, sensuality, and eroticism is fundamentally human, and this emotional authenticity may often be overlooked when using advanced technical tricks or while trying to grab the attention of the viewer. Pushing the boundaries for the sake of it often results in a mere focus on spectacular effects. But while some artists may have decided to go that route, there are clear signs of a reaction to the prevailing trend. In spite of the digital age, the beginning of the 21st century shows signs of bringing about a return of the natural, the sensual, and the sensitive, and of revealing more than ever the inner inspiration of the artist.

< Steven Meisel

Meisel's image for Yves Saint Laurent's perfume "Opium," featuring the model Sophie Dahl, appeared as a magazine advertisement in 2000. It was banned, however, after it went up on billboards.

Sophie Dahl Billboard
Robert DemachyOuled Nail


This section shows you the best ways of getting started as a fine art nude photographer and of developing your personal style.

The first questions are about themes. Do you want to photograph intimate nudes, glamorous nudes, erotic nudes? Do you like to tell stories with your pictures, or portray the models in a way that reflects how you feel about them? Or are you more interested in looking for shapes and forms? You may choose to work mainly in black and white or in color. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Many nude photographers prefer to work in black and white, since it places more emphasis on tone and form and avoids some of the distractions of color. Then again, if you work in color you can play with warm and cold hues, primary and pastel shades, harmony and contrasts. How will you react to unexpected photographic opportunities that come your way? Will you ignore them and stick to your original plan, or incorporate them into your work? Are you going to overcome limitations of budget, equipment, space, time, and experience, and turn those challenges into opportunities? Are you confident in your use of hairstyling, makeup, and props, and able to use them selectively so as to contribute positively to the overall effect?

Then there are your models. Where will you find them? How do you approach them? What body type works best for your imagery? You will find suggestions on these pages, but approaches, tastes, and preferences are all highly personal, so what I have done is to run through the key questions to be considered before arriving at your own decisions. Having found your models, how will you make them feel at ease? How are you going to direct them into expressing the mood you choose for your image, and convey to them clearly what you have in mind? For how much of your time do you need to play the movie director directing his or her actors rather than working on perfecting a still pose?

Nude photography is a fascinating craft, but remember that working with people, just as in standard model photography, is all about human interaction, in which open, respectful, and crystal-clear communication is an absolute necessity.


Newton Drtikol Nudes
Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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  • vittore folliero
    How did jan saudek light his photos?
    8 years ago
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