The human form I'll start by clearing up the basics. Fine art nudes is an art form. It has nothing to do with sex, exhibitionism, or voyeurism. It does not degrade, sensationalize, or prey upon any gender. The confusion comes from those that use the term 'fine art' as a gateway to shoot what is very obviously not art at all. I've met people who can ramble on for a while about the fine lines and subtle tones of an art piece and I've met people who look at the same piece, tilt their head and say 'cute'. Everyone sees art differently and in my experience it's not something you learn. You either like it, love it, or don't see it. I have never seen a 'face palm' with a shocked expression and exclamation of "NOW I SEE IT!"
For as long as I can remember, I've always loved the graceful clean lines formed by the human body. Whether it is that of a soft beautiful female or a muscle filled shot of a male. All shapes, sizes, and ages. More recently very fit females have come to have the best of both soft lines as well as shadow from evident muscles. All beautiful, especially in the right light.
I'm sure there was a time in my life that I was taught to consider any form of nakedness as inappropriate. That is not a natural reaction, we are taught that nakedness is a sin somehow. Later in life, as we start to rebel, question, and venture out with our minds, and especially when we discover art, we then discover the beauty of the human body. And that it is not inappropriate to view them as the forms of art that they are.
I'm fortunate to have a very understanding and loving wife who understands my need to create. She trusts that models will be treated with respect and that the only goal is the finished project. That trust, from a partner, is important yet rare. I will discuss that in another installment of this series.
When a model contacts me about creating some art I, of course, browse through his or her images. My mind immediately starts considering the options of what poses and lighting would work best for their body shape and attributes. I begin to imagine what the end result may be based on past experience as well as my ever present checklist of images I'd like to create.
I'll chat a bit to make sure the model understands the art we will create will involve nudity. I always feel a little creepy in that part of the conversation because of that early teaching that nudity is inappropriate and here I am talking to someone I've likely never met about shedding their clothes for my camera.
It is ultimately important that they are fully comfortable with what we will be doing. Most often I've found the promise of what may be created is a strong motivation to many to push themselves beyond their normal boundaries. And, to date, everyone has been very pleased with our results.
Parts 2 and 3 In the next installments I will cover the trust issues of significant others in your life if you want to shoot fine art and just how a professional shoot works with nudity.