A good question – and one I have been asked a few times – so, I’ll share my take on this.
Firstly, I am of the view that we were born into this world naked and that there is nothing inherently wrong with nudity. However, we get conditioned at an early age – typically by our parents, then by society in general – to believe that being naked is somehow “wrong”, or even “rude” or “disgusting”.
This view of nudity as being “wrong” or “rude” seems to differ between countries, regions and generations. In the UK for example, people are often seen as more “conservative” say, than many of their European neighbours. I believe this view of nudity being “wrong” is changing, or has indeed changed, over the last ten or twenty years with the prevalence of the computer and the ease with which people can now access sexualised content over the internet. Younger generations are less bothered by this than older people. Nonetheless, there is still a stigma attached to images of nudity. The problem seems to be that many people associate nudity with sex. American giants of social media, such as Facebook and Instagram (owned by Facebook) issue “Community Guidelines” banning nipples or the sight of the pubic area, resulting in images having to be censored or accounts being deleted. Art museums advertising exhibitions of paintings hundreds of years old have had their pictures deleted on some of these social media platforms!
However, if you study the history of art, you will discover that over hundreds of years artists have been portraying the female nude in their pictures and sculptures. Many artists had their “muse” and would spend countless hours drawing or painting her in their studios. The nude has not been restricted just to females. Consider Michelangelo’s statute of David, for example. In general, though, it is the female nude which has received the greatest attention.
Why the female? The most straightforward answer, I believe, is that the female body has more curves and more shape to it than the male body, which is more angular, for the most part. The female body is typically softer and more aesthetically pleasing to look at.
So, I choose to shoot female nudes because I find a woman’s body pleasing to look at and it is a challenge to light it well and portray it in an artistic manner. In all of my pictures, with the exception of bodyscapes, I attempt to convey either emotion or some sort of narrative to be interpreted by the viewer. It is an attempt to create an image that is visually appealing, with a story to it, without sexualising the content. I leave it to you, the viewer, to judge whether or not I have succeeded.