Monday, March 19, 2012

FINE ART NUDE PHOTOGRAPHY

By Heinz Richter

Historically, the human form has fascinated artists probably more than any other subject. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the same fascination has extended to photography as well.
  
While photography has generally been accepted as a valid art form, photography of the nude to this day is struggling with that recognition.  In the view of many, it is still looked upon as sleazy and objectionable, even harmful.  No such objections exist when it comes to paintings and sculptures.  People regularly visit art galleries.  No objections are generally voiced to see nude art there.  Public spaces often display nude sculptures, no objections there either.  Yet nude photographic art is still widely rejected.  Why?


I must emphasize that the key word here is art.  Many of the great photographers have produced fine art nudes like Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Helmut Newton…, just to mention a few.  Of course, just as with other art forms, some like Robert Mapplethorpe or Jeff Koonz for instance have pushed the envelope by producing images that are questionable to some, but such work should not be generalized and held against other serious photographers.

I often discuss this with my sister who is a successful professional photographer in Germany.  She is often in disbelief how much more restricted photography of this type is in the US.  For instance, in her studio she has three different display windows for her work, one of which is usually dedicated to fine art nude photography.  That is simply unthinkable in the US.

That brings up the question of what constitutes fine art nude photography.  During my 13 years of teaching photography that question regularly came up during class discussions.  Of course the definition of art in general is in the eye of the beholder.  There are no clear cut instructions to be had. 

    


When it comes to fine art nude photography, it is quite easy to take a photograph of a person without any clothes.  That, however, is not art and should not be attempted to be presented as such.  Instead the emphasis should not be so much on nudity but on shape, form, lighting, design and composition.

That adds a considerable amount of difficulty which is further emphasized that in most cases, a similar approach with similar results has been done before.

In an interview, Kim Weston, grandson of Edward Weston, when asked about his photography in comparison to his grandfather’s said that he generally does not think about him.  He went on to say whatever kind of photograph he might attempt, “Edward has done it.”  He said he cannot take a landscape without being told that Edward has done it, he virtually cannot photograph anything without the constant reminder that Edward has done it.

The same is the case with fine art nude photography.  Regardless of the outcome, someone most likely has done it before and someone most likely will do it again in the future.




The best approach in my opinion is to carefully plan a fine art nude photography session and then proceed without too much attention to the work of other photographers.  Then careful selection of only the best examples with a healthy dose of self-criticism should give the assurance that the shoot was successful.  And don’t forget, the old adage the practice makes perfect still applies.





For more examples of my own work go to:  http://www.gmpphoto.com/glamourport.jpg
My sister owns Foto Amling in Weilburg, Germany which is less than 10 miles from Solms.
For her work go to:   www.foto-amling.de  and click on 'Aktfotografie' at the bottom of the page.

A very different approach to fine art nude photography is published here:

http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2012/05/fine-art-nudes-different-approach.html

http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2012/06/photoshop-art.html

Also see:


FINE ART NUDE PHOTOGRAPHY – GALLERY 2



View other Leica Galleries here:

LEICA GALLERY 8-07-2012

LEICA Barnack Berek Blog GALLERY  7-11-2012

FRENCH LEICA PHOTOGRAPHER SOLENN HERVOUET

THE DECISIVE MOMENT

L√úNEBURG HEATH – A LEICA PICTURE STORY

LEICA GALLERY  6-09-2012

LEICA Barnack Berek Blog GALLERY  5-14-2012

LFI GALLERY

LEICA Barnack Berek Blog Gallery  3-28-12
  
LEICA Barnack Berek Blog GALLERY





3 comments:

  1. The Leica and cameras and photography in general certainly offer a lot of topics for discussion. But we must not forget the ultimate purpose of why we have cameras; to take pictures. For that reason I would like to start a weekly (or possibly daily) gallery of photographs. But I don’t want this to be a showcase for just my own work; to the contrary, I would like to encourage everyone to submit photographs for display on this blog. The copyright to the photographs will remain with the photographer and no pictures will ever be used for any other purpose unless permission is given by the copyright holder.
    No registration for this site is necessary. Just email any of the photographs to either of my email addresses at:

    info@gmpphoto.com or gmpphotography@msn.com

    If possible, please include the make and model of the camera (any camera, not just Leica) and any other information you deem important.

    It is my hope that this may become one of the most sought after topics of this blog.

    Thank you,

    Heinz Richter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must emphasize that the key word here is art. Many of the great photographers have produced fine art nudes like Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Man Ray, Helmut Newton…, just to mention a few. Of course, just as with other art forms, some like Robert Mapplethorpe or Jeff Koonz for instance have pushed the envelope by producing images that are questionable to some, but such work should not be generalized and held against other serious photographers.

      I often discuss this with my sister who is a successful professional photographer in Germany. She is often in disbelief how much more restricted photography of this type is in the US. For instance, in her studio she has three different display windows for her work, one of which is usually dedicated to fine art nude photography. That is simply unthinkable in the US.

      That brings up the question of what constitutes fine art nude photography. During my 13 years of teaching photography that question regularly came up during class discussions. Of course the definition of art in general is in the eye of the beholder. There are no clear cut instructions to be had.

      Delete
  2. I really like those pictures. The lighting is perfect. Congratulations for this wonderful work !

    ReplyDelete