I think most of us know it isn’t by default, but it certainly is a beloved art form for many of us. Whether artists / painters, female form and artistic nude photographers, glamour photographers, etc. or enthusiasts, we all have our own vision of what is art. Nudity is art if captured thoughtfully, at least in my opinion. I’ve seen, admired, loathed, and critiqued many nudes from other photographers. You can have a very imperfect subject captured well, as far as lighting, angle, mood, composition, etc. and you can also have a beautifully sculpted model captured poorly and generically. Art is subjective. Good and bad can be too. But being a photographer of the female form for over 10 years, I take it seriously and I know my vision before starting the next shoot.
It’s taken years of developing my craft and getting critiques, (which by the way should never end in one’s career) before being cognizant of all aspects of the photo. Whether high key or low key lighting, shadow placement, hand, arm, leg, and neck placement, arrangement of fingers, overall mood, it all works together. When you have one without the other, it seldom is a complete work (in my opinion of course). I saw one photo from another photographer with a beautiful nude subject, but her being nude was the only strong point of the photograph. Nothing interesting about the lighting, deer in the headlights expression and stiff pose. So close but so far away. When considering whether it’s successful art or not, always ask does this look like someone who appreciates the female form as an art form, or a guy who saw boobs for the first time, or is only in it for the boobs, etc. The photos always tell it. My 2 cents, worth what you paid.
Bodyscapes are close ups of a specific region of the body, as some have been seen in my previous Roadside Motel series. Depending on the body and proportions of each unique subject, angles have to be thought out. Bodyscapes aren’t usually done perfectly straight on, because that can make a body look stodgy and in some cases truncated. There are body mechanics that come into play, that any reputable nude or boudoir photographer should know! Just like when you do a headshot , pick the better side and go slightly to that angle. If the subject is heavier, shoot from a slightly higher elevation to make the face longer and make the chin area less problematic.
As the body curves, the way the lines of the body follow each other and how the photograph is composed, as well as how the lighting adds to the mystique and drama of the bodyscape, all of that adds to the success of the photo. Mystique and abstract nature of the photo are two reasons why bodyscapes thrown into the mix are a great compliment.
I chose this angle and lighting combination because the brush light from the window provided some contrast and still kept the low key lighting and shadow drama I wanted, for higher contrast and added mystique. The light followed the muscles of her upper back and the arch of her back and butt captured the fullness of her butt. This exact angle wouldn’t work with every subject but you get the idea.
With this one, I still wasn’t directly behind her but still more direct and less angled than the first one. If she had a bigger butt, this angle wouldn’t work as well, but the added directness did help make her butt more full, but not stodgy. The way the leg folded over and the torsion of her vertebrae compliments the curves of her butt. Just my thought process, but bodyscapes are cool and a good addition to any intimate photo session in my opinion.
We went back and forth about that bedspread from the 1990’s, do we leave it or not….we both agreed there would be a certain charm with it to compliment the also dated room. But also wanted to change the mood of the photos a little and a simple neutral bedspread works better for this. There is a nice mix here of contortionist poses that signify a classic artistic nude work of art, and a bit more alluring but natural candid feel of photos.
Of course with private clients who haven’t done this before, I would keep it basic but yet creative and elegant. Below is a perfect example. Candid, confident, sexy, upbeat, and easy to position the subject. I love natural looking elegant nudes where the subject feels at ease, when they don’t it shows in the photos.
Now we shift to a vertical base, all relatively easy looks to pull off for any client, done uniquely with each unique subject of course. These are all as primal as photography can get. A model, a camera and lens, and a window.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this roadside motel series, be on the lookout for more 🙂 To book your personal session, trust Nashville’s fine art nude and boudoir photographer for a fun and flattering photoshoot!