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.