Is there--could there ever be--anything new in nude photography?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by landrum_kelly, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. Everyone seems to say in or about all genres, "[This or that] has been done to death." That is a particularly common remark about the sunset as well as the photographic nude.
    Yet, yet, once in a while one does see a photo that does seem to be breaking new ground--again, not just in nude photography. Even so, (warning - NSFW) this one inspired me to wonder just what might be just around the corner. And so I ask again, "Is there--could there ever be--anything new in nude photography?"
    (Yes, yes, I know that I shall be accused of playing the "nude card" for this posting, but things have been rather slow the last few days.)
    --Lannie
     
  2. I absolutely believe there can! I don't remember how long ago it was, but a certain photographer shot nudes of models literally drenched head to toe in honey, which quite honestly was something I never would of though in if I has sat in a monastery for a hundred years. It does seem like in order to be original photographers will have to go farther and farther from what is the 'norm' for such photos
     
  3. Your linked this one looks like she's at the gynecologist waiting for her pap smear. Maybe her face is supposed to be a smirk and not a grimace.
    John Coplans tried doing something new, but found no followers that I know of.
    Wolfgang Tillmans tries everything. I wish I could find an online version of a guy simply putting his face right up under the standing female nude and staring curiously up into her vagina from two inches away. A nice, honest depiction.
     
  4. That's new??? Only if someone has been living in a cave (w/ no internet connection).
     
  5. Yes, there can be.
    "New" isn't necessarily going farther from the norm, IMO. When someone stakes out a personal vision of something, the symbiosis between the subject and how the photographer sees and feels about it, especially if genuine, may create something new. Some "new" things look the same as old things on the surface, but when I look beneath the surface, I may discover what's actually new about them. Likewise, plenty of new things that don't have that personal or authentic stake, are new but merely gimmicks. A lot of things that merely go further than the norm do so transparently and self consciously and often fail.
     
  6. a certain photographer shot nudes of models literally drenched head to toe in honey, which quite honestly was something I never would of though in if I has sat in a monastery for a hundred years.​
    I don't know, Spencer. A hundred years is a long time, in or out of a monastery.
    --Lannie
     
  7. Maybe her face is supposed to be a smirk and not a grimace.​
    Julie, what is striking to me, in looking through the folder, is how she nearly freezes her face throughout nearly the entire sequence. I would actually interpret the look as more detached and impassive than being either a smirk or a grimace. Perhaps it is a self-protective mask, or perhaps her deliberate communication of displeasure. I would not yet call it a smirk, but perhaps that is close enough as a characterization.
    --Lannie
     
  8. That's new??? Only if someone has been living in a cave (w/ no internet connection). --Steve Mareno​
    There are actually some serious considerations relevant to painting and photography here, and I daresay that the issues involved are not as obvious as many persons might think. This video (below) addresses only the orientation of the standing pelvis, but apparently there is a continuum of possible pelvic angles from the standing orientation to the supine orientation. The sitting orientation? The [deliberately slumped] orientation shown in the linked photo? I am not sure, but this is a pretty serious anatomical issue. I am not posting in order to titillate, and I do not think that anything is as obvious about any of this as many persons seem to think.
    [LINK]
    It was for good reason that Michelangelo studied anatomy.
    We can learn something about the "good nude" from analyzing a bad one.
    --Lannie
     
  9. I agree with Fred: of course there could be something new, but what it is I don't know. This question is not really unlike asking whether it is possible to make any new (creatively-speaking) photograph: to which the answer, surely, has be "yes".
     
  10. Some "new" things look the same as old things on the surface, but when I look beneath the surface, I may discover what's actually new about them. Likewise, plenty of new things that don't have that personal or authentic stake, are new but merely gimmicks.​
    Fred, it is that "beneath the surface" aspect which intrigues me in all things. I shoot rather ordinary things day in and day out, but sometimes I feel that I see something new in something that I have shot many times before. Sometimes it is about the light, sometimes the angle, sometimes the weather or season, etc. I don't know that the nude is inherently any different in this regard.
    --Lannie
     
  11. I agree with Fred: of course there could be something new, but what it is I don't know. This question is not really unlike asking whether it is possible to make any new (creatively-speaking) photograph: to which the answer, surely, has be "yes".​
    It occurs to me, Robin, that until we see it we often do not know it--imagination being limited (and limiting) on many things. It reminds me of the saying "You don't know what you don't know." One doesn't conceive of the visually new most of the time until it hits one in the face. When I do catch something in one of my own pictures that strikes me as new, it is as often the result of an accident. Other persons with better artistic imaginations can surely do better than that.

    --Lannie
     
  12. I don't know that the nude is inherently any different in this regard.​
    One difference may be this . . .
    I am not posting in order to titillate​
    Making this qualification probably wouldn't have come if you'd posted a picture of a barn. ;-)

    Seriously, though, there are certain subjects that will often come with various qualifications or tinges of something at play. One example is photographers who talk about pix of homeless people, qualifying them with statements of non-exploitation.

    Lannie, yes, I understand what you're saying about seeing something new in things you've shot. Getting the viewer to see it as new is another matter. I remember a POTW of Jack McRitchie's, HERE, that garnered a whole lot of discussion, many finding nothing new in it, many finding a lot to recommend it.

    Knowing Jack's work as I do, whatever new is to be found is revealed more when seeing each photo in the context of his portfolio than looking at each as an individual. I think that's true with a lot of "new" creative stuff. It's usually not a one-off. One Jackson Pollock would not be as "new" as his body of work. One Picasso might just seem grotesque. The body of work built around his vision makes it harder to ignore, more coherent, and more evident as a way of looking at the world rather than just a way to paint a painting.

    When I look through Jack's work, Pollock's, Picasso's (no, Jack, I'm not putting you up there with the great artists of our time and I know you wouldn't want to be put up there), I see coherence and a degree of consistency. When I look through the folder of the nude you linked to, Lannie, I see repetitiveness more than those other qualities.
     
  13. I agree with Fred, but the point raised by him applies to any form of art, not just the nudes genre. I am asking myself, what makes nude photography so vulnerable to being boring or unoriginal? Is it because nude photography is associated by many (e.g. here at PN) with achieving easy popularity via the erotic or the sexual card. Is it this prejudice that prevents many of us from properly judging nudes and stereotyping them into one category? May be what Fred said applies here. the textures and forms of human genitalia and exposed body (and the associated prejudices?) are so bold, that one may remain fixated at the surface without getting deeper to glean any message that the photographer meant.
     
  14. I think there is no doubt that the erotic imagination may or may not be engaged in nude or partly nude photography and this adds a powerful factor in our consideration (positive or negative). There is nothing really wrong with appealing to the erotic, but many are suspicious of this reaction as being unsophisticated or "easy". This factor will be absent for photos of most other things.
     
  15. THE TECHNOLOGY/MECHANICS OF THE NUDE (OR OF EROTICA?)
    I am not posting in order to titillate --LK
    Making this qualification probably wouldn't have come if you'd posted a picture of a barn. ;-) --Fred​
    I know that this is going to sound fairly ridiculous, but I am indeed intrigued by what makes a photo more revealing (or at least to appear to be revealing), at the same time that I have always been more than a bit both intrigued and puzzled by pelvic angle in the display of--and accessibility of--female genitalia. (How's that for laying one's cards on the table?) In and of itself, that issue has little to do with photography. It is ipso facto about sexuality pure and simple. Matters of basic mechanics lie behind the whole question as to why sex in this position is even possible, or why lifting a woman's knee (when standing) makes possible what is almost impossible if one does not do so. I have said that it is about pelvic angle. (I said that in my comment on the linked photo before I started this thread. I was writing about the same topic half a day earlier to another photographer on Photo.net.) Pelvic angle is perhaps really tied to the angle of the legs after all--in which case my analysis in that comment was dead wrong, since I said on that linked photo that it was about the angle of the body pure and simple. But maybe that is all about two sides of the same coin: the angle of the legs to the body, or the angle of the body to the legs (knees to the chest being one limiting extreme). Other "technological" issues present themselves: what happens, for example, when a standing woman bends over? What can be said about the angle of the vaginal canal during all these positional variations? Can a photographer exploit the dynamics of what happens to make a better picture, whether better as erotica or better as beauty or inspiration? At stake in either case is something about the dynamics of the pelvis, which (with the associated muscles) is after all a type of machine. How that is linked to either the angle of the torso or the angle of the legs is my quandary. I won't belabor the technical point any more than I already have, except to say that one sees the results of that machinery in photography even if one has never stopped to analyze it. (I guess that this means that I am not a man of action. Most men would be taking advantage of the situation while I would still be back there analyzing it. Others might yet be fixated on breasts. Others might be gay, etc.)
    As for the new versus the repetitive in the photo that I linked, yes, there are two things about that photo and those photos: the photos are all alike in one regard. (They show a lot. Her face is rigid and impassive.) The first one (the linked one) is new for me (or was perceived to be new by me) because I thought that I saw something about the dynamics of the pelvis for the first time. Again, I think that I might have been wrong, but that is neither here nor there, and so I will shut up about it from here on out.
    What is obvious is that the degree of revelation ("genital display") does not necessarily make for a more erotic photograph, much less a more beautiful or enticing one. Sometimes less is more, etc. Sometimes the appetite is whetted more by the tease, sometimes some by the blatant de facto statement of availability. (I could get off on a digression involving the issue of seduction, but I will try not to.) In the same way, the "aesthetic appeal" can be turned on or off by such "variables."
    What (you ask) does this have to do with the nude as an art form? I guess that the answer to that depends on the extent to which the aesthetics of the nude is about sex. That the nude is not always about sex is obvious enough. (That is not always about the display of genitalia is even more obvious.) That the nude is usually about sex is equally obvious, I think--but sexual interest is hardly always about gazing at genital display. Now, if we are going to try to analyze the nude in terms of what is erotic, then we might need to understand the kind of an applied technology to be used--if we understand in the first place what makes a photo erotic and thus sexually pleasing/interesting to look at in the first place. The "gynecological exam" shot usually does not do it, even for straight guys. Even if it quickly catches one's attention, it just as quickly loses it.
    If, on the other hand, there are nobler (than sexual?!) reasons to display the nude than appeals to the prurient interest, well, then, we have a different challenge. There exist romance and spirituality and lust, and how they are differentiated versus mixed up together I have no idea.
    I don't know where this is going, so let me simply close this post by saying, "It's complicated."
    The interplay of the erotic and the aesthetic in nude photography is always complicated. Sometimes I wish that I had never started these darned threads.
    --Lannie
     
  16. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    The body view, male or female as a piece of art -- eternal theme. A human, male or female in a lovely pose in attractive surroundings, again, timeless. Seductive poses, expressions of personality, a wicked twinkle in the eye -- yes. Even porn, though it has never been of much interest to me, of course.
    Not a gynecological study, not pieces of meat -- people. I just don't think full frontals add much. They haven't had much shock power for several decades at least, Ho, Hum!.
    As to something new, as with many things, rediscovery, fresh impression, illusion of the first time. Will know it when it emerges.
    Lannie, do you have a license to operate this sort of thread? ;-)
     
  17. Lannie, do you have a license to operate this sort of thread? ;-)​
    Sandy, I just ask questions, even when I seem to be making assertions: they are always tentative assertions, always potential talking points. I also do a lot of "thinking out loud" in my posts on such matters until the core questions begin to crystallize.
    The implicit talking point driving me was never stated explicitly, and I just realized what it was a few minutes ago:
    Is the display of genitalia the elephant in the room where nude aesthetics is concerned?
    I do not mean to suggest either that such a display generally does or does not make a photo better as nude art. I do think that what one believes about how the nether realm is hidden or displayed tells a lot about one's "nude aesthetic." My own sarcastic criticism of the nude linked to in the original post gives some indication of my own preference. (My own meanderings in my previous post can also be traced back to what I said in that criticism. My comments above are only intelligible by going back to what I wrote in response to that linked nude.)
    I do think that American society and culture are still doing a little dance around the "problem" of full nudity. Allusions to sexuality pure and simple are derivative--but more or less explicit displays of sexuality enter into the mix as well.
    I do not see an emerging consensus on these issues, rather more of a continuing divide. My own belief is that, if a nude photo is really good, one almost does not notice whether or not genitalia are visible.
    --Lannie
     
  18. As stated in the original post, all genre's seem to have been "done to death." Most people picking up a camera are going to find it difficult to not be in the same territory that thousands of other photographers have explored. Nevertheless, some creative individuals do find a distinctive voice that stands out from the masses. The only really interesting nudes I have seen on pnet are Emil Schildt's, seen here: http://www.photo.net/photodb/member-photos?user_id=526277
    And Schildt has a whole portfolio of interesting nudes. It can be done.
     
  19. Steve, over ten years ago Marc Gouguenhem ("Marc G.") wrote me to say that "The only genius on the site is Emil Schildt." That was (and is) to my mind overstatement, but Schildt's work is still among the best nude photography that I have been. He used to have a great biopic as well. I don't know if it is still there or not. I remember it because it reminded me how far American culture is from European culture on such matters.
    I just checked. After all these years, it's still here:
    [LINK]
    For much of the world, nudity just isn't a "big deal."
    --Lannie
     
  20. Lannie: My own belief is that, if a nude photo is really good, one almost does not notice whether or not genitalia are visible.​
    While this may be true of some photos, it is not true for me of others. Why wouldn't it be the case that a viewer might notice genitalia (perhaps because a photographer has visually pointed the viewer in that direction) and might even be utterly titillated by a good photo? You seem to be suggesting that good photos aren't about genitalia as genitalia. Why not?
    This sort of goes along with . . .
    Lannie: If, on the other hand, there are nobler (than sexual?!) reasons to display the nude than appeals to the prurient interest, well, then, we have a different challenge. There exist romance and spirituality and lust, and how they are differentiated versus mixed up together I have no idea.​
    "Nobler (than sexual?!) reasons"? What's less noble about sex than other human activities or reasons?
    I don't deny that a pepper can be eaten even when I look at Weston's artistic rendition of it as more than a vegetable to be eaten. I don't deny that a nude can be titillating and/or erotic in addition to a lot of other things when I look at an artistic one.
    I do notice how frequently male photographers deny the titillation factor of their photography. Just read some of the posts of PN nude photographers who claim to be "artists" who are "above" titillation. Something occurs to me about protesting too much. And denial.
    Lannie: Is the display of genitalia the elephant in the room where nude aesthetics is concerned?
    I'd say there are so many elephants in this room that it would be hard to name them all! ;-)
     
  21. Fred, my allusion to "nobler" activities was strictly tongue in cheek. What is better or more inspiring than "love"?
    As for whether we should or should not be aware of the genitalia in a work of art, I have admittedly overstated the case. I do think, however, that we should reasonably expect to see more work where the fact that genitals are visible is not a factor in evaluating the picture as either indecent or even "inappropriate." I sometimes over-generalize. This is one of those instances.
    Elephants in the room? Nudity and sexuality, genitalia, sexual acts, sexual orientation--if it involves sex, there are some who are going to feel uncomfortable. Many of their values are incommensurable with those of others.
    --Lannie
     
  22. What is better or more inspiring than "love"?​
    How'd we go from genitals to love?
    I do think, however, that we should reasonably expect to see more work where the fact that genitals are visible is not a factor in evaluating the picture as either indecent or even "inappropriate."​
    I thought we were talking about doing something new with nudes. The question of indecency seems different to me. I generally resist discussions of nudity and sex that so quickly and inevitably seem to lead to discussions of indecency. It just feels off to me. So I'll just sit back for a bit and see where the discussion goes.
     
  23. How'd we go from genitals to love?​
    Fred, we didn't go from genitals to love. We went from genitals to "love," which is code for "sex."
    I generally resist discussions of nudity and sex that so quickly and inevitably seem to lead to discussions of indecency.​
    Like it or not, social attitudes about decency and indecency are probably the biggest elephants in the room where discussions of nudity and sexuality are concerned. I'm not legislating morality here. I'm looking for what is authentically human.
    My mind is open. I have no agenda as to where the discussion should go from here.
    --Lannie
     
  24. Like it or not, social attitudes about decency and indecency are probably the biggest elephants in the room where discussions of nudity and sexuality are concerned.​
    It may be that attitudes about decency and indecency are elephants in the room for you when discussions of nudity come up. I don't find that true for many other people with whom I discuss nude photos.

    I can honestly tell you that I've had gallery shows of my photos, many of which contain nudity, some of which have elements of sexuality, and among the hundreds of viewers at those shows and on PN where my portfolio has been on view for about 10 years, I can't think of too many times anyone has talked about decency and I very, very rarely got the feeling it was an elephant in the room when people have discussed my work with me. I rarely feel it when I'm discussing the work of others as well. I find the question of decency a very specific and somewhat tangential context in which to make photos that include nudity or in which to look at photos that deal with nudity. I'm not saying it's not a valid topic of discussion if and when it comes up, but I am saying it's by no means an elephant in the room for me or for many people with whom I've discussed photographic nudity.
     
  25. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Possibly, one man's elephant is another man's mole -- e.g. mountain / molehill.
     
  26. By the way, Lannie, I want to be clear. I very much respect how open you are to where these threads go. I know you don't
    have an agenda as to where other people go with the ideas. I was just noticing that you, yourself, took it to the decency
    place. I found the newness issue you started with more interesting.
     
  27. I was just noticing that you, yourself, took it to the decency place.​
    I don't have a "decency place," Fred. I only want to express what is authentically human vis-a-vis the nude, as in all things. What that entails is completely open for discussion, as far as I am concerned.
    --Lannie
     
  28. Now, if we are going to try to analyze the nude in terms of what is erotic, then we might need to understand the kind of an applied technology to be used--if we understand in the first place what makes a photo erotic and thus sexually pleasing/interesting to look at in the first place.​
    That Youtube analysis of the female pelvis seems not the way to define eroticism in the female figure and seems more like a confusion between correct anatomy verses posture of the subject which requires seeing the arch of the spine in relation to the legs and upper torso. The human figure is one cohesive form made up of flowing and rhythmic lines and shapes similar to these sketches...
    http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5b/63/6b/5b636bcd1714cdcfdb94f29aafe6818b.jpg
    http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d9/86/3a/d9863a74cbadc81805ac0397591b3966.jpg
    http://d2918aghi3b457.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/211-red-chalk-study-.jpg
    Like it or not, social attitudes about decency and indecency are probably the biggest elephants in the room where discussions of nudity and sexuality are concerned. I'm not legislating morality here. I'm looking for what is authentically human.​
    Sexual hang ups concerning whether nudes are seen as indecent or artistic is an authentic human aspect of society in general that could be amplified and communicated in a nude photo as an original approach or POV. Creating contrast using line, shape and posture of the nude female figure to distinguish between morals associated with innocence against the grotesque might make for a compelling nude, though I think that's already been done as well.
     
  29. That Youtube analysis of the female pelvis seems not the way to define eroticism in the female figure and seems more like a confusion between correct anatomy verses posture of the subject which requires seeing the arch of the spine in relation to the legs and upper torso.​
    I won't try to defend the accuracy of the video, Tim. It was all that I could find at the time. What I have found since indicates that the actual mechanics of the pelvis are a good bit more complicated than can be shown in that kind of display. I cannot vouch for the angles shown in that video, in any case.
    The angle of the pelvis certainly is about good posture, but it is more than that. I don't see the need to go any further down that path, unless one genuinely wants to understand how the angle of the pelvis and other variables affects the actual shape and function of parts of the body. Painters and sculptors might conceivably need that kind of understanding in order to recreate the form using chisel or brush. Photographers need only go with what is pleasing to the eye, I suppose.
    I had gotten off on that tangent when analyzing the linked photo. Pierre Dumas' comment on the photo on the link on the original post emphasized the slump of the model. I was trying to analyze whether and to what extent that affected how the genitalia were displayed--a tangential consideration, but one that is tied to a number of other issues relating not only to posture pure and simple, but especially to what one might call "sexual posture," that is, how the angles change in differing modeling or sexual positions. I thought that perhaps that might shed some light on how models position or ought to position themselves, but any insight gained would be purely about mechanics, not aesthetics or eroticism--at least not without a great deal more analysis. I sincerely doubt that it would be worth the time for me. I cannot speak for others.
    In any case, you are correct in saying that none of that defines eroticism. Nor have I made precisely that claim. Such analyses can only conceivably help to explain how motion or posture can affect display and functioning of the genitalia. They will not determine what is erotic--although I would not want to rule out a priori what might or might not help predict a beautiful or appealing pose. I think that the physiology is quite fascinating, but I do not know what one can prove with that kind of information. Most of all, I do not understand it very well. The pelvis and the shoulders are incredibly complex. A Michelangelo or da Vincis might be able to use such in-depth analysis of the most complex joints. I really would not know what to do with the result of such analysis, even if I did understand it.
    If this topic comes up again, I am going to refer people back to this and my earlier post ( Jun 16, 2016; 05:46 p.m. ) on the mechanics of the pelvis. I have nothing more to say about such things, and, if I do dig around and come up with anything, I am going to keep it to myself. One can only expect to be misunderstood when one starts talking or writing about such things.
    Were it not for the fact that this thread raised the question of whether anything new might be found in nude photography, I would not even have gone down this path. I won't say that analysis of physiological mechanics cannot or could not be of help in discovering something new on why some nudes are more appealing than others. I simply do not know what on earth one could expect to find, or how to go about it. I won't rule out the possibility that someone brighter and better trained than myself might manage to find something useful at some point in the future.
    --Lannie
     
  30. Like it or not, social attitudes about decency and indecency are probably the biggest elephants in the room where discussions of nudity and sexuality are concerned. I'm not legislating morality here. I'm looking for what is authentically human. --Lannie
    Sexual hang ups concerning whether nudes are seen as indecent or artistic is an authentic human aspect of society in general that could be amplified and communicated in a nude photo as an original approach or POV. Creating contrast using line, shape and posture of the nude female figure to distinguish between morals associated with innocence against the grotesque might make for a compelling nude, though I think that's already been done as well. --Tim​
    Tim, I don't understand you here at all.
    --Lannie
     
  31. a certain photographer shot nudes of models literally drenched head to toe in honey​
    Spencer, THIS SCENE of Ann-Margret from Ken Russell's Tommy isn't quite a nude, but might kill two birds with one stone. It could be a more savory bean and chocolate precursor to your honey example and might also hint at one of the real elephants in this room!
    Forgive me, all the pelvis talk got me worked up into a frenzy ;-)
    But, back to the point, Tommy, now there was something new.
     
  32. In any case, you are correct in saying that none of that defines eroticism. Nor have I made precisely that claim. Such analyses can only conceivably help to explain how motion or posture can affect display and functioning of the genitalia.​
    Lanny, your OP is about finding new ways to depict the nude figure (male or female). You considered the mechanics of anatomy as the underpinnings to eroticism which is a worthy approach to understanding its influences.
    The sketches I posted was to show the results of relationship created by these mechanics to show rhythm of line, shape and texture whose aesthetics are changed by the subject's posture, body type, surroundings and lighting of the nude figure which is at the core of eroticism. It is a question of contrasts and how to recognize it in all its various forms such as lights/darks, soft/rough, small/large, etc. It's how photographers and image makers make someone look at something in an image.
    Even the genitalia is an element used to provide contrast in directing the viewer. As an example you could have the nude female laying in a backlit bath of green lime jello with the body in a fixed position to emphasize line shape and form with just the pale pinkish face and genitalia exposed to contrast against the green jello.
    There are a myriad of ways to depict contrast in any image to make the viewer look and see something new even in eroticism.
     
  33. Tim, I don't understand you here at all.
    --Lannie​
    Refer to my previous point about contrast which also encompasses playing against established social mores either through humor or shock. However you define it, it's about making the viewer look at your image. By shapes and forms and/or ideas. Whatever it takes.
     
  34. Holy crap! Fred's Tommy and Ann Margret wrestling with chocolate, beans and spaghetti beats my green jello for power of suggestive eroticism prize.
    I never could watch the entire movie so I'm seeing that for the first time.
    Thanks for the link, Fred.
     
  35. And, of course, there's no reason to limit nude photography to eroticism . . .
    LARRY CLARK
     
  36. Lanny has his fascination with the angle of a woman's pelvis as I have about a woman's gap. I don't know what it is about it that attracts me. I'ld rather look at that than a full nude. Maybe something new in the genre of nudes could be created based on that.
    Even a google search knows about this. Here's one that really emphasizes this anatomical wonder ...
    http://s14.photobucket.com/user/andynuyen/media/gap.jpg.html
     
  37. (male or female)​
    MALE (Ryan McGinley)

    FEMALE (McGinley again)
     
  38. Fred, so those two examples are new ways to depict nudes in the sense they are of subjects who appear accidentally and playfully caught nude as an expression of freedom and innocence. More naturalistic posing as nudes in their own personal space. That's a compelling approach that offers more variety and shooting options.
     
  39. Lanny has his fascination with the angle of a woman's pelvis as I have about a woman's gap.​
    Tim, I wouldn't call it a "fascination." I thought that that approach might bear fruit in terms of art.
    Unfortunately, those who really do find it fascinating are serving up mostly porn, based on what I am finding. It is actually quite revolting. (I won't provide links! I won't mention the search strings used to find such sites, either.)
    I thought naively that one could use an analytical and scientific approach in this area. Unfortunately, the web is not geared toward "analysis" or "science" where nudes are concerned.
    --Lannie
     
  40. And, of course, there's no reason to limit nude photography to eroticism . . .​
    Nor "aestheticism," either, Fred. What that link showed isn't pretty or sexy, but it is real.
    --Lannie
     
  41. A friend just called to say that I should look out toward the north and northwest. Well, what I saw was less impressive than what I felt: sweet, dry Canadian air blowing steadily from the north all the way down here near Charlotte--and no doubt across the state line and on down into South Carolina. This late in June!
    Thank God for Canada, and thank God for a refreshing and wholesome alternative to viewing nudes.
    Fred, I have to say, however, that some of those Ryan McGinley photos you are posting are just as refreshing--even wholesome and innocent. What a relief!
    We all know that "the nude" is not inherently evil or sleazy, but sometimes the web can make one think that it is. I wish that I were up in the mountains right now.
    --Lannie
     
  42. Maybe the title of the thread should have been this:
    Is there--could there ever be--anything new and refreshing in nude photography?

    --Lannie
     
  43. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Well this could be new:

    http://images.counselheal.com/data/images/full/6261/total-recall-three-breasts.jpg?w=600

    but it is getting a bit passe.
     
  44. Sometimes, when an image is appealing, it is as much the idea as it is what is actually shown:
    [LINK]
    There is more than one idea here, of course. One is simply the idea of a free and open beach, free of societal restrictions and regulations. Another is a variation on the "nude in nature" theme. Of course, what is shown here is above all the idea inhering in an aging man's fantasy--and probably a younger man's as well.
    Is there anything "new" here? Perhaps, but it is yet just another variation on a theme. Perhaps that is all that novelty or "the new" is about at this stage in the history of photography--with the rare exception of the photo that does indeed take one totally by surprise.
    --Lannie
     
  45. Here is a song that conveys an idea very similar to one of the ideas inhering in the photo just above. Ultimately, that idea is that of loss--the loss that comes with aging.
    Here is yet another song in which the video shows a young Phoebe Cates who might as well be nude, in my opinion.
    --Lannie
     
  46. Even the tried and true can break over us afresh, as in this one by Carney Malone:
    [LINK]
    Is it new? Well, of course not.
    But is it new? Well, of course it is, if it's timeless.
    Stephen Haynes' work is in the same tradition:
    [LINK]
    Every wrinkle is in some sense a new wrinkle. Here is another by Carney Malone:
    [LINK]
    --Lannie
     
  47. playing the "nude card"​
    These latest are traditional, easily anticipated, nudes and do seem to play just that card.
    Of course, what is shown here is above all the idea inhering in an aging man's fantasy--​
    LOL. This "idea" may be more true of the last three links than the more obvious one of the older guy with the long, hard pole!
     
  48. ... here is a song:
    She wore blue velvet
    Bluer than velvet was the night
    ***
    What are you doing in my closet, Jeffrey Beaumont? — Dorothy Vallens
     
  49. When viewers and commentators on nude photography find (new?) words on novel perspectives on nudity maybe, one day, we are able to answer Lannie's question on what is "new in nude photography". Until then we are turning in circles.
    Spencer Tunick (ref Phil) might be hinting on such new perspectives.
     
  50. LOL. This "idea" may be more true of the last three links than the more obvious one of the older guy with the long, hard pole!​
    Fred "the Snake" Goldsmith strikes again. I was warned but went ahead with the thread anyway.
    Here is an old man's fantasy for you--not mine, but somebody's.
    Fred, may one of your own fantasies rise up and bite you on your hind leg.
    Both hind legs, you satyr!
    --Lannie
     
  51. Another way to phrase the question and the remove the confines of a 'genre' ( like in this case Nude Photography ) - is to ask if there could be anything new in the portrayal or use of the nude in photography.

    For example, Spencer Tunick's work I wouldn't consider to be Nude Photography, even though the people in his photographs are all posing nude.​
    That's true enough, Phil, and I have to say that that might be the best way to get at the narrower genre of "nude photography," as paradoxical as that may sound.
    The reason for my saying so is that I would like for the nude to be so nearly ubiquitous that we almost wouldn't notice it, as if to say that society considered nudity to be so inconsequential that it often took absolutely no notice of it.
    That would be a fantasy--or the fulfillment of one! (Brian Grossman's extended fantasy of Richmond, Virginia comes to mind, although I am not sure that he would think of his own work that way.)
    --Lannie
     
  52. Fred, I was just kidding, of course--even about your infamous hind legs. All of photography--even documentary photography--is fantasy as far as I am concerned.
    --Lannie
     
  53. ... here is a song:
    She wore blue velvet
    Bluer than velvet was the night
    ***
    What are you doing in my closet, Jeffrey Beaumont? — Dorothy Vallens
    Julie, could you explain what all of this means, for all of us who have not seen the movie?
    --Lannie
     
  54. Here is an old man's fantasy for you--not mine, but somebody's.​
    YES! And I don't hesitate to admit or show it.

    [I love a good ribbing ;-)]
    The reason for my saying so is that I would like for the nude to be so nearly ubiquitous that we almost wouldn't notice it, as if to say that society considered nudity to be so inconsequential that it often took absolutely no notice of it.​
    Why? I would never want to neuter such a rich subject so rife with history, possibility, innuendo, symbolism, discomfort, guilt, sensuality, sexuality, corporeality, . . . and pretense.
     
  55. Spencer Tunick​
    Thanks, Phil and Anders, for the link.
    I like his group stuff the most, the stuff in the series Reaction Zone and elsewhere. I think he's saying something about community in those photos and, in some cases, he seems overtly to be creating a connection, as if we are links in a chain. Doing that, particularly in the environments he chooses, has a sense of holism to it. A distinction between "made-made" and "natural" is often made, and he seems to thwart that distinction a bit, making the natural at home in the constructed worlds in which we live. At the same time, I experience some alienation even bordering on horror as I contemplate piles of bodies from various genocides the world has known. I find that sort of tension very moving and effective, though difficult.
    His more singular images, in some of the cases I viewed, seem a little more self conscious to me, like he hasn't quite pulled off something. THIS ONE, for example, in London, just feels kind of obvious and uninspired. There are a few in that series I prefer, for instance the two women standing in front of the very colorful and adorned home. In many of these individual works, again, the bodies almost seem dead, very little energy or movement suggested (though there are some that have that), often with dry expressions. I appreciate what he's doing but it's not quite getting me in the gut.
    When viewers and commentators on nude photography find (new?) words on novel perspectives on nudity maybe, one day, we are able to answer Lannie's question on what is "new in nude photography". Until then we are turning in circles.​
    Anders, I agree. I've made an attempt. I invite you to take up your own suggestion. Maybe we can make a difference right here right now.
     
  56. Tunick's work is new terroir (not terror ...). It's swirl, sniff and sip territory.
    Lannie doesn't want to sniff and sip; he wants it in the vein. His current fix isn't getting him high.
     
  57. Tunick's work is new terroir (not terror ...). It's swirl, sniff and sip territory.
    Lannie doesn't want to sniff and sip; he wants it in the vein. His current fix isn't getting him high.​
    Tunick's "individual nude" series (linked to by Fred just above) is too obviously posed to be of much interest to me--but I say also, like Fred, that there is the occasional exception. Why doesn't Tunick's approach to the individual nude work for me? I am not sure, but I was thinking early this morning about the difference between the "nude in nature" and the "natural nude." I am not sure what the natural nude might be, but to be interesting to me it would have to be unforced and unfettered, in a word, truly "natural." Tunick's "individual nudes" are hardly that.
    The "nude in nature" is almost always a cliché. Could the "natural nude" (the totally unself-conscious nude) be otherwise? I would expect the actual person shown nude in the "natural nude" to be totally unself-conscious in a genuine and unforced sense, and I would hope that the viewer would not have the sense of being a voyeur in the negative sense of that term when around such persons--or if one were a member of the kind of the kind of community in which the natural nude is likely to be seen. I am speaking of something like the so-called "Bohemian" culture which has been around for ages, and which goes by a variety of names. Suffice it to say that it is often but not always on the margins of what some would call "civil society" without yet necessarily being part of a true "counter-culture" in the sense that that term is often used. It simply does not define itself by comparison with the larger conventional culture of modern capitalism and its bourgeois underpinnings. It seems to have its own center. I think that the "natural nude" would also have its own "center," its own frame of aesthetic reference and moral evaluation (if one must speak of such).
    This sense of the natural is ironically the hardest thing to capture when photographing the nude, I would surmise--based on what I have seen in others' photographs. After all, the point of the nude is, well, the nude, and how one acts as if that were not the point and do it with conviction and a sense of authenticity would be the trick, I believe. When I wrote above that "I would like for the nude to be so nearly ubiquitous that we almost wouldn't notice it," I didn't mean that it would be boring or invisible, or that the sexual undercurrent would not be there (which is perhaps what Fred thought that I meant--I'm not sure). I meant rather that the nude in any context, solitary in nature or on a city street, would simply be "no big deal"--certainly not cause for a sense of horror, outrage, or shame--on the part of the viewer or the viewed.
    I have almost come to the conclusion here that art is not doing a particularly good job of leading the way in portraying this kind of nude. Indeed, the mere fact that the nude is widely accepted in art while nudity is not widely accepted in everyday life points up the fact that what we seem to have is anything but the "natural nude," but instead the quintessentially "unnatural nude." I think that nudists or naturists--especially those who live in communities where persons not only swim but go shopping in the nude--have captured (or are trying to capture) what I am talking about. I am still not sure that they are succeeding very well. The naturist club seems to be an artificial environment, and when persons leave such enclaves, I presume that they revert not only to the usual conventions of dress, but to conventional attitudes as well. In any case, they seem to step from one role into another, and back again.
    The "natural nude" as I envision or conceptualize it is not the creation of a special variant of a posed photo of a nude person, but a simple capture of a pre-existing type of social relationship in which bodily self-consciousness has almost totally disappeared. Perhaps that is a utopia or a fantasy, but I don't think that that is a useful way to conceive of it. I have seen it, or something which approximates it. It can exist. What I saw for the first time in the early seventies on the fringe of the counter-culture in Gainesville, Florida, comes close to capturing what I am talking about. I was on the fringe of that counter-culture--a sort of button-down radical who did not quite fit anywhere--but I interacted freely with members who were thoroughly immersed in it. Yet, yet, I was never quite a part of it, and what I saw was only a glimpse of it through the private lives of friends--friends who accepted me but who knew that I was not quite of their culture or their lifestyle. Nor were these persons "drop-outs"--in any sense. Some were, since drop-outs walk among us every day, but by and large they seem to have deliberately pulled away from conventional society--not to say that many have not reassimilated into conventional society, at least to all appearances. One was a guy who did titrations in a lab by day but who returned to his friends in a quasi-communal residence just outside the student ghetto at night. Another was a woman who worked with my wife in the library at UF, someone who was a genuinely good friend but who also was about as unself-conscious as one can get. There were a lot of people like that. I am not talking about the "Woodstock generation" or other media creations, but about college kids and older persons alike who simply dropped many of the conventions of bourgeois society. Yet, in spite of the popular conception of them, they were among the most innocent and moral persons whom I have ever met. How could one capture what they had found (or created) in a photograph? I am not sure that one could, but, if one could, the resulting photos would be special and precious indeed.
    The social movement that gave rise to that unself-consciousness was seen on the West Coast first, and came to national prominence in the 1960s. It was certainly nowhere to be found in South Carolina when I left there to take off for grad school at the University of Florida in late August, 1970. What I saw in Gainseville were lots of students (and others) who played at being part of that counter-culture, and then there were those who seemed to be true exemplars of something new--not that it was ever truly new, only that it had not been seen on such a scale in the East that I knew, not in Ohio nor the Carolinas or anywhere else where I had lived.
    There no doubt are examples of photos of the kinds of communal relationships that I am talking about here, but I imagine that they are viewed now was something like museum relics, views of a social anomaly of some sort.
    In any case, what I am seeking in the "new" in nude photography is less about the nude per se and more about social relationships--and how does one capture that in a photograph? I am not sure that one could, but, if one could, that might approximate what I am seeking in the idea of "what is new where nude photography is concerned."
    I almost want to say that what I saw (and shared to some small degree) was a sense of innocence, but a kind of "self-aware" innocence that was yet more authentic than the simple bodilly self-consciousness which afflicts conventional society. Am I dreaming? Am I fantasizing? I don't think so. I am not talking about a sexual utopia. I am talking about something which I partly lived but mostly witnessed from outside. It was real. It was palpable. It still exists. I suspect that it has always existed. How does one capture it in a photograph? Sometimes I despair of the possibility, but not so totally that I stop risking a thread like this every once in a while.
    Here is Julie again: "Lannie doesn't want to sniff and sip; he wants it in the vein. His current fix isn't getting him high."
    Fair enough, Julie, as long as it is understood that "it" is akin to the same kind of high that I get when hiking along the ridgecrests of high mountains in a good stiff breeze. It is something healthy and natural, something real and authentic, something approaching freedom in the best sense of that word. There is no falseness in it.
    --Lannie
     
  58. Since I see art throughout history as so often anything but natural or anything but portraying the natural, I think so-called "natural nudes" is a fairly restrictive way to consider the possibilities for nudity to be used in art. When natural works and when candid works, it makes for great photography. But it's not all there is.
    Though I didn't find Tunick's individual photos all that compelling for the most part (I didn't provide the link), my general disappointment had nothing to do with their being posed rather than natural. I just didn't feel he got the right poses. Actually, I was thinking that had his poses been MORE forced and potent, at least in some cases, the photos would have worked a lot better. Time after time, his poses and expressions were blasé. I found that too lethargic after a while.
    I am thinking about how so much art is made. It's rarely made out on trails or high up on mountaintops. (Of course there are notable exceptions.) A lot of art is made in studios and on stages. Photographers tend to take their cameras along to the fields and mountaintops where they hike. But some use their imaginations to construct photos, as Tunick did, using the world, people he finds, and the ideas in his head as his studio and stage. If I think he missed on the whole, I still think he was headed in a great direction.
     
  59. I think so-called "natural nudes" is a fairly restrictive way to consider the possibilities for nudity to be used in art.​
    The natural nude is hardly the only possibility, Fred. It is one way of portraying the nude, among many. It is not about the "nude in nature," in any case, or at least not necessarily so.
    "On trails or high up on mountaintops"? I fear that I did not communicate very well. In any case, something must have been lost in translation.
    --Lannie
     
  60. I know you meant more than the nude in nature. You also meant natural in terms of being. You explained yourself quite well. I was simply using the mountaintop as an example, inspired by your last paragraph in which you addressed Julie. I understood your use of unfettered, unself-conscious, genuine, and unforced. You contrasted that with what you don't like, which is obviously posed. It's not unusual that photographers have something against obvious poses. I happen to think they're limiting possibilities when they think that way. I understand any photographer not wanting to do posed work. I find it limiting for photographers not to be open to others doing it and not to be open to what obvious poses may have to say.
    Lannie, consider that we can disagree even when understanding each other. I'm a pretty good reader and you're a pretty good comminicator. It's OK for us to disagree even when we do understand. I am not looking for innocence. I am not looking for the nude to be no big deal. I think nudity and our bodies can be a very big deal and I think photos are entitled to make things big deals . . . or not.
    Here are your words . . .
    that "it" is akin to the same kind of high that I get when hiking along the ridgecrests of high mountains in a good stiff breeze. It is something healthy and natural, something real and authentic, something approaching freedom in the best sense of that word. There is no falseness in it.​
    We are DIFFERENT. I appreciate expressions of alienation, I am open to things not healthy in society, which I find very real and authentic, and I think much good art has a significant degree of falseness to it.

    I am unholy and impure.
     
  61. You contrasted that with what you don't like, which is obviously posed.​
    No, I was trying to explain what I am looking for by way of something new. If someone else can come up with something new that is more obviously posed, I am all for it.
    As for being different, there is nothing wrong with being different, but rest assured that on the matter of being unholy and impure, we are in our own ways more alike than different. I simply am searching for a refuge in my photography more than you are, I think--a downer, not a stimulant. On that we probably are different. Nothing wrong with that!
    As for falseness in photography, I think that all photography is a lie. So, even if I capture an image of innocence, it is probably only a comforting illusion.
    --Lannie
     
  62. I dream of a Photonet forum discussion where contributors have limited in number of characters to use, just like in Twitter (140 characters - a little extreme, though !)).
    I might not be the only one who cannot find time and motivation to read never ending long contributions from a limited number of folks. (the last 14.000 characters above have been written by two very productive contributors only, plus a short text of Julie !)
    Never mind, without having read all and every word above, I find it interesting if indeed something novel is happening in nude photography.
    (already 343 characteres !)
    I believe that there is a continuum of nakedness in nude photography with varied degrees of intimacy: from photos of naked individuals in private settings; photos of nude persons where aesthetics is the core subject; and photos of nude persons which fully impersonates bodies. i this sense Spencer Tunick shoots in the latter extreme category where nudes bodies are morphological matters first and foremost.
    As Tunick uses private volunteers and not models, he manages in fact to cover of three levels nakedness, from the private intimate, over the esthetic nudes to pure morphological nudity, which clearly intriques most viewers.
    (Additional 585 characters ! !)
     
  63. I believe that there is a continuum of nakedness in nude photography with varied degrees of intimacy. . . .​
    When you put it that way, Anders, it is a probably puzzling to some that anyone could possibly think that there could be anything new. If it has all been shown in terms of nakedness and intimacy, then what else is there?
    --Lannie
     
  64. Anders, is that all the nude is about to you: showing nakedness and intimacy?
    If the photographic nude were only about showing nakedness and intimacy, would it be worthy of our photographic efforts or of our discussion?
    That is an honest question, not a trap.
    --Lannie
     
  65. I dream of a Photonet forum discussion where contributors have limited in number of characters to use, just like in Twitter (140 characters - a little extreme, though !)).
    I might not be the only one who cannot find time and motivation to read never ending long contributions from a limited number of folks. (the last 14.000 characters above have been written by two very productive contributors only, plus a short text of Julie !)
    Never mind, without having read all and every word above, I find it interesting if indeed something novel is happening in nude photography.
    (already 343 characteres !)​
    NSFW PHOTO.
    ________________________________________________________
    Lannie, though you're talking about the "photographic nude", nudity and body parts can be used many ways and in many different genres of photography. I think this is what Phil was getting at earlier, that nudity is not just a genre. It can be used in a variety of ways. So, for example, the link I just offered is not, IMO, a photographic nude. How anyone categorizes it doesn't matter much to me. Not sure what genre I'd put it in, as a matter of fact. I guess maybe some sort of staged street shot. It was part of a series Andy and I did called UNDER THE BRIDGE
    In that photo, what bit of nudity there is is kind of gestural. But, while I may have done a bit of coercion by including the REVOLT graffiti in the background, I still leave it to the viewer to determine the meaning, if any.
     
  66. Lannie, perhaps THIS PHOTO addresses what you're talking about. Many of the critiques suggested that the nudity seemed to them secondary, or rather natural and unimposing. While I'm not sure I'd fully agree with that, I can see where they're coming from. Now, here's the case of a photo I did and really like a lot though I don't think it's anything new. I like it because it achieves a kind of intimacy I feel good about. It actually seems somewhat influenced by other photographers, probably Leibovitz to be sure. For me, what "newness" it might have is how it fits into my overall series of older men. Yet, the lighting is fairly traditional. Maybe his being in these surroundings is intriguing enough to be a bit novel, but novelty was really not what I cared about when I made it and not what I care about now. The genuineness you talked about is often much more important to me than newness. And it's a piece in a puzzle for me, part of a project.
     
  67. Holy crap! I just did a google image search using the term..."Groundbreaking Nude Photography" and could not believe how many uninspiring results showed up. Even scrolling down to the bottom and clicking "Show More" resulted in more of the same.
    None were better than Emil Schildt's work here on PN. His didn't show up in the search so either something is really wrong with Google's indexing or the public at large most likely generated the results through click bait tactics.
     
  68. "is that all the nude is about to you: showing nakedness and intimacy"
    Never wrote such crap ! Nakedness and intimacy might be among the dimensions to consider, I would however believe. I might be mistaken.
    Agree with Tim above, if it is permitted. Emil Schild is novel in nude photography since very long.
     
  69. Lannie wants to be seen (yes, a good photograph can do that — powerfully).
    Body to body (not necessarily eye to eye).
    Equal, where the see and seen, the look and being looked at, are inextricably unified. The kind of vision that is common, natural and normal in person to person interactions all day long. Heightened in those meetings of body to body, where two beings encounter one another for the first or the hundredth time.
    Not the glorified nude that ignores Lannie, or the slutty nude that wants to use Lannie, or the messaging nude that wants him to shut-up and listen, or the artistic arrangement that says think but don't be thought of.
    He wants not to be made to feel ignored, irrelevant, manipulated or preached to — i.e. not seen, partitioned off, separated, boxed in/out.
    [... and probably he would prefer that Julie not use him as a guinea pig ... too late!]
     
  70. Julie, no offense, but you lost me. . . . Would you please explain what you mean by "wants to be seen"? By posting nudes? What do you mean by "Body to body (not necessarily eye to eye)"?
    Fred, all that I can say is that you are bolder than I would be regarding what to post. I presume that you are rebelling in some sense against the constraints of society, etc.
    My other thread on what is taxable income (in camera and lens sales) was shut down last night. I wonder what will happen to this one.
    Anders, sorry if I misinterpreted you.
    Better copy this thread before it disappears into the void. . . .
    --Lannie
     
  71. This is from one of Tim Lookingbill's posts of June 17:
    However you define it, it's about making the viewer look at your image.​
    Is that what you are getting at, Julie? Using nudity in photos or posts or threads to gain viewers? Or are there deep Freudian implications to your remarks? In any case, they are too deep for me to grasp.
    --Lannie
     
  72. Equal, where the see and seen, the look and being looked at, are inextricably unified. The kind of vision that is common, natural and normal in person to person interactions all day long. Heightened in those meetings of body to body, where two beings encounter one another for the first 'or the hundredth time. --Julie H.​
    There you go talking dirty again--darned eloquent, though. Love it.
    He wants not to be made to feel ignored, irrelevant, manipulated or preached to — i.e. not seen, partitioned off, separated, boxed in/out.​
    Okay, so this is me. ("Soy yo.") I think that it is all of us. Some of us are just a bit more strident than others, even a bit more "in your face." Hard to shut us up short of shooting us.
    --Lannie
     
  73. Keep going. You're getting there ...
    [I'm loving that you're willing to work on what I wrote, rather than wait to be spoon fed.]
     
  74. Keep going. You're getting there ...
    [I'm loving that you're willing to work on what I wrote, rather than wait to be spoon fed.]
    "Feed me, Mandrake, feed me." -- Gen. Jack D. Ripper, Doctor Strangelove
    So, Julie, what kind of photo precisely is it that you are requesting?
    --Lannie
     
  75. Cool nudes, dude! So there is something new under the sun! Thanks, Phil.
    I knew that Fred could blow the lid off this thread any time he wanted to. I can see him now, just sitting back there waiting, lurking, menacing. . . . The question was never if but when he would strike.
    --Lannie
     
  76. Well, Phil, what's new is relative, as is also what's seen to be distorted.
    There are, after all, some out there who would consider the shot of Andy shooting the sky to be distorted, but Photo.net is a progressive site that tolerates dissenters, as we all know.
    --Lannie
     
  77. There's a full moon tonight--and, my goodness, a solstice!
    What beastly, evil forces might be unleashed?! Naked wood nymphs running, cavorting by the light of the moon, unrestrained, unrestrainable. . .
    Howzat for an image of pure nakedness and rampant eroticism?
    Maybe the photography of the future has to start with our imaginations--no visible images allowed until a full-blown idea comes forth first in the mind.
    Image <----> Imagination
    Hm. . .
    --Lannie
     
  78. Kertész's FIRST DISTORTION PHOTO came early, in 1917. He was recovering from war injuries and photographed this in the hospital pool. Interesting that later, he took this more organic idea of distortion in water and experimented with what I see as a more fabricated kind of distortion in mirrors.
    Mirrors and nudes and women . . . oh my.
    Kertész spent many years doing photographic reportage and essays. Similarly, mirrors are often used to see ourselves represented as we are.
    Just as he seems to be commenting on the potential of mirrors to distort, even as mirrors traditionally served to more accurately represent ourselves to ourselves, I think he might also be commenting on the notion of photographs portraying or capturing reality. This coming from someone who had come out of Pictorialism into a more straight use of photography, now asking further questions about the role and place and accuracy and reality of a photo, in addition to the role and place and reality of a woman's body and women themselves.
    In this distortion work, there are important connections to contemporaneous artists like Matisse, Picasso, and Dali and, as importantly, to sculptors like JEAN ARP and others. Kertész, himself, even references the sculptural quality of the body by photographing a dancer contorting herself much like a contemporary sculpture within the scene.
    Among the many things I come away with from looking at Kertész's work is that the genre known as "The Nude" is relatively unimportant. While woman/body/nude is significant to this work, it goes so far beyond all that. It's about perception itself, it's in dialogue with other artists, and it's about photography itself and what realities it's capable of addressing.
     
  79. HERE'S the link to the photo of the dancer, Magda Forstner, with scupture by Ètienne Beothy.
     
  80. sculptors like JEAN ARP
    Thanks for the link, Fred. Although I am certainly no sculptor and never will be, it is good to see how form is conceptualized through this kind of abstract (distorted?) sculpture.
    These are powerful forms. I am not sure how this kind of art has influenced or could influence photography, but, if it could, the results would surely be interesting and compelling.
    --Lannie
     
  81. I am not sure how this kind of art has influenced or could influence photography​
    It already has. There was a dialogue occurring among artists like Jean Arp, Dali, Picasso, and others and Kertész. The reciprocal influence is an important part of that era in art and photography.

    But don't take my word for it and don't take history's word for it. Look at the sculptures. Look at the photos. What connections and influences do you see?
     
  82. Which photos in particular show the influence in that direction (from sculpture to photography) in your opinion, Fred?
    --Lannie
     
  83. Which photos? Something must be getting lost in translation.
    We've been talking for several posts now about Kertész's distortion nudes. That's what my post was about where I mentioned the connection between this type of sculpture and the photos we're discussing.

    Phil already linked to a couple of them when the discussion about them began. HERE'S a link to a google search of them.
     
  84. Which photos in particular show the influence in that direction (from sculpture to photography). . . ? --Lannie​
    So, you see Kertész the photographer as showing an obvious influence from. . . which sculptor(s)?
    --Lannie
     
  85. Which photos? Something must be getting lost in translation.​
    No, I am simply working on something else right now: Hawking, time, a few other minor issues including the Big Bang and its possible implications for the existence of God. I have trouble with some of Hawking's claims of a metaphysical nature. I see certain of his claims as riding roughshod over Popper's requirement of falsifiability regarding sceintific claims. Hawking is a great scientist, but sometimes he seems to think that there is no line between physics and metaphysics. Any other questions?
    I nonetheless do appreciate the tutorial, Fred. I know that art history is important, but so is my "day job." For the summer, that means one course that starts Wednesday as well as my entire publishing agenda for the rest of the summer.
    --Lannie
     
  86. Lannie wrote: "No, I am simply working on something else right now: Hawking, time, a few other minor issues including the Big Bang and its possible implications for the existence of God. I have trouble with some of Hawking's claims of a metaphysical nature"
    LOL
    Ummm ... sure. (Vintage Lannie. Gotta love it.)
    Here's a nude for Lannie..
     
  87. We can't all attract sane, beautiful women.
    --Lannie
     
  88. Kertész
    If you have time to post, you have time to post about Kertész.
     
  89. If you have time to post, you have time to post about Kertész.​
    I don't have anything fresh to add about Kertész, Julie. Much less do I feel any necessity or compulsion to do so. After an early shot using the differing indices of refraction of water and air to achieve a distorted image of a swimmer (which Fred already linked to), Kertész came back later to use mirrors to experiment with more complex distorted images (likewise linked to by Fred). I am sure that Kertész was in communication with other artists of his generation, including Picasso, but ultimately he seemed to be his own man in developing a variety of distorted images, especially of the female nude.
    I will be happy to read what anyone else has to say about him, especially in comparison with the methods of cubism, but these few summary remarks on my part (summing up what Fred has said, more or less) are about the extent of what I have to say about him. I respect and admire those who have tried and are trying to explore these possibilities, but I know little about their efforts.
    I personally prefer both realism and pictorialism where the female nude is concerned. Distortion per se does not interest me very much, and it is not really the kind of innovation in nude photography that I would likely find appealing--or which I was looking for when I started this thread.
    With regard to the use of distortion, however, Jim Phelps' work using wide angle distortion does comes to mind right here on Photo.net. Here is only one of many of Jim's experiments. There are admittedly some good ones in Jim's portfolio. I am quite sure that Jim would not be offended to hear me say that I personally prefer his non-distorted images. We like what we like.
    --Lannie
     
  90. Here is Jim Phelps' folder of distorted photos:
    [LINK]
    Some of these are admittedly clever, and some are very visually pleasing, such as this one:
    [LINK]
    Jim is on to something here, I think:
    [LINK]
    Is this Rebecca, Jim?
    [LINK]
    It's good, but it is hard to beat her shots made with "straight" photography:
    [LINK]
    Oh, my. . .
    [LINK]
    --Lanniie
     
  91. So, Julie, are you trying to tell me that I drive you to distraction?
    Or do you just want to shoot me?
    (Is that a self-portrait?)
    --Lannie
     
  92. I'm telling you that you never had any interest in "new nude photography." You don't know old nude photography much less want the new. But if anyone suggests this, you do what cops call "attempt to elude" and, if pressed, abandon your thread vehicle and flee on foot.
     
  93. I'm telling you that you never had any interest in "new nude photography." You don't know old nude photography much less want the new. But if anyone suggests this, you do what cops call "attempt to elude" and, if pressed, abandon your thread vehicle and flee on foot.​
    I would like to see "new nude photography," but new techniques involving technological tricks are not likely to be of too much interest to me.
    you do what cops call "attempt to elude" and, if pressed, abandon your thread vehicle and flee on foot.​
    Well, cops scare me, including those who rove the web. I think that I try less to elude or evade than to ignore, but that doesn't always work. If one initiates and contributes to these long threads, at least one person will always be out there trying to take one's head off. One sort of hopes that they do not succeed. I try to avoid being beheaded or shot without shooting back. It doesn't always work, and so I sometimes--when cornered--will respond with a verbal retort or other evasive maneuver(s) to try to frustrate the would-be beheader(s).
    You don't know old nude photography. . .​
    You've got me there.
    . . . much less want the new.​
    What I would love to see in the nude is something about relationships and emotion, longing, etc. (I'm not talking about portrayals of sex acts.) I can appreciate the beauty of women as sex objects, but that is not my preference. Something with greater emotional depth is what I would really like. I don't know how it might be done, but I am sure that someone has been trying it--and probably succeeded to some considerable degree.
    If anyone knows of examples of that kind of work--new or not--I would love to see it, especially where heterosexual relationships are concerned. (Again, we like what we like. . . .)
    --Lannie
     
  94. Lannie wrote: "No, I am simply working on something else right now: Hawking, time, a few other minor issues including the Big Bang and its possible implications for the existence of God. I have trouble with some of Hawking's claims of a metaphysical nature"
    LOL
    Ummm ... sure. (Vintage Lannie. Gotta love it.)​
    It just happened to be true, Julie. A special on PBS about the life of Hawking was on last night, and it made me want to follow up on the web to better understand his position on certain issues involving scientific and theistic claims. So I was watching and reading at once.
    I'm sorry if that sounds pretentious. It just happens to be what I do, and it does take priority over just about everything else.
    Something about all this reminds me of a conversation that I had with my wife after my last full-length volume on this stuff came out years ago. After I got my ten copies from the publisher, I asked her to read the finished product and tell me what she thought. Later she said that she had read it. "Well, how did you like it?" "Mm, not so much?" "Why, what's wrong with it?" "It sounds so. . . you."
    So, on some things I know up front that I am going to lose. . . .
    --Lannie
     
  95. I would love to see it, especially where heterosexual relationships are concerned. (Again, we like what we like. . . .)​
    I'm trying to envision how poverty-stricken my life and aesthetic life would be if I limited myself in a thread about photography to an appreciation or "like" of gay images. Being oriented toward having gay sex myself is a different world from my visual and artistic appreciation and understanding and photographic taste. If I haven't figured out the basic difference between my own sexual impulses and what riches are out there that show me other things, other minds, and other orientations, I haven't really grown up.

    I have to agree with Julie. You don't want something new and you wouldn't know something new in photography because you're not interested in learning or considering what's important that's old. Without some cursory knowledge of what's old, what in the world would new mean to someone? You gloss over Kertész, offered here in order to help you figure out what new could mean, after spending hours and hours posting the same tired types of links you've always posted to these threads. And then you wonder why you haven't run across something new!

    When the only frame of reference seems to be soft core porn-like nudes, then something new would really just be a different pair of . . . well I don't need to spell it out. That's all this boils down to, since there's no real interest or curiosity about photography itself.

    In 6th grade, our teacher asked us once a month to introduce a new word to the class, one we'd learned or encountered in a book or newspaper. I remember a few of us guys would get together and look through the dictionary, usually getting distracted by looking up "dirty words." We simply used the vocabulary assignment as a pretext. That's how I see these "photographic nude" threads.

    In the end, though, I consider myself the fool for taking the bait, all under the pretext of adulthood and an interest in photography.
     
  96. What I would love to see in the nude is something about relationships and emotion, longing, etc. (I'm not talking about portrayals of sex acts.) I can appreciate the beauty of women as sex objects, but that is not my preference. Something with greater emotional depth is what I would really like. I don't know how it might be done, but I am sure that someone has been trying it--and probably succeeded to some considerable degree.​
    I should have added, Julie, that I would not rule out portrayals of tenderness in relationships. The big question for me is whether portrayals in the nude would enhance the portrayal of tenderness--or simply be a big distraction. I remember seeing End of the Affair a few years ago, including the Big Love Scene, and thinking: "Less explicit would have been better."
    In spite of the unfortunate and counter-productive way that I started this thread, I still believe that. Where the nude is concerned, sometimes less is more. I seem to have trouble remembering that.
    --Lannie
     
  97. I'm trying to envision how poverty-stricken my life and aesthetic life would be if I limited myself in a thread about photography to an appreciation or "like" of gay images. Being oriented toward having gay sex myself is a different world from my visual and artistic appreciation and understanding and photographic taste. If I haven't figured out the basic difference between my own sexual impulses and what riches are out there that show me other things, other minds, and other orientations, I haven't really grown up.

    I have to agree with Julie. You don't want something new and you wouldn't know something new in photography because you're not interested in learning or considering what's important that's old. Without some cursory knowledge of what's old, what in the world would new mean to someone? You gloss over Kertész, offered here in order to help you figure out what new could mean, after spending hours and hours posting the same tired types of links you've always posted to these threads. And then you wonder why you haven't run across something new!​
    Uh-oh. The thought police have not only arrived. They've got back-up--and they shoot to kill.
    Okay, Fred, what have you offered "new" lately that I am supposed to be able to relate to or be enriched by?
    You like it, you do it. I'm not standing in your way. Does it enrich me? Well, actually, no. . .
    On the other hand, if it enriches you, who am I to judge?
    I don't! Yet, here I am sitting here having to endure a prolonged ad hominem blast again--your forte. Go back and read that last paragraph of yours and ask yourself if that is not a gratuitous assault on my character.
    Where ad hominems are concerned, you simply do not seem to be able to restrain yourself.
    I was warned. I was warned, as I said earlier.
    --Lannie
     
  98. Now, can we stop the personal assault on me and get back to the topic?
    How many times have you manufactured a crisis on these threads in the past only to result in the moderators shutting them down?
    Can we try to go on to something else so that that does not happen yet again?
    --Lannie
     
  99. Can you stop the ad hominem on the intelligence of all the readers and posters to your thread and get on topic? (I can't say back because you've not been there yet.)
     
  100. What I would love to see in the nude is something about relationships and emotion, longing, etc. (I'm not talking about portrayals of sex acts.) I can appreciate the beauty of women as sex objects, but that is not my preference. Something with greater emotional depth is what I would really like. I don't know how it might be done, but I am sure that someone has been trying it--and probably succeeded to some considerable degree.
    I should have added. . . that I would not rule out portrayals of tenderness in relationships. The big question for me is whether portrayals in the nude would enhance the portrayal of tenderness--or simply be a big distraction. I remember seeing End of the Affair a few years ago, including the Big Love Scene, and thinking: "Less explicit would have been better."​
    If anyone can relate and respond to these posts I made a number of posts above, before things got totally crazy, I would appreciate it.
    --Lannie
     
  101. "What I would love to see in the nude is something about relationships and emotion, longing, etc."
    Possibly the oldest theme in all of nude imagery. Even the Neanderthal 'venus' figurines do that.
     
  102. Lannie, you are an academic so I would think you'd understand the difference between thought police and being challenged to think a bit differently. YOU ASKED for something new and when you're told not what specific photos are new but instead given some advice on how to find new nude photography yourself, you lash out and pretend we're trying to censor you (which is a transparent trick that even you should recognize). We're disagreeing with your approach to the subject. That's not policing your thoughts.
    YOU are the one who got personal. In an adult and intelligent conversation, you can't expect to bring up your own sexual orientation related to your ideas of what's new in photography (you, in effect, ad hominemed yourself) and expect us to ignore it. You made it about who you are!
    You seem to be stuck on being shown specific photos that are new. You want us to hold your hand and take you there. Instead, we're not going to baby you and are trying to suggest ways you might encounter them yourself. You know the old saying about teaching someone to fish.
    I suppose that's ad hominem to the extent it does go to your character in terms of your willingness to grow and learn, but you opened that door.
    You supposedly ask for something new but in so doing you tell us "you like what you like." Do you not see how the latter can severely impinge on your claimed desire to find the former?
    I think Julie and I are right on topic. You just don't like where the answers seem to lie, which is much more in your approach to photos than in any specific photos we might show you.
     
  103. Julie and Fred, I will not use this forum to try to defend myself against your assaults. That would result in endless bickering that would finally culminate in the closing of the thread by the moderators.
    I respectfully request that you both cease and desist from your personal attacks before the thread is closed by the moderators.
    Thank you.
    __________
    My request three posts up stands, period.
    If the assaults continue, I will abandon the thread.
    --Lannie
     
  104. Thank you, Phil. I had not seen them. I do like that kind of treatment.
    --Lannie
     
  105. Lannie, if you want to get out of these dead-end ping-pong games, why don't you just read what others have contributed with.
    You could for example try to answer the suggestions, far above, that Emil Schildt and also, more recently, Spencer Tunick indeed represent something new in nude photography worthy of our attention.
    I fully agree with you that maybe Jim Phelp's distorted nudes are not helping us much - with or without references to Arp's wonderful abstractions.
     
  106. Anders, I have already responded briefly regarding Schildt, among others. Spencer Tunick's work is indeed new. Being new does not always make something interesting, however, and some are going to find more inspiration in Tunick than others. That sentiment lay behind my attitude toward Kertész work as well. I think that it is interesting and innovative. It is not quite what I was hoping to find. I did not mean to sound dismissive of him, but I don't have a lot more to say except that I am looking for something that is not primarily about distortions.
    As for Phelps, I happen to like Phelps, and I think that some of his wide angle shots are very, very good. I also happen to like his photography in general.
    --Lannie
     
  107. Antoine D'Agata
    D'Agata is very interesting, I think. The title of this piece is a bit strong (and somewhat misleading), but the reality is that his work shows a lot of depth and does open some doors that some--but not others--are going to want to walk through:
    [LINK]
    --Lannie
     
  108. "For much of the world, nudity just isn't a "big deal."
    Yes sorry, Lannie, indeed you did write on Emil Schildt and maybe the "big deal" question is part of the answer to your question on novelty and nude photography. Our different cultures and very different norms concerning nudity might just be the elephant in the room when we try to discuss nude photography together. For some of us, it is not a big deal and the question of novelty in nude photography comes very nearer to any question on novelty in photography. I come from the same national culture as Emil Schildt, by chance.
     
  109. I have been following this thread and reading everyone's response. Great discussion and links, may be heated at times.
    Culture. The nude has nothing to do with 'culture'. The free nude rejects culture. Laughs at it.​

    Doesn't that imply, nudists (or naturists) reject culture, which they do not. Going nude consciously should be considered a culture of it's own, since it is based on some well constructed philosophy.

    Also not all nudes can be considered 'free'. There are partial nudes, subjective nudes that depend on the cultural perspective, and nudity that deliberately flaunts one's body in a message of boldness and rebellion. To me, those are all very distinctive cultures. I think, your comment Phil, may be just one aspect of the subject of nudity.
     
  110. "The nude has nothing to do with 'culture".
    Phil, you should try to visit North European beaches and then have a look at what happens on beaches in China, Abu Dhabi or Kochi. Cultural differences if ever you were in doubts.
     
  111. The nude is about potency. The nude is ontology without the words. Ontology comes before culture; it is the beginning.
    Potent:
    Magic. God. Sex. God with a little g; magic as emotion; sex as germinal, genesis, fecund ... live.
    Culture is in the nude in the sense that it's the wrapping, the veil upon veil upon veil that is unwrapped to get closer, without separation, to the beginning. It's not in the face, that engine of culture; not the eyes, they're the gatekeepers. A too perfect nude and it's a God (big G), inhuman. Too everyday and its swathed in culture's wrappings again (see Anders' beaches).
    To ground this airy-fairy post a little, as an example (using a well-known nude so I don't have to find a link), Weston's nude of Charis sitting in the doorway, in full sun (the one with the infamous bobby pin and the shadow he didn't like), is an example -- not new, but good -- of unwrapped, potent, and close; human. It knows me across time and distance.
     
  112. "The nude is about potency."
    Nudity is still not a big deal in the culture I'm rooted in (Nordic countries). Weston managed to make it into photographic art, like so many others have done over time, playing on the ambiguity of nudity in many cultures.
     
  113. "The nude is about potency."
    Nudity is still not a big deal in the culture I'm rooted in (Nordic countries).​
    It's impotent there?
     
  114. Not really. Maybe one of the most openly sexualized places in the world. Fertility is one the highest. Teenage pregnancy on of the lowest and abortion the free choice of women (12 weeks rule).
     
  115. Humans "predating culture" ! ! !
    Will be difficult to defend, but maybe this will not be the place for such discussions.
     
  116. Phil, Julie,
    I see your point, but aren't you referring to the pure primordial nude, which is one of the facets of nudity, though a
    fundamental one? However, the term nudity is loosely used to refer to a lot of things in the modern society. For example,
    in the Victorian era, that would constitute showing one's bare arm. And then there is partial nudity. When a person bares
    part of his/her body, the decision of how much is based on the prevalent culture. In this case, I am not sure if the urge to
    bare parts of one's body extrapolates to the urge to "bare it all" (the primordial nude).

    I can agree, one facet of nudity predates all cultures, although we can never be sure at what point the departure from
    pure nudity started, whether before or after the behaviorally modern humans emerged. We can still accept it as a
    metaphysical argument. I can also agree that the majority of nudes depicted in art over centuries probably cater to the
    natural primordial nudity. However, in the modern human society, nudity is practiced and used in a lot of different ways. I
    am not sure, whether all of them can be considered shadows of the pure, primordial nude, that is free of all cultures.

    Also, nudity to evoke or depict lust may be more related to cultures, than to any primal natural state.
     
  117. "My object then is to get photography back to requiring true commitment, to being a language that is unique by its potential subtlety and rawness … a language resulting from personal experience, the product of situations the author finds himself in; so that photography is not a way to look at the world, but a way to live the world, to take position, to be of the world, in such a way that everything stands for something – distance, movement … so that photography is an entirely physically related art, purely existential, anchored in reality…which is what I strive to explain and push for. It is that characteristic, unique to photography – to the exclusion of all other forms of art, which connects it to life itself, makes it a tangible presence. The photographer is then accountable not for his images, but for his acts." —D'Agata​
    Phil, this is really great. Something important to notice is that the words "new" and "creative" don't appear in his statement. But the words "commitment," "rawness," "personal," "physically related," "existential," and "accountable" do. This seems a somewhat Existentialist-inspired take on photography, where photography is a sum of actions to which we are committed and for which we are accountable. This is in stark contrast to notions of photography that center around the mere view of an object, person, place, or event which becomes the literal but limited subject of a photo. How is that subject acted upon? What is the photographer willing to do and to stand by?

    In contemporary society, in many cases, nudity is often a form of protest. Though it's now de rigueur in gay pride and other parades and celebrations, early on in the days of such parades, nudity was, in fact, an action of protest. It was authentically meant to be in your face. It was not merely a way to be, not some sort of impotent, harmless, beatific pleasantry of romantic idealism. As Julie notes, nudity has potency.

    So, D'Agata's photos bring this all together. He sees his photos as real, not ideal. And he takes responsibility for them as actions as much as results. By taking those actions and that responsibility, he creates himself as a human being.
     
  118. photography is not a way to look at the world, but a way to live the world, to take position, to be of the world, in such a way that everything stands for something

    I like his description of photography. It is somewhat like the distinction between an astronomer and an astronaut, or a nature lover vs an avid hiker. One sits at a distance and appreciates something, while the other likes to place him/herself in the middle of it.
    That said, I think similar concepts could be applicable not only to photography, but to other art forms too. I can imagine the folk singer for example, roaming from town to town with his banjo and singing along the road. Thats also a way of living the world and taking part, rather than depicting a view of it. I can think of other examples as well.
     
  119. I'm very happy that one of them got their ticket back to home this night against Belgium!​

    Ha ha! very funny.
     
  120. Nordic countries​
    "I'm very happy that one of them got their ticket back to home this night against Belgium!"
    ... and another Nordic brother country won to stay after having beaten Austria.
     

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