Male Nudes

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by fjaygoldsmith, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. There seem to be far less (by about a 100:1 ratio) male nudes posted than female nudes. I've noticed that the male nudes get significantly less hits (number of times rated) and average lower ratings than their female counterparts. As a newcomer to PN and a relatively new photographer, I'm interested in hearing various thoughts about this subject. I know that attraction and sexuality play a large part in who and what we choose as subjects. But I would think, given the amount of creativity, desire to "push the envelope," and search for something different among us, the male nude would be of more interest to more people, if for no other reason than it is so underexplored and invites so many fresh possibilities. Do men feel any kind of taboo around photographing a nude man? Is it just lack of interest? How do women feel? I've heard it said, and understand what is meant, that the male figure isn't as "beautiful" as the female. I disagree, but beauty isn't the only thing I see captured on this site. There are lots of alternatives here to shooting just what is "beautiful," so I wouldn't think that would be the defining reason for the lack of male nudes. Anyway, I posted one recently for critique and was disappointed to get no comments. I'm hoping to approach the subject differently than a lot of what I've seen. I'd like to get away from what seems to be a habit of only considering dancers and athletes worthy of treatment, from insisting on moodiness which tames the impact of the nudity, from continually hiding male genitals by the subject's own hips or thighs or forced shadows or hands placed as fig leaves, while also playing with the traditional male pose vs. the more "feminine" pose. I would really appreciate your comments about the general subject and any specific feedback on my goal and whether MY FIRST ATTEMPT HERE is at all a worthy or interesting start toward that goal. I would also love to be pointed in the direction of any male nudes you've done or encountered that might alter the impression I have. Thanks!
  2. This is a friend of mine, whose thoughts seem to mirror your own....
    Patience is required as the site seems to be running slow at the moment..
  3. Go on line and find these two photographs (and the accompanying text) by Duane Michals

    "The Most Beautiful Part of a Man's Body"

    and "The Most Beautiful Part of a Woman's Body"

    You might also try reading Sir Kenneth Clarke's "The Nude"

    Of course there is also now this much more contemporay view to consider as well:
  4. I have to say that your first attempt, while you may be pleased with it, falls a bit short of a grand artistic endeavour. The lighting is adequate, if a bit uninteresting, but the presentation is quite mediocre and a bit literal. I think that this same shot made with a female nude would rate about the same and similarly generate little to no response comment-wise. I don't think there really is a 'taboo' about photographing nude men, though the standard for 'artistic' may be set a bit higher due to the fact that a majority of photographers here who are interested in nudes are male and prefer female nudes. We can debate the fairness of this fact and define ad nauseum who's to blame, but the fact remains unchanged. I think the real trick is to become innovative in your approach and execution, so that your work stands out visually regardless of the subject matter. Nudes are, frankly, overdone already, and it's hard to get good reviews even for female nudes because we've all seen so many of them. In the end, you need to shoot what pleases you and build a technique that suits what you want to produse, and try not to worry too much about PN.
  5. Grayson-- Thanks! I think your advice about PN and developing my photography is well
    stated and helpful. You may be a bit over the top in suggesting that my first attempt was not
    a grand artistic gesture, as I hoped to make it clear that I had a long way to go and was trying
    to work up to a viable personal vision.
  6. Michelle, can't seem to access your link, keep getting an error message.

    Ellis, thanks, duane's work is very interesting and unusual, stimulating and clever. The SNL
    video gave me a good laugh.
  7. Ellis, thanks for that link! What an artist Michals is. I especially enjoyed seeing pictures of how his work is exhibited.
  8. My general observation is that men are more interested in visual things (specifically, females) and women are more interested in verbal things. Compare the publishing of girly magazines and romance novels.
  9. I recently wrote a lengthy critique on a picture posted on the nude submissions forum here that had depicted the female bottom in a very glamour style. It was more pornography than art and i prefer the mystery than the explicit in this context. Alongside my detailed critique there were 3 or four other short comments from southern europeans who also said how sexy it was. Whether one likes it or not the female nudes do get a lot of attention most of which I feel is more sexual than photographic. I also notice that of the top 100 rated photographers here almost 80% seem to have a large collection of nudes in their gallery. Looking at their outout critically I think some of the pictures are quite excellent and a few quite breathtakingly beautiful but I feel that had their portfolio been devoid of the female nudes the ratings might have been lower.

    I have a habbit of looking through the photo critique forum each day and making comments on what I find impressive and where I think the picture could be improved. There had been a few male nudes posted in the last week or so. I did not find them aesthetic in anyway. They were all contriving to promote an element of homoeroticism than simply the aesthetic and the former does little for me. So I ignored them. Since I find the female body more aesthetic I take more of an interest in female nudes.

    Sexuality and sexual preference would always take precedence for offering critiques on both male and female nudes. Since less than 10% of the world population is homosexual surely, this explains why there is more interest in sites like this on the female nude?
  10. Hello Fred,
    I only posted two male nudes and they were viewed most of all my photos, but I also realized the ratings were lower than expected. I don't care much about ratings, I simply find it interessting to follow how people rate and, if not anonymous, to see how the raters themselves photograph. Just go on posting!

  11. I haven't statistically checked if it's a trend, but it seems to me that there are more low-rated nudes (of women) than what there used to be. Which is probably the way things ought to be.
  12. Stephen H. :
    I have heard that before about women not being as interested in visual things than in verbal things, and it is not true. I don't know who started that. Women are obsessed with the visual, from fashion to decor, from their own looks to their children, to the men they date. The reason there are not as many females photographing male nudes and why they read romance novels versus looking at male nudie pics has more to do with societal norms than physiology. And this is coming from a woman.
  13. There you go, Fred. It's societal norms.
  14. Steven-- I doubt it's one thing only, pretty sure there are a variety of factors involved in this
    discussion and assumed that men, women, and gay people would have some distinct and
    some overlapping takes on it.
  15. I can appreciate a nude whether it is a male nude, or a female nude, you are right that there is a HUGE difference as to how many are posted here on PN, I'm not sure it's so much a taboo or even lack of interest. Some of the most influential and prominent sculptures of all time are of nude males, I think where the problem lies is in the attractiveness in the subject, whereas with a nude female, even a moderately over weight one will still have visually pleasing curves and soft skin tones, unfortunately I cannot say the same for the male figure, as it starts to look slightly pear shaped. So what you end up with are the same type of shots over and over again for male nudity, something that shows off either a great back, or a toned midsection and chest (again, not to say that there isn't plenty of repitition with the female nude)

    Just my opinion.
  16. I, on the other hand, love a good pear. (LOL)

    Give 5 examples from the nudes section of PN of somewhat overweight females. NOT!

    IMHO, it's more about what one brings to the table than any objective difference between
    male and female subjects.
  17. LOL! Your right of coarse. There do seem to be a shortage of "regular" models on PN. And I suppose I am biased to my personal prefference, but, as someone that has a office worker midriff, I know from personal experience that there would be no way that I would pose for a nude study... I feel men look way better with a cut stomach, and well defined shoulders and chest.

    Either way, the human nude is difficult to shoot well, whether it be male or female, and anyone that is trying to do it in a fresh and new way should be applauded for thier efforts.

    You should check out bodyline photography here on PN. He (or she)is trying to find his own style, and (s)he is coming up with some very fresh and new aproaches to the human nude.

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