Less is More: Fine Art Nudes

I have always said I don't photograph boudoir sessions.  I have seen both the ones done very well and the ones done, well, not so very well.  The ones I did not like might have pushed the envelope towards being soft porn, or maybe they just seemed too contrived - but what they had in common was the fact that they sought to make the subject "sexy" instead of beautiful.  There was a sense that the subject - and I confess, I have only seen female boudoir although I am told there is also "dude-doir" featuring men - was being objectified.

Now, in the past, I have shot pinup sessions.  I love pinup for the simple fact that it is fun.  You can dress up in cool vintage clothing and you can make silly poses - in fact, pinup allows you some sense of exaggeration because of its "less than subtle" nature.  I think for a woman who may not feel comfortable in less than modest clothes would be happy to dress up in a World War II era uniform, or a 50's poodle skirt, or even a tropical sarong, straight out of some Hollywood movie.  Cosplay is so popular now so why not have a shoot that incorporates that.

But what if you want something a little edgy while still retaining a sense of dignity?

I think the answer lies in fine art nudes.

Some call them bodyscapes but the idea is simple - less is more.  It allows the use of light and shadows to bring out the lines of the body while "hiding" certain parts - perhaps out of modesty, perhaps out of having "less" than a model's figure, but still wanting to show the curves that make women so feminine.

I recently had a session with one of my favorite models to do this type of photography.  Some things to keep in mind:

  1. It is all about the comfort of the subject.  Let me repeat that - IT IS ALL ABOUT THE COMFORT OF THE SUBJECT.  That means more than keeping the room warm for their physical comfort; it also about their psychological comfort.  To this end, communication is key.  I must know what type of pose the subject wants and what limitations there may be (whether breasts are visible, whether any area below the waist will be draped, etc.).  
  2. In the same vein, the photographer must be comfortable, too.  There may be poses or ideas that I am not comfortable pursuing.  As an example, I would not do this type of image with a couple, nor would I want to do any image that the subject intends to create a sexual response from the viewer.
  3. Even if you choose to do so more "daring" poses, it is fine to discuss with me what will remain private and which I may use for my portfolio.  All images, however, will be kept in an online gallery that is password protected.
  4. Keeping with the idea that less is more, any use of "props" is kept to a minimum.  You will note my model is using only earrings and a necklace.  It serves to enhance her, and not take away from her beauty.  I would not photograph an image like this with any prop that is sexual, political, or religious in nature.

This is not for everyone.  But I think you will agree that these images are far from being prurient in nature.  Instead, the serve to glorify the subject and the beauty that exists in our humanity; nudes have been in art throughout the centuries for a good reason - they are lovely when done with that goal in mind.

You don't need to be "perfect" to have images like this.  You are already beautiful - let's show that.