Sunday, December 16, 2007

Truth, Responsibility and Shooting Nudes

I think that my own inspiration for shooting nudes came from my work with shooting dancers. It was my interest in the beauty of the dancer's body. In many ways, my love of shooting nudes has been an aesthetic exercise. The body as an object.

Today a young photographer has prompted me to think about the issues of shooting nudes. In Singapore, it can be a controversial activity. I am not even sure if it is legal. I am fortunate that my own parents trust me enough not to question my own judgment in my nude photography. So I do feel that there is an unjustified stigma against shooting nudes. And this to me is more of a case of since some nudes are pornographic and undesirable, then all nudes should not be taken. Too broad a stroke in my opinion.

Why do people shoot nudes? It is an organic form that has intrigued artists through the ages. It is beautiful. It is sexual. It can be portraiture. It can be pornography. It can be documentary. And regardless of the intent of the photography, people will read a nude with their own prejudices. Just like the racial, social and sexual prejudices people hold. And if truth be told, one cannot deny the sexual undercurrent of shooting a nude, regardless of the intent of the photography.

I think an all or nothing approach is meaningless. It is amazing how advertisements convey sexuality without nudity. And excuse me, not one of us would be around if our parents had not copulated. There is nothing wrong with sexuality and attraction. What does matter is how we treat one another. I think this is the crux of the matter. What matters is if we do something that hurts another being. To my mind, sexuality harnessed for consumerism is so much worse. Is it ok to promote random sexual acts to sell jeans? But we cannot look at an artistic nude because it corrupts the mind? Come on, what is wrong when two people decide to create an art work? It is of mutual consent and the two people will need to respect one another.

I think that instead of sweeping issues under the carpet and hope that bad things won't happen, we should be more open and teach the young to make their own value judgments. Young people cannot be shielded from bad things forever. The truth is that a sexual act can be an act of love or an act of violation. The photography of a nude can be a work of art or it could be a piece of cheap pornography. People should be taught to be responsible in their sexual activity. What happens if a woman gets pregnant? What happens if one gets a sexually transmitted disease? People should take responsibility when they shoot a nude. Is the photographer being respectful of the model? Is the photographer responsible in how the images are shown to an audience. And an audience has a responsibility too, to discern whether an image is degrading or respectful. And is such a depiction valid? Actually, what is the point of shooting a nude? This is an important question too.

Human interaction is very subtle and has many layers. The key is for people to take responsibility for their own actions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have articulated many of the reasons I shoot Nudes.To put the female body on a pedestal.Not an entity to be owned or manipulated.But to be seen it its beautiful curves..

There are varying sensual curves and figure definitions in petites as well.Its not about Playboy/FHM perceptions of beauty.

But beauty in all body shapes..personally prefer less dominate breasts in models I shoot.So the viewer absorbs all of the model.Not just her breasts.Which in too much of a focus