Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nude Fashion

There's one thing I don't understand about fashion photography - why do all these people think these models look better with their clothes on? This realization hit me when I saw a clothing ad in a magazine featuring a girl wearing one of those shirts with a wide collar that almost hangs off her shoulder, thereby exposing her beautiful clavicle to the world. And then I thought, I wonder how much more interesting the rest of her body would look without those boring, lifeless layers of manmade fabric covering up her natural beauty (or at least as natural as a photoshopped magazine ad can be).

I mean, I know I'm a pervert - I don't deny that fact - but it's not even about that. I'm not saying all these models should do porn (not that I would be against that, either). I'm just saying that I think the naked body is infinitely more interesting than the clothes we put on it. That's not to say that I have no interest in fashion - I do. Clothes can be a lot of fun, and they can look nice, too. But as an artist, the naked human body is so much richer an object for study and appreciation. (I think this is among the reasons why I will always be an art photographer, and not a commercial photographer).

I recently added a new quote to my sidebar on this topic. Well, actually, it's an old quote, and one that I'd passed over in the past. I've seen it used an awful lot among the nudist community, and that, I think, caused me to view it as a sort of cliche. But I'd always liked it, and recently I realized that, not only was it written by an artist (as opposed to a nudist) - I'm sure you've heard of Michelangelo - but it actually applies to art. Specifically, nude art, which Michelangelo had no qualms about dabbling in (see: endless controversies over whether or not David should be covered up). So, as a nude artist (in both senses of the term), I am reclaiming the quote for art.

"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?"
 - Michelangelo

And I don't give a damn whether you're an artist who thinks there is nothing sexual about nude art, or a pervert who thinks the great appeal of nudity is sexual in nature (I give weight to both of those arguments), either way, the truth and the importance of this quote is not diminished. A naked body is more beautiful than a clothed one, and that's true whether you're sexually attracted to it, or if it's rather your aesthetic inclinations that are aroused (my ideal would be both, simultaneously).

I regret that modern "civilized" society likes to throw a fit about anything that has to do with human sexuality, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of my appreciation for the beauty of life. As a matter of fact, whether you're for porn or against it, I think that in either case, if you were to be honest with yourself, you'd find that you agree with this statement: the world needs more nude art. (Whether for supplementation or diffusion, I leave up to you).

Of course, if all you can see in an image of the unclothed human body is ugliness and sin, then, as Oscar Wilde would say, you are the one who is corrupt.

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