Put a nude on it.

Porcelain Figurine - 050111

I recently saw an episode of the IFC sketch show Portlandia.  One sketch is based on those cheesy decoration/arts and crafts shows (think of low budget Martha Stewart) where the two main characters paint birds on everything to spruce them up (at bottom).  I laughed at it so hard and started thinking of photography.  After perusing a few websites, I found I could switch out the "bird" for nude.  Put a nude on it.

I've read articles about the nude photo cliches (gas masks, railroad tracks, hand bras, angel wings, etc.) and thought more about where the nude model was photographed than what she was wearing or doing.  Put a nude on it.

There is a rock - put a nude on it.  Hey, is that a railroad track - put a nude on it.  OOOOO, a crashing wave, put a nude on it.  You get my point.

I am not disparaging all scenic nude art, just much of the copycat/uninspired versions of it.  Why did you put a nude there?  (Even that questions is a clue to the answer.)  It all depends on the intent of the artist.  Is the nude an integral element of the photo, or did you just put a nude on it?

My photographer friend Griffin both models and photographs nudes in urban/suburban settings outside of churches, police stations, etc.  He creates his "guerrilla" nudes to make a statement about sexuality and transgressing the social norms of public/religious institutions of the politically conservative California town he lives in.  His nudes are an integral part of the photo.  Both the nude and the other elements need each other to complete the image and the series.  He isn't simply putting a nude on it.

Going to the other extreme of put a nude on it is the cultural icon of the little silver lady on the mud flap.  I am sure you have passed an 18 wheeler with these little ladies on them.  There really is no significance or purpose for putting the anatomically impossible lady on the mud flap.   She is little more than decoration.  It is this intent of using a nude as decoration then that separates an artistic nude from put a nude on it.

I was going to use a few of my own photos to illustrate my point.  I am guilty of having put a nude on it, but I am not going to show those for two reasons.  First, I respect the models too much to put one of those up.  Second, those images were all parts of sessions that yielded good stuff and I redacted them from the final group for that reason, they were weak photos.  As a photographer, I need to continually strive to show my best work, not just the kind-of good stuff.

1 comment:

  1. *chuckle* Yes, the nude on the mud flaps is a bit much, sort of a rude commentary on the relative value of the components blended. On the other hand, I've also seen old Yosemite Sam on mud flaps, pointing his pistol behind, but that does make sense, from a truckers perspective: stay off my bumper so I can see you!


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