I had a chance to do some work with a professional nude model a week ago. A 26 year old student who has been modeling for 6 years. A wife, whose husband also models and is a part time photographer.
I've been wanting to do some figure photography for a while. My wife is ok with it, we've talked about it over the years, but I've never had the opportunity before. I have a hard time asking acquaintances to model for me, much less get up the nerve to ask them to take their clothes off. I know it's supposed to be the best way to find models, but I haven't been able to do it.
When a local studio announced they had hired a model to come in to be photographed, I signed up.
I started to get a little nervous the day before. How would I pose her? Would I embarrass myself some way? I also had another talk with my wife just to make sure she was still ok with it.
Once the day came, it was ok. It was a little disconcerting to walk into the studio and shake hands with a woman who was already nude, but after that it went good. I was introduced by the studio owner as the "find art" guy, since I had told him that is what I wanted. She asked me what sort of poses I wanted, and even had some suggestions.
We started out with some poses in front of the windows for the natural light coming in. Since the studio is in an old brick building, it is an interesting contrast between the human form and the bricks and wood of the building. I know it's been done to death, but I haven't done it. We then did some photographs against a white background with a softbox to the models right. That was the lighting used in the photograph above.
Once we'd been introduced, I quickly got past the fact that she was nude, and she was just another model in font of the camera. I was worrying about getting the exposure right in the camera, and making a few suggestion for poses, while she was asking what kind of photography I did. I got some good photos, and I'm thinking of entering one in the local Festival art contest in May.
Nudity is funny in American society. I live in a conservative part of the country, while I think I'm on the liberal side. I've showed the photos to people and they tend to be of two minds at first. The first thing they usually ask is whether my wife would let me do that. They seem to be thinking I'm doing this without her knowing. They don't know my wife very well. She's as liberal as I am, and better yet, we trust each other.
The second thing they say, is "I couldn't do that, I would be too embarrassed." That is probably a more valid reason, for a lot of people nudity equates with sex. Especially in this neck of the woods. While I probably would have agreed with them in my younger years, especially before I started photographing a lot, my feelings have mellowed. There are only two sexes in the world, it seems to me to be no reason to be prudish about either one.
Reading some threads on a forum for models and photographers, a constant comes up about the GWC or PWC. Those stand for Guy with Camera or Pervert with Camera. I have to admit to showing someone these photos who asked how to sign up, and it was apparent he was more interested in the much more erotic type of photography, if not to hit up the model. I didn't tell him anything about the studio....
I'm interested in doing fine art nudes, and conservative fine art nudes as well. I'm more interested in form, shadows and highlights than I am in objectifying anyone. Whether male or female. I now have contact info for this model and I will probably doing another session or two with her in the future.
I'm looking forward to it.