Was Kristine Stewart’s Nude Photo Really Nude?

Media headlines rapidly go to an extreme, like what they classify as nude. Generally, as a group, we have a Playboy or Penthouse conditioned expectation of what to expect with that headline. Like most extreme headlines it drives traffic, often with additional titillating words that encourage the reader to click through.

In this case, by our studio standards of nude, they are right. Kristine Stewart is nude. Even though she is revealing less than a daring Red Carpet Dress.

Her huge wide draped towel and covering hand exposes less skin than a matronly bikini. Yet I am glad the media got this one right; that a nude is a state of not wearing clothes, not how exposed her body parts are.


You can have a frontal nude where a huge tree limb crosses over the chest and hips. Her mischievous smile suggests what’s behind that bark, but nothing really shows.

For us, nudes cover a pretty wide spectrum. It’s a bit like the word snow. We southerners have a few words to describe it, while the Inuit have hundreds. It is their element.

We have women who are nude but only show a bare back, or carefully placed limbs. Silhouettes where the nude is expressed in a black void of shape.

We describe these images as semi nude, implied nudes, suggestive nudes, glamour nudes and more.

Women tell us the moment they really feel exposed is when they are revealing parts of who they really are. Clothes become a form of metaphor for hiding themselves. When they feel comfortable enough, in control of the session and it’s direction that is when they feel safe enough to truly expose themselves.

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To be bold, outrageous, even risqué. While this most often happens after their clothes are off, it is not always the case.

It is always liberating I am told. Many have come back for additional sessions telling me they regret not taking that bold step at the time. As with any bold step, it is a breakthrough that often changes them. Challenges that follow are measured against the challenge of that step.

So was Kristine Stewart really nude? Yes, but was she exposed? No.

What really fascinated me about her image was that it was part of photographer Mario Testino’s towel series. This was for him, no direction no one else has a say in any of the towel shot series. That is liberating for the photographer, less so for the model.

When we create our clients images we do the reverse, we want it to be liberating for our client. They get to decide what is nude and how exposed they will be.

How would you describe your nude?

We will be at the Calgary Women’s Show this weekend. You can see a full range of what our clients choose to define as nude. We would be delighted to chat to you.

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Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.