When Being Nude Isn’t Being Exposed.
“ I was photographed nude yesterday.” Is a conversation stopper, my clients have had fun with that line. They slide the comment in innocently during a pause in a conversation with friends. It always has the same effect.
Each person at the table imagines what being nude is to them, usually the raciest version of the possibilities.
The same thing happens when a Hollywood star is linked to a headline, “Poses Nude in latest edition of . . .” Flip to the page to find a bare shouldered woman wrapped in a blanket.
Through the doorway of nude is a whole range possibilities; there is the actually nude, not a stitch on, then the implied nude and the suggestive nude. Neither of which are actual nude in the unclothed sense.
But with the real nude, where the person has no clothes on, it does necessarily mean anything will be shown to the camera. In popular media you can see it in both magazine like the ESPN, or in Allure.
The nude can have boldness, an innocence, a confidence, of course it can also express sexy, sensual and even erotic. The cool thing about being nude in a photograph is all these can be expressed through the nude without anything intimate actually being shown.
Clever shadows, to dark for detail, a casual arm placement, a turn just so . . . all leave the possibilities unseen, yet express so much.
There is always becoming the nude as a shadow; the extreme is the silhouette; only the shape is revealed. These are so effective, dynamic yet only work when the subject is nude.
Some poses have become classic with minor variations. We have one we started doing back in the 80’s, it became known as the AGT pose. Back then we advertised in the Alberta Government Telephone book, AGT. It was the only or the best image that was a nude that they would allow. It is a timeless pose that movie stars and painters have used for centuries.
The black and white with the knees up feet crossed here was the image. The first year we put it in they requested we draw in straps. The next year I put in the same image with no straps, it went in.
We tweak for the personality, change lenses to make legs look longer or shorter. It remains popular.
One that is fascinating is the sculpted nude. The version that feels the least revealing is flat on her back body arched. It is a study in lines and curves. People rarely even register she is fully nude in the image. Of all our wall portraits this one is the most often found in the living room. The selection and placement even surprise my subject.
Yet it is the perfect discrete nude to display.
We often do couples nude. They want to show their connection, their passion and love for each other. The nude is perfect for this. It is rare in all that expanse of skin revealed, are any intimate bits shown.
The most interesting thing, the empowerment result, the boost to self esteem and body acceptance, is in the being nude for the taking of the image. How much is visible in the final images does little either way to elevate or diminish those feelings.
So when a client at the table opens with “ I posed nude yesterday” in the quiet lull of a conversation, you never know where it is going to go.
How bold would your nude be?