Nude vs. Naked, Art vs. Erotica
When my girlfriend asked me to take some seductive pictures of her for her new beau, I was more that happy to comply. I’m a very amateur photographer but have a decent camera. She’s an ex-model, so I figured we could probably get some good shots. I wanted to do something artistic. But started wondering after her request and after reading Cris A’s hub: Pablo Neruda and nude celebrities, what is art and what is erotica? Is it a nude or is it just naked? And who decides? Is it the choice of the beholder or do those with masters in art get to pass judgement? I've decided for this hub, it is you that gets to decide.
My qualifications are only slightly educated. I was raised in and around an art gallery, as my family owned one before I was born and sold it when I was in my thirties. I never minored in art but should have with all the art classes I took, among them figure drawing. Strangely I was the only youngster in the class and several of my classmates were artists who showed “other” type's of art in our gallery. First day of that class, I was 19 and faced with my first nude male model. The only seat left was front and center; that is a funny story for another hub. I did however, learn a lot about the human form that semester and the next.
I was also educated by a three foot stack of playboys from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. My grandfather had quite the collection. During summers as a preteen I would stay at my grandparent’s ranch. One magazine per night, I would study these pictures by kerosene lamp. I have got to say Playboy did nudes back then and they were quite beautiful. Today the pictures in Playboy are, in my opinion, naked. Maybe it had something to do with the earlier photos being in black and white. I feel that black and white is more artsy, and I chose black and white for my photos, when the contrast was strong enough. The previous and following photos are examples in black and white from our little photo shoot.
Staying with the idea of black and white, another question presents itself. Does the face verses just seeing the form as a landscape or a study of tangled limbs in light and shadow change the way you view a photo? Does it effect your determination of its artfulness? If I remove the face, does it remove the judgement?
And finally color, how does it make you feel to see these images in color? Does it make any difference to you at all? Are you so thoroughly stuck in this modern age that you see see black and white as a malfunction. If so, thank you for hanging in this far. Just hit your monitor with the palm of your hand. The color is about to fall into place.
Here are similar photographs in full color. Does it change your feeling about the vulgarness or lack there of? If I had used something more subtle that red perhaps, would it matter? Or is it more the tone of the flesh that becomes too real and therefore less artistic? Perhaps its no different at all. Color, I feel brings your attention away from light and shadow which are inherently artistic components, but color and its saturation can be quite powerful too. How do these photos in full color make you feel as compared to black and white?