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Art Nudes – Lottie – NSFW

NSFW – Please do not click through if you are offended by nudity or at work – thanks!

I shot with Lottie at the Ely Togs meetup a while back and she was one of the friendliest models I’ve worked with. At one point I put down the camera and at least five minutes went by where we were just chatting. It’s always nice to make a personal connection with a model, particularly when they are posing nude for you. It helps break the ice and put you both at ease. Trust me, having someone pose nude for you is a weird experience at first, but if you get on well it just becomes a project you’re both invested in and it’s only later you realise you were happily nattering away with someone who wasn’t wearing any clothes and how in everyday society, that just doesn’t happen (for non-nudists, anyway,).

It made me think about how clothing is a barrier, a shield we put on like armour to protect us from what we think others would say about the parts of ourselves we dislike or think odd. For the most part everyone has hangups about their physical form in some way or another. For me it’s my weight and the fact that I’m pretty hairy, even for a guy. I rarely remove my t-shirt because of this, even at the beach. As I get older I’ve learned to care less about it and just accept that it’s a part of me I didn’t choose. My weight is a choice to some extent, as I like to eat and drink heartily, so despite being vegan, I’m still overweight. I can either choose to eat and drink less and exercise more, or I can continue enjoying myself and be overweight. Not everyone has that luxury.

I assume that Lottie has some hangups about some parts of herself too, although it didn’t come up in conversation. To put yourself up for scrutiny like she does is incredibly brave because although anyone who looks at the pictures will think she looks great to the point of inspiring envy, I wonder what she herself sees in them? I’ve had clients and subjects tell me before that my photos, “Don’t look like me!” which I take as a compliment because I take photos that I feel show people as they really are, as others see them, albeit maybe on a good day. If they don’t think the photos look like them, it means I’ve shown them better than the mental self image they have of themselves.

Working with a nude model is an interesting experience in other ways too. It makes you aware of things like tone and contrast in a way that photographing a normal portrait doesn’t. You can really concentrate on the lighting and getting the chiaroscuro the way you want it because, well, there’s nothing getting in the way. It allows you to showcase the beauty of the human form and immerse yourself in its contours, the peaks and valleys of skin over muscle-wrapped bone. To view the body as a landscape at some points, or to single out a feature of that landscape. In any case it was a good evening and I definitely came away with some shots I’m proud of. Thanks Lottie, I look forward to working with you again.

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