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Masterpiece or vulgar photo? Fine art nude photography

The theme of the Nude has been popular since ancient times. Before the advent of photography art, naked girls and men were the center of painting, architecture and sculpture. With the development of photography the admiration of the naked body became only more.


The photo shoot has long ceased to be a simple opportunity to capture the moment. This is, by far, creativity, imagination. Very often the process of filming becomes a way of expression of the photographer and the artistic performance itself. As a result, we see photos that are truly original and creative, and then the photo is already on the verge of painting, because the photographer is not simply catches moments, he draws a light image that his imagination becomes reality. In fact, such artworks are called style Fine Art.

Fine art nude photography

I believe each of you had a chance to see in the Internet photo shoot, in which people are represented in some mystical images (for example, in the form of a unicorn, butterfly or mermaid), and the face of the model in the photo can make the colors completely different from the actual blue, red, yellow, purple, white, etc.


It's a bit strange phenomenon is called fine art photography. Fine art nude photographers play the role of a bridge between the world of photography and painting. Generally, such photos are more interesting for the viewer than traditional, although sometimes can be confusing, and even shocking.

To achieve the goals: effectiveness and impact on the viewer, the course is the use of geometric illustration, surreal treatment, and of course, fancy makeup, decor. So, sometimes, it's shocking. But the shocking – the main rule, truly artistic photography.


Today it is the dominant trend of careful staging and lighting of the intended image, and not an attempt to "open" something directly during shooting. Photographers like Gregory Crewdson, and Jeff wall styles known thanks to his skillful play.

And their work is really impressive.

Fine Art is, first of all, the idea, the message the photographer wants to convey to the world. And we must not forget not to accidentally lean towards fashion photography. Fine Art is a combination of the original form and deep content.


What is the difference between fine art nude photography and erotic nude photography?

What does the image of the naked human body? Beautiful? Ugly — and therefore shameful and forbidden? For centuries the art connoisseurs and critics discuss the subtleties of aesthetic and moral boundaries in art Nude.

The photographic Nude is divided into two categories: nude photography art (artistic Nude photography) and erotic Nude (pornographic low art photography). Art-Nude is photos in which nudity is shown in an artistic light, the photo suggests that this is a work of art, while erotic, Nude, designed to induce acute sexual desire.


Erotic Nudes does not aim to affect the high strings of the human soul, nevertheless tends to attract attention and to arouse sexual desire by displaying beautiful Nudes. The official "opening" erotic Nude happened the day before the opening of the Paris world exhibition of 1900. As a result of police politic agents seized 80 thousand prepared for selling cards. These events caused mixed reactions from the Parisians: the public was shocked not by the number of photos taken, and the extent of their demand.


1983. © Helmut Newton

Today pornography is called erotic photos having a low artistic value. The purpose of pornography is to cause gross sexual desire. Pornography is always provocative. Erotica, by contrast, is aimed at activating the aesthetic perception of the body, aims to awaken not animal instinct, and the rapture Nude. Of course, adequate perception of the genre of artistic Nude depends on the degree of culture and intellectual baggage of the viewer.


The photographer, who wishes to learn photography in the Nude has to learn that between these types of photography there is a significant difference, because many Amateurs often forget this face.

First fine art nude photographers 

The first photo in the Nude appeared in the mid-nineteenth century. Women's beauty as fragile as a Chinese vase, and as briefly, as a blooming rose. Therefore, the desire to record using the art of photography fascinating moment it is understandable. The more perfect was the art of photography, the more appeared wanting to photograph Nudes. In 1860, the world was made about 5 thousand erotic pictures; 1899-mu this figure has reached 30 thousand.

In 1870 in England, was printed first in the world of erotic postcard. At the same time in Europe there was a fashion for pictures of naked savages. Every exalted person is considered prestigious to boast of such photos in a circle of friends. And the natives enjoyed posing for white photographers: for each picture, they were paid with alcohol. Thus, the chastity of European women was directly proportional to the alcohol preferences of inhabitants of colonized countries.


Postcard Nude of the late 19th century


Women in the photographs of the XIX century was filled with the chirping of secular salons and set off her fragile porcelain beauty profiles courageous brave warriors-hussars and horse guards. XX century gave rise to many other female character types: tapered with bullet band, a Nashi Commissar in a red scarf, and languid ox-eyed beauties of the Silver age, and the postwar Busty blonde sex symbols, skinny and big-eyed nymphet, reminiscent of his languor and eternal childishness Nabokovs lolita. Nude and lightly draped in shawls, surrounded by countless doves and cupids, women were depicted on countless photo so often, that curiosity turned into kitsch, and the subservience of female beauty in vulgarity. The revival of the Olympic Games brought to life a new trend in Nude sports photo erotica. Sports "nudity" became popular in the Soviet Union. Athletes were required entourage the May Day parades on red square, the theme of the best photos of Nudes of this era.


Cold winter evening in 1947 a young, budding photographer left the dressing room full of beautiful models, and sat in the plane EN route from new York to Haiti to see and to capture the natural, not the "edited make-up and corsets" beauty. The young man's name was Irving Penn. It is today a recognized master of portraits, photo naturalist and art Nude. He willingly pose for his exhibition in the "underground" always delight and surprise. Surprise that Penn photographed only torsos — no heads, no feet, no hands. And the body models in most cases, heavy, fleshy, with rounded bellies and not in the fashion of a full breast. Penn shot the Haitian close up, so the shape of the female figure was perceived as sculptural, monumental.


 Nubile Young Beauty of Diamare, 1969. © Irving Penn.

Irving Penn began his artistic career as a painter. But the pedagogical skills of Alexey Brodovitch, the legendary photographer, the beginning of which is associated with Europe, with the Paris school-surrealist artists, made from foam outstanding photographer. In the 1930-ies Brodovitch worked for American Harper's Bazaar magazine and taught at the art school, where he studied Penn. For several years, Penn assisted Brodovitch. He had the opportunity to study a library of Brodovitch and, most importantly, actively absorbed his knowledge and views on art. Brodovitch has an amazing gift to make another's good their great, but liked to stay in the shadows, refused the honorary title of teacher, and called themselves the "opener", meaning that only opens the imagination of the student, like a bottle of lemonade.


© Helmut Newton

The second Russian, who influenced the artistic fate of Irving Penn, was Alexander Liberman, in 1941, immigrated to New York from Nazi Europe. Lieberman actively worked with Vogue and offered penny best Studio, equipment, assistants and the opportunity to do portraits of any celebrity (then there were his portraits of the ballerina Alicia Markova, composers John cage and Aaron Copland). It was then Penn became known as a Master of ironic portraiture. In parallel, Penn started making the first images of mannequins demonstrate new models of clothes.


© Helmut Newton

In parallel with work for Vogue, Penn began shooting Nude. It was a pure experiment — and from the point of view of plastics, and from the point of view of photography. It lasted about three years, and almost all of the fine art nude photos you have taken were a masterpiece.


Irving Penn

Jack Gescheidt photographer is famous and sold well. A quarter of their income Jack donates to the Fund to save the ancient trees. But as they say many of the volunteers coming in on the shooting of Gereida, its main merit consists in the fact that the artist helps people to feel their unity with nature.


In his case, Nude art can be called art, which help people sense their kinship with the natural world. Beauty, not edited clothing, and other wonders of civilization, is genuine, natural, and harmonious. Art-Nude is the way to unedited beauty on which we propose to take along with photographers, artists and their models.


Useful tips for nude art photography

• Finding a model

Perhaps the biggest problem is to find a model willing to pose Nude. If you're lucky, this may be one of your friends, but this rarely happens. The best way to look for local models on web sites. These sites are a meeting place for photographers and models. As a rule, you will be able to find a local model willing to act on the terms of TFP. 

If you go this route, you need to clearly define what is expected from both sides, especially if you have no financial obligations. The experimental model is not likely to agree to work TFP, however, if you want to make a good digital retouching portfolio, you should think about investing some cash investment into it. It is not so much about finding models who like to pose naked, but about how to find the right type of shape for nude art photography. You need to carefully study model portfolio before inviting her to the shoot. There is a marked difference between the models who starred mainly in the genre of glamour, and Nude.


• The choice of the Studio for shooting

You don't need a huge Studio to make good fine art nude photos, but still need to have enough space for positioning a pair of light sources and the background and also to move away a sufficient distance to remove the model completely, using a wide angle lens. Living room is medium size almost meets the minimum requirements. We rented one of the studios in reading for the day. There are many studios in the UK that offer such services. Many also offer a one-day course on shooting Nudes and will find for you model. Prices and conditions are different. If you are on a budget, you can split the cost with one of my colleagues or friends who wish to join you.


• Your first Nude shoot

The Studio selected, the model was found, now it's time for creativity.

If you rent the Studio and pay the model for each hour of work, you don't want to spend the time to think what to do next. In addition, you'll ruin the creative process, it looks unprofessional. So pre-plan. No matter what you may deviate from it in the process of shooting, as long as it was. Work rationally. For example, if you have planned to take pictures with the three schemes on a black background and two white – and do it to change the background only once.

fine-art-nude-photography-photo-editing-sample There's nothing worse than spending time in post-processing to remove various defects. The most unpleasant from this point of view, are the traces of elastic bands of underwear. They disappear after quite a long time, so it is best if your model comes to the shoot in loose clothing without underwear. Experienced models do. Better if after the arrival of the model immediately takes off his clothes and throw a soft Bathrobe, to ensure that were possible traces of clothing. Make sure that the model feels comfortable when shooting.

• Tips on posing

As with all genres of photography, good composition is an important element of a good picture in the Nude. The same General rules, such as rule of thirds can be applied to art-Nude photography. It creates a visual sense of harmony in the frame. Look at the beautiful forms that are created using the Nude body and light. Don't be afraid to bend the rules if necessary, if it would improve the photo, no need to take advice as dogma.


When you build a frame in the viewfinder, make it a habit to run look around the scene, assessing the overall framing and the pose of the model. The slightest change of angle or tilt of the camera can give a huge difference in the picture. Don't be afraid to take a lot of photos, moving and changing the point of shooting and posture. Stock up on memory cards, nowadays they are inexpensive.

Let's start with the concept of "contrapposto". This is a term borrowed from the art related to human body. Contrapposto (from the ital. contrapposto — "contrast") is image acquisition figure in art, in which the position of one body part contrast opposed to the position of another part. For example, the upper part of the body can be shown in rotation, the bottom — front, the body weight concentrated on one leg, while the other one is free, though not separated from the floor.


If you look at the works of the classics of the art, for example, the sculpture of David by Michelangelo or modern fashion magazines, we all see contrapposto. Understanding of the principles of contrapposto is the key to creating beautiful poses, even if you remove the model is not upright, and the belt is still important to pay attention to the position of the feet of the model. This is important because the position of the feet determines everything else, including position and posture of the upper body.


Direct contact eye when shooting art-Nudes are best avoided, as direct gaze is more associated with glamour or beauty. However, this rule can be broken if the direct look works well on the idea of a picture.

Here you can read more tips in posing - How to become a model: Tips, new trends and model poses for photo shoots

• Try to shoot in Black and white

Every person has some flaws on the body and on the color photo better seen. Shoot in color and then see how your photos will look when you change them to black and white. Monochrome changes the atmosphere of the images.


• Abstraction and details

Nude photography art is an art which glorifies the harmony of the forms of the human body. Focusing on certain parts of the body using the natural curves and shapes, you can create interesting abstract shots. This is good to use one source of hard light, which clearly draws lines and shadows. For abstract pictures above, we used a 60mm macro lens on our full frame camera, which allowed us to shoot both medium and large plans. Don't be afraid to radically crop the image when shooting, for example, to exclude completely the model's head out of frame. Abstract photo presents us with forms, lines and textures that we don't immediately understand what the object is in the picture.


• Use innuendo

Nude art photography is thin enough; quite often the photographer does not open all the nakedness, but only suggests its presence. This is what distinguishes art from Nude glamour photography. Partial concealment of the naked body implies mystery and gravitas, excites the imagination and causes us to mentally paint a picture. The rotation of the model's head or eyes looking to the side or into the distance is a great way to add a sense of mystery. A model can direct the gaze down, as pictured above. Use of the finiteness of the model to hide some parts of the body.


• Get inspired

View works by masters of the nude photography art. The most famous of them are Edward Weston, bill Brandt, man ray. Of modern fine art nude photographers this are John Connel and Robert Mapplethorpe. Do not limit yourself to only photos. To draw ideas and inspiration from various works of art. A good incentive might be a hike in an art gallery.


• The agreement with the model

If you are going to use the photos for different purposes, you need to protect yourself from any misunderstanding. For this you need to sign the agreement with the model (model release). Also ask the model to bring the passport to the shoot to verify her age. While the copyright of images always remains with the photographer, it is clear that the model will also want to place them in your portfolio, if you are working on the terms of TFP (in commercial photography the photographer is not obliged to give photos of the model, he pays her money for it). It is quite true, but it is advisable to make sure that the model will sign you as an author of photos and might post a link to your website.


• Learn how to make a skin retouching online

Last but not least important step is a good photo retouching. You need to know a lot and train to make a body retouch are natural and beautiful. As well as fine art Nude photography is first and foremost a fantasy tale from the photographer and you should be able to use Photoshop and Lightroom to draw fine art nude photos as a picture. If you don't have enough knowledge in this area you can read some articles in our blog (for example - Photoshopped images before and after: you will not believe your eyes ) with tips or write to us for help, because we provide different services in retouching photos. Our photo retouching rates  you can find on our website.


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