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Nudity and Sexuality

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I recently posted images of my self portrait project and while talking to others I started observing the reactions. It was fantastic! What an exercise for us to observe our values as an individual and as a collective:

If I show a nude photo, what does that trigger on you?

Can you observe yourself and see your own thoughts and opinions?

Does nude means sexual to you?

What do nude images triggers about your own nudity and sexuality?

Are those values yours or from your upbringing?

From your culture?

From a collective conscience?

Does that objectify a person?

Is the objectification on the nude subject or the viewer?

So many questions to ask and reflect upon. The famous say: “The beauty is in the eye of the beholder” would apply here I guess. Some might even say that is not beauty, that is an invitation for others to approach the subject in a sexual way. Like adversing porn?

As an artist I think the human body is beautiful, its actually exquisite if you’d ask me… and that is why I love photographing people. Showing people their beauty, helping them see themselves. Capturing them for them to see and value themselves, for them to be represented and celebrated in the world. No matter if they choose to wear clothes or not.

In regards to sexuality, there is also the question of the freedom women conquered by owning her own sexuality. This has been a long battle for women’s rights, to have a voice, to dictated and choose all things related to her body and that would include if she is allowed to take nude, or implied nude photos. If she can or should take boudoir photos. As a boudoir photographer, for the longest time I focused on portraying the woman body as sensual, and I don’t think there is nothing wrong with that at all. I’ll continue to do that if that is what my client is looking for. But I see the need to talk about nudity and sexuality: Why if we see a nude body, or see exposed breast, especially a female body, this automatically trigger our minds to question of a sexual connotation.

Nude bodies has been shown and celebrated very naturally thru out centuries. I urge you to question yourself if you see the nude bodies in photography as the same as in paintings or sculptures. What makes you see them differently. Why we can see a nude statue in a garden and appreciate fully the beauty in it but we can feel uncomfortable with nude photos displayed publicly.

On wikipedia there was a page about Nudity and Sexuality, that I recommend you reading. Here is a excerpt from it that I thought was thought provoking:

“The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sexualization as limiting a person’s value to sexual appeal to the exclusion of other characteristics, and equating physical attractiveness with being sexy. A person may also be sexually objectified, made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making; or sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person. Being sexualized is particularly damaging to young people who are in the process of developing their own self-image. Girls may have sexualized expectations imposed upon them, or internalize norms that lead to self-sexualization. Sexualization of girls includes both age-inappropriate “sexy” attire for girls, and adult models dressing as girls. In movies and television, women are shown nude much more frequently than men, and generally in the context of sexual behavior.
Some see the APA position as viewing sexual images as uniformly negative, and overestimating the influence of these images on young people by assuming that exposure leads directly to negative effects, as if it were a disease. Studies also fail to address the effect of sexual images on boys which influences how they view their own masculinity and appropriate sexual relationships.
While there has been considerable media and political discussion of sexualization, there has been little psychological research on what effect media images actually have on the well-being of young people, for example how and to what degree sexual objectification is internalized, becoming self-evaluation. In interviews with Dutch pre-teens, the effects are complicated given the general liberal attitudes toward sexuality, including the legalization of prostitution, which is highly visible.
Researchers see the cultural force of commodification (or “pornification“) as resulting in the sexualization of athletic bodies, negating the naturalness and beauty of nudity. This is in contrast to the sacredness of the nude athlete in the ancient world, particularly Greece; and the aesthetic appreciation of the nude in art.”

The quote above is from Wikipedia – Nudity and Sexuality https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudity_and_sexuality

David (1504)
“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”
— Michelangelo[1]

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