Nude Photography


Since the first days of photography, the nude was a source of inspiration for those that adopted the new medium. Most of the early images were closely guarded or surreptitiously circulated as violations of the social norms of the time, since the photograph captures real nudity. Many cultures, while accepting nudity in art, shun actual nudity. For example, even an art gallery which exhibits nude paintings will typically not accept nudity in a visitor. Alfred Cheney Johnston (1885 – 1971) was a professional American photographer who often photographed Ziegfeld Follies. He also maintained his own highly successful commercial photo studio, producing magazine ads for a wide range of upscale retail commercial products—mostly men's and women's fashions—and also photographed several hundred artists and showgirls, including nude photographs of some. Most of his nude images (some named, mostly anonymous) were, in fact, showgirls from the Ziegfeld Follies, but such daring, unretouched full-frontal images would certainly not have been openly publishable in the 1920s-1930s, so it is speculated that these were either simply his own personal artistic work, and/or done at the behest of Flo Ziegfeld for the showman's personal enjoyment.
The emphasis of fine arts is aesthetics and creativity; and any erotic interest, although often present, is secondary. This distinguishes nude photography from both glamour photography and pornographic photography. The distinction between these is not always clear, and photographers tends to use their own judgment in characterizing their own work, though viewers also have their judgement. The nude remains a controversial subject in all media, but more so with photography due to its inherent realism. The male nude has been less common than the female, and more rarely exhibited.
Early fine-art photographers in Western cultures, seeking to establish photography as a fine art medium, frequently chose women as the subjects for their nudes, in poses that accorded with traditional practice in other media. Before nude photography, art nudes usually used allusions to classical antiquity; gods and warriors, goddesses and nymphs. Poses, lighting, soft focus, vignetting and hand retouching were employed to create photographic images that were comparable to the other arts at that time. Although 19th century artists in other media often used photographs as substitutes for live models, the best of these photographs were also intended as works of art in their own right.

Pages

Werner Bischof
Werner Bischof is a swissphotographer and photojournalist whose photographs are notable for their empathy, strong sense of design, and sensitive use of light. From 1932 to 1936 Bischof attended the...
Bruce Gilden
Bruce Gilden is a noted street photographer, known for his work in New York City. He was born in October 16, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. While studying sociology at Penn State, he saw Michelangelo...
Greg Gorman
Greg Gorman is an American portrait photographer of Hollywood celebrities. His work has been seen in national magazine features and covers, including Esquire, GQ, Interview, Life, Vogue, Newsweek,...
Russell James
Russell James is a fashion, celebrity and beauty photographer. Russell James is most famous for his work as the main photographer for Victoria's Secret, but his work has appeared in a large range of...
Albert Watson
Albert Watson is a Scottish photographer well known for his fashion, celebrity and art photography, and whose work is featured in galleries and museums worldwide. He has shot over 200 covers of Vogue...
Imogen Cunningham
Imogen Cunningham was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Cunningham was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1883. In 1901, at the age of eighteen...
Spencer Tunick
Spencer Tunick is an American photographer best known for organizing large-scale nude shoots. Since 1994 he has photographed over 75 human installations around the world. Spencer Tunick was born in...
Araki
Nobuyoshi Araki is a Japanese photographer and contemporary artist. He is also known by the nickname Araki. Araki was born in Tokyo, studied photography during his college years and then went to work...
Horst p Horst
Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann who chose to be known as Horst P. Horst was a German-American fashion photographer. Horst’s classical approach to nudes, portraits and fashion is less influential now than...
Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus was an American photographer known for her often controversial photographs of unusual people, including circus performers, dwarfs, twins and people with mental or physical challenges. Her...
Jan Saudek
Jan Saudek is a Czech art photographer and painter. Saudek's father was a Jew and this, coupled with his Slavic (Czech) heritage, caused his family to become a target of the Nazis. Many of his family...
Mario Testino
Mario Testino is a Peruvian fashion photographer. His work has been featured in magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. His career highpoint came when he was chosen by Diana, Princess of Wales, for...
Brassai
Brassaï was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, writer, and filmmaker who rose to international fame in France in the 20th century. He was one of the numerous Hungarian artists who flourished in...
Steven Meisel
Steven Meisel is an American fashion photographer, who obtained popular acclaim with his work in US and Italian Vogue and his photographs of friend Madonna in her 1992 book Sex. He is now considered...
Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Mapplethorpe was an American photographer, known for his sometimes controversial large-scale, highly stylized black and white photography. His work featured an array of subjects, including...
Herb Ritts
Herb Ritts was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculpture. Born in Los Angeles, to a Jewish family...

Pages