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Why I shoot fine art nudes

Why I shoot fine art nudes

Posted by Jeremy Byers on Feb 18th 2018

When I first started doing photography, I had a cheap Nikon point and shoot digital camera and a desire to shoot nature. At the time, I was working as an IT technician in a small-town PC repair shop. I had access to any type of computer equipment I needed, and I started building out a good high end graphic editing PC. That was the messy start to my photography hobby.

Over the next few years, I played with Photoshop and took images of flowers, landscapes, and old growth trees, vegetation, etc., mainly around my family’s property. Once I started perfecting my floral and landscape shots and post processing, I then turned to selling the images I created. It was not much at the time, but along with setting aside money from my day job, side tech jobs, and art sales, I was able to buy an entry level SLR Nikon camera.

After getting a better camera and becoming a decent photo editor in the floral fine art field, I was published in a few popular magazines and sold a good few fine art floral prints. I decided to get a better camera and lenses. This venture is what spurred my decision to branch out and start shooting people. At first, I did portraits and started trading off shoots with models to help them build their portfolios and mine as well. The whole time was spent focusing on getting money to upgrade my equipment. Nude art was not even a thought at the time.

The combination of my daytime tech job and my side jobs as a freelance portrait photographer finally came together when a client requested a classic fine art nude style shoot. Due to her work that she did, she wanted the images encrypted, so that no one else could access them without her password. This was my first fine art nude shoot. I was reluctant to take on this project at first, but I needed the money and the client was professional. The shoot itself was completely out of my comfort zone, and I had to fall back on what I knew, fine art floral. I used lighting techniques used on floral shots, and I scaled it to highlight the curves of the human figure. The results amazed me.

The client was pleased, and this art style branched out to more clients. At this point, I started experimenting with lighting to capture the human figure and decided to add a fine art step to the process to make the images timeless and celebrate the human figure in the same way I viewed floral, landscapes, and other natural themes. I started moving from looking for clients, to looking for everyday models who would want to create fine art nudes. I found very like-minded models with their similar interests in the art of the figure, who could put up with me learning lighting and photography concepts during their photo shoots. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

After I started shooting fine art nudes and publishing them, I did receive a lot of praise. And, unfortunately, backlash. This was to be expected in a society that had a stigma on the nude figure. One thing I tried to incorporate in my early displays was pairing the human figure with floral images that had similar curves and lines. Older viewers started commenting how the human figure and the figure of a flower are a lot alike. The body and the flower both develop, go into a peak shape in terms of appearance, then wither and wrinkle. This really opened my mind up to the acceptance of ones’ own figure and the natural state of our bodies.

The main point I would like to get across in my art and why I shoot models of every figure, is to show the beauty in every form. Also, I want the viewer to not only enjoy the image as fine art, plus feel acceptance and see beauty in one’s own figure.

In 2011, I opened an art gallery in Jasper, Georgia. I had many different artists on display with a very wide variety of subjects and mediums. Since it was a small town, I thought there would be backlash from allowing artists to display nudes. Of course, I had my own nude art on display, however, I used post-it notes to cover genitalia. Over the year that I had the gallery open, the only complaints I received was from my female visitors about censoring the female form. It was an eye opener, all female feedback received was in favor of the female figure being on display. The only complaints were from a few older men saying it was a sin to display nude art. For those interested, fine art nudes out sold all other forms of art in the gallery. 80% of the purchases were from female clients.

The whole time I ran the gallery, I was encouraged mainly by older ladies to produce more female fine art nude images. To this day, I still run new shoots and concepts by some of them to get their opinion on it, and to get a prospective on the art from a point that only they have. One point that I never thought of when I start shooting fine art nudes, was that the female figure was subject to censorship and oppression. That point was told to me by one lady who likes to be referred to as “the grey haired little old lady”, and she provided plenty of history on that topic. I have continued to stay in contact with her, and she has reviewed many of my projects before they have been published.

Since the art gallery closed and I have continued to create and sell art, I have experienced more support from art lovers and subsequently have increased hate mail from those who think I am corrupting the world. Despite the hatred, I continue to shoot fine art nudes and believe it to be the same natural art as a flower, or any other form of nature, since we are all a part of nature. Those who enjoy and purchase my art, so that I can continue creating art, I thank you whole heartily. And for the others with the hate mail and death threats, as the “grey haired little old lady” put it, I am doing my part to stick it to those who want to oppress people.

In closing, I plan on continuing new projects and hope to do so with like-minded people. I am open to feedback, be it positive or negative. I love to hear how my art speaks to you as the viewer. I do plan on more mixed projects incorporating nature and nudes. One thing that I do ask, when viewing these images, think about the models who exposed all. Celebrate the differences that make each of us unique, and see in yourself that all of your differences in your body is what makes you beautiful, just like the models who posed for the fine art nudes here.

If you are interested in modeling, please contact me.